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Sling Training with Positive Reinforcement to Facilitate Porcine Wound Studies.


Domestic swine have become important large animal models for dermatologic and wound studies owing to the similarity of their skin architecture to that of human skin. To improve on current porcine wound protocols and accomplish postoperational daily wound care or treatment in a welfare-centered, low-stress setting, we developed a unique sling-training program using a commercially available Panepinto-like sling in combination with positive reinforcement of desired behaviors. Training using these methods is initiated during the acclimation period of 7-10 days before the initial surgical manipulation and continued throughout project-specific treatments for the duration of the study. Using this protocol, daily treatments can be administered without additional anesthesia while the animals rest in the sling with the administration of simultaneous nutritional enrichment. This low-stress handling program successfully facilitates the postoperational treatments and wound care without the use of potentially confounding anesthesia or sedation. It has a wide range of potential applications in translational medicine and in data acquisition from a resting state where baseline readouts of unstressed animals can be achieved.

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