Whole blood, serum, plasma, red blood cells, hormones, body fluids, IgG proteins, glands, organs, and tissues form part of animal biologics that are used for research purposes. They are collected in order to make sure that they are free from any kind of contamination. The factors that determine whether the collected animal biologicals are of high quality are the animal source, the process of collection and their storage.
The animals that are free from antibiotics and parasites are used for collecting biologicals. It is ensured that the water and food given to these animals are certified and free from any kind of contamination. The mere absence of diseases is not enough; the animals must be healthy in all respects. Biologicals are never sourced from diseased or sick animals. Further, only antibiotics certified by a veterinarian are administered to the animals. In addition, biologicals are collected only after 21 days following the administration of antibiotics. This is because antibiotic contamination tends to skew results and limit the use of the biologicals. Parasitic contamination, on the other hand, affects the tissue samples’ integrity.
The biologicals are collected when the animal is not experiencing any kind of stress. This is because stress impacts the sample quality. For certain specific studies related to endocrine disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s, biologicals are collected from genetically modified or pregnant animals. It is ensured that the samples are collected causing least pain to the animal.
Research regulations stipulate that aseptic conditions are to be maintained during the process of collection of samples. They include the restraint of animals, collection site disinfection, and use of proper equipment. The collection site is shaved and then disinfected using 70 percent alcohol prior to and after blood sample collection. Disposable syringes are made use of and the used ones are appropriately disposed of immediately. Biologicals may be collected from abattoirs prior to slaughter or from donor animals in farms.
It is better to use a vacutainer for the collection of blood samples. Anticoagulants are not used when collecting serum for serological analysis. For whole blood sample collection, only specified anti-coagulants (Sodium Heparin, Sodium EDTA, Alsevers Solution, or Sodium Citrate) are used. The properties of different anticoagulants are different and are, therefore, used depending on the laboratory procedures to be carried out.
Tissue harvest is started soon after euthanasia. This is to ensure that there is no bacterial contamination because of intestinal seepage. Organs are observed at the site itself prior to collection of tissue samples. Tissues are preserved using 10 percent buffered formalin. Alternatively, tissues are refrigerated at 40 degrees Celsius for short periods or frozen at -100 degrees Celsius for longer periods.
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