1 Department of Laboratory Animal Science, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
2 Department of Laboratory Animal Science, Solvay Duphar b.v., Weesp, The Netherlands
Analysis of behaviour is an important non-invasive tool in the evaluation of housing conditions for laboratory animals. Behavioural observations of animals before and after experimental procedures may also reveal effects of the procedures on the animal. Behavioural responses can be quantified by careful analysis of the behavioural pattern before and after the animal is housed in a new environment or submitted to a new procedure. In spite of advanced video-recording and automated scoring systems, behavioural analysis is often a time consuming process.
A time-saving device for analyzing the behaviour of mice and rats has been developed, based on the registration of the movements of the animal in a balance cage and translating the specific movement patterns into defined behavioural patterns. The system has been automated by converting the movements through a transducer into an electrical signal, followed by computerized analysis. The balance system proved to be a reliable and sensitive device for the analysis of behaviour of rodents.