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Standardisation of animal handling procedures for a wide range of preclinical imaging scanners will improve imaging performance and reproducibility of scientific data. Whilst there has been significant effort in defining how well scanners should operate and how in vivo experimentation should be practised, there is little detail on how to achieve optimal scanner performance with best practices in animal welfare. Here, we describe a system-agnostic, adaptable and extensible animal support cradle system for cardio-respiratory-synchronised, and other, multi-modal imaging of small animals. The animal support cradle can be adapted on a per application basis and features integrated tubing for anaesthetic and tracer delivery, an electrically driven rectal temperature maintenance system and respiratory and cardiac monitoring. Through a combination of careful material and device selection, we have described an approach that allows animals to be transferred whilst under general anaesthesia between any of the tomographic scanners we currently or have previously operated. The set-up is minimally invasive, cheap and easy to implement and for multi-modal, multi-vendor imaging of small animals.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





39 - 54


handling apparatus, imaging-compatible, multi-modal imaging, multi-vendor, optimisation, Anesthetics, Animals, Heart, Multimodal Imaging, Reproducibility of Results