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I. Purpose

This document provides guidance on the frequently used medications in laboratory rodents used in biomedical research at MSU.

It must be noted that the dosages in the following tables may be species-specific. Please consult with the veterinarian when using medication dosages that are not in this policy, or if you do not have experience with the medication and/or if you have additional questions regarding this policy.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all personnel administering medication to laboratory rodents.

III. Guidance

    1. Use of expired medications is not permitted. Verify that medication has not expired and has been sorted accordingly to the manufacturers' recommendations (temperature, light).
    2. Medicated Water Treatments
      1. When calculating medicated water treatments, exact amount medication consumed is dependent on the animal’s water intake. A sick animal may not drink as much as a normal animal. The oral doses below are calculated to give the correct dose for an animal that consumes a normal amount of water per day and may need to be adjusted if consumption volumes are different. 
      2. Medicated water bottles may not be refilled.  Water bottles must be replaced at least once every 7 days.

IV. Definitions/Abbreviations

  1. Intramuscular (IM)
  2. Intravenous (IV)
  3. Intradermal (ID)
  4. Intraperitoneal (IP)
  5. Subcutaneous (SC or SQ)
  6. Parenteral – administered elsewhere in the body than the through mouth or alimentary canal (i.e., IM, SC or SQ, IV, ID, IP)
  7.  Per os, by way of mouth (PO)


Analgesics in Laboratory Rodents

Mouse Dose
Rat Dose


(Advil®; Motrin®)
40 mg/kg
15 mg/kg
Daily in drinking water 1
Ketoprofen (Ketofen®)
5 mg/kg
5 mg/kg
Once every 24 hours
5-10 mg/kg
1 mg/kg
Once every 12-24 hours2
Meloxicam (Metacam®)
1-2 mg/kg
1-2 mg/kg
SC or PO
Once every 12-24 hours or daily in drinking water
Flunixin meglumine (Banamine®)
2.5 mg/kg
2.5 mg/kg
SC or IM
Once every 12-24 hours
Buprenorphine (Buprenex®)
0.05-0.1 mg/kg
Once every 6-12 hours

Sustained-Release Buprenorphine (Buprenorphine SR LAB®) (see V below)

1.0 mg/kg

1.2 mg/kg
Once every 72 hours3

Extended Release Buprenorphine

(Ethiqa XR ®)


1.2 mg/kg
Once every 72 hours


IP or PO
Once every 12-24 hours
Acetaminophen3 (Tylenol®)


 100-300 mg/kg
 100-300 mg/kg
 PO or 6mg/ml in drinking water
 Once every 4 hours or daily in drinking water 2
0.25% Bupivacaine (Marcaine®) 1 mg/kg
 1 mg/kg
 SC or Intra-incisional
 Once, prior to surgical incision or prior to closure of incision
 20 mg/kg
 20 mg/kg
 Once every 12-24 hours
 0.5% Proparacaine (Alcaine, Ophthetic®) (ophthalmic)
 1-2 drops
 1-2 drops
 topically to cornea
 Prior to recovery from procedure (retroorbital blood draw)

1 Ibuprofen: Shake bottle prior to use to resuspend medication.
2 Carprofen: May be appropriate for procedures causing mild discomfort only.

3 Acetaminophen: Does not provide adequate analgesia in rodents. May be appropriate for procedures causing mild discomfort only in which administration of an NSAID is contraindicated.

V. Sustained-Release Buprenorphine, Burprenorphine SR LAB Administration 

Special procedures must be followed when administering Buprenorphine SR. Skin ulceration at the injection site may develop if the drug comes in contact with skin. The procedure described below must be followed to minimize injection site reactions to prevent skin ulceration.

  1. Burprenorphine SR LAB must not be diluted.
  2. Use a 25g or 27g needle to draw up the solution for administration to mice. Use a 23g needle to draw up the solution for administration to rats.
  3. Administer the injection in an area with a large SC space such as on the back of the neck between the scapula.
  4. Administer slowly and ensure the injection is complete before withdrawing
    the needle (leave the needle in place for a couple seconds after injection).
  5. After injection, pinch the injection site for 10 seconds.


Anesthetics in Laboratory Rodents

Anesthetic Dose Route
Sodium Pentobarbital (Nembutal®)
40 mg/kg
80-100 mg/kg ketamine + 8-10 mg/kg xylazine (mice)
90mg/kg ketamine + 10mg/kg xylazine (rats)
Urethane 2,4,5
1000 mg/kg IP
Alpha-chloralose (Chloral hydrate) 2,5
300mg/kg (mice only)
1-3% to effect (3-5% for induction)
Isoflurane in a container in fume hood (no vaporizer) 3
To effect by inhalation in bell jar, beaker or 50 ml conical tube

1 Isoflurane: Requires storage in lightproof container; is an irritant, especially at high doses, high concentrations, or with repeated use.
2 Urethane and Alpha chloralose: do not use for recovery procedures.
3 Isoflurane: Animals must not come in contact with anesthetic.  Place moistened gauze below perforated platform or at the bottom of a 50ml conical tube. 
4 Urethane: Carcinogenic- handle with care.
5 Urethane and Alpha chloralose: Requires scientific justification.

Antibiotics in Laboratory Rodents

Antibiotic Dose Route
Enrofloxacin (Baytril)
85 mg/kg/day
PO in drinking water
Enrofloxacin (Baytril)
10 mg/kg/day
Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (e.g. TMPS)
60 mg/kg/day based on the sulfamethoxazole
PO in drinking water
Maxim (Oxytetracycline)
PO in drinking water


V. References 

  1. Blaze, CA, Glowaski, MM. (2004) Veterinary Anesthesia Drug Quick Reference. Elsevier. St. Louis, MO       
  2. Carpenter, JW. (2005)Exotic Animal Formulary. 3rd Edition. Elsevier. St.Louis, MO.
  3. California Regional Primate Research Center Formulary (2003), Davis, CA 95616.
  4. Flecknell, Paul. (2009) Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia. 3rd Edition. Academic Press. Burlington, MA.
  5. Fox, JG, Anderson, LC, Otto G, Pritchett-Corning, KR, Whary, MT. (2015) Laboratory Animal Medicine. 3rd Edition. Academic Press, New York, NY.
  6. Gaynor, JS, Muir, WW (2002) Handbook of Veterinary Pain Management. Mosby. St. Louis, MO
  7. Hawk, CT, Leary, SL. (2005) Formulary for Laboratory Animals. 3rd Edition. Iowa State University Press. Ames, IA.
  8. Muir, WW, Hubbel, JAE, Bednarski, RM, Skarda, RT. (2007) Handbook of Veterinary Anesthesia. 4th Edition. Mosby.Columbus, OH.
  9. Plumb, Donald, C. (2008) Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook. 6th Edition. Blackwell Publishing. Ames, Iowa.
  10. Queensbury, KE, Carpenter, JW. (2003) Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 2nd Edition. Saunders. St. Louis, MO.
  11. Thurmon, JC, Tranquilli WJ, Benson GJ. (1996) Lumb and Jones Veterinary Anesthesia. 3rd Edition. William & Wilkins. Baltimore, MD.
  12. Bistner, S.I., Ford, R.B. (1995) Kirk and Bistner’s Handbook of Veterinary Proceudres and Emergency Treatment.

IACUC Approval Date: 1/15/2020

Review Date: 10/20/2021

Issue Date: 10/21/2021