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The Value of Animal Growth Charts in Biomedical Research

Domestic swine are used in acute, short term research studies because of their fast growth rate and early maturity. Before working with research swine, the researcher should have a clear picture of how fast this animal model will grow within a period of time there is a weight range and time period for each study.

With this growth chart researchers will be able to determine:

  • Space requirements – Most research animals are housed in cages with minimum floor space allowances associated with the weight and size of the animal, usually required by Federal Law. So knowing the size of the animal over the course of the study will allow the researchers to have the proper size caging.
  • Drug dosage – Drugs/biologicals are administered on a dosage-to-weight ratio, the greater the size of the animal the more drugs needed. Since some drugs are very expensive, knowing how much will be needed for the entire trial is important.
  • Normalcy, health and vigor –Animals that show rapid growth for their age tend to be healthy and vigorous whereas slow growth implies stress, disease and possible subnormal body function.
  • Control study groups – in research, treated groups of animals (those that receive a drug or procedure) are always compared to the control group, which doesn’t and the differences between them are used to determine statistical differences or significance. In the research setting, the control group’s growth rate should compare to ABI’s growth chart.

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