The effects of repeated oral gavage on the health of male CD-1 mice

Lab Anim (NY). 2012 May;41(5):129-34. doi: 10.1038/laban0512-129.


Oral gavage is a widely used method for administering substances to animals in pharmacological and toxicological studies. The authors evaluated whether oral gavage causes behavioral indicators of stress, increased mortality rate, alterations in food and water consumption and body weight or histological lesions in CD-1 mice. Gavage was carried out once per d for 5 d per week over 6 consecutive weeks. The mortality rate of mice in this study was 15%. Mice subjected to gavage did not undergo changes in food or water consumption during the study, and their mean body weights and relative organ weights were similar to those of mice in the control group. Serum cortisol levels at the time of euthanasia in mice in both groups were within the normal range. Histopathology showed acute esophagitis and pleurisy, indicative of perforation of the esophagus, in the two mice that died but no abnormalities in the other mice. The results suggest that animal stress and mortality related to oral gavage can be minimized when the procedure is carried out by an experienced technician.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Drinking
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Intubation / adverse effects
  • Intubation / veterinary*
  • Laboratory Animal Science / methods*
  • Male
  • Mice / physiology*
  • Organ Size
  • Polyethylene Glycols / administration & dosage
  • Random Allocation
  • Solvents / administration & dosage
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Time Factors


  • Solvents
  • cremophor
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Hydrocortisone