Excitement in the Carco

(For those of you who might not know, I work for a pharmeceutical research company.  Our site specializes in drug research and safety.  The opinions expressed are not necessarily the opinions the study directors would want me to have.)

This morning started out like any other typical morning at work; I was assigned to dose rats in a carco study.  Carcinogen studies typically last two full years.  The rats start out young, white, and almost cute, then turn into ugly, fat, monsters.  The males are by far the worst. 

This particular room of male rats I was assigned to have been having a bad day for months.  Some rats are mellow and just lean back to take their dose of "medicine".  Some others act tough, but once I've got them in my grip, they're easy to handle.  A number, however, are downright evil.  Evil!  They rear up on their hind legs ready to attack my hand.  Then their hair stands on end, they scream, whip their tails around, scratch, and even turn to bite. 

Now I've been bitten before.  The rat isn't worth the trouble if there is someone around who is braver and has bigger hands.  John politely dosed one of my rats today for me.  He was also there to dose Casey's rat... until it bit the gavage needle right off and swallowed it!  John and Casey desperately tried to extract the needle using surgical tweezers, but failed.

I just laughed and turned to taunt the rat.  Serves the darn monster right!  He swallowed the needle himself and now he was going to die!  (Excuse me, be euthenized.)  The rat looked all right on the outside, but there was no way he was going to eat or drink normally ever again.  So John put him in a box and sent the rat to necropsy.

One less nasty rat down in the carco!  In my mind, it was time to celebrate.

Thirty minutes later, I screamed.  The rat in my hand had just bitten the gavage needle in half.  In half!  Casey ran over, ready with the tweezers in hand.  Too bad she's an avid gavage needle surgeon.  Today was that rat's lucky day: we removed the needle.

I think we'll be using stainless steel needles from now on.  Those cannot be bitten into pieces.  Too bad.                   


  1. time out. how long (AND WHEN) will you be in Salt Lake?!

  2. I think I want to throw up now

  3. oh my gosh. that's to many things to write down all at once.

    what an awful job.

  4. haha Sorry it's too graphic a description... but I figure I need to remember its awfulness before I leave. This hasn't been my favorite job either, just definitely interesting.


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