Care and Use of Vascular Catheters

Care and use of vascular catheters

For blood withdrawal, carotid catheterization is recommended.
For infusion of compounds, jugular catheterization is recommended.

  • Mice with catheters should be individually housed.
  • Catheter should be flushed with sterile saline and refilled with sterile catheter locking solution within 24 hours of arrival and then every 3-4 days.
  • Always clamp the catheter before removing the plug or syringes.
Materials required:
  • (4) 1 ml syringe
  • (4) Blunted 23-gauge needles
  • Catheter clamp; we recommend a non-serrated micro-serrefine clamp
  • Catheter locking solution: Heparin (500 IU heparin/ml)/Glycerol
  • Sterile saline

Procedure for sampling and infusion

  1. Immobilize the mouse. We recommend gas anesthesia. Wound clips are used to secure the catheter in place, they need to be removed for catheter access and replaced after the procedure is performed.
  2. Clamp the catheter, below the plug and gently remove the plug.
  3. Attach an empty syringe with a blunted 23-gauge needle to the catheter. Remove the clamp and slowly aspirate the catheter locking solution until blood fills the catheter.* For catheter maintenance proceed to step 5.
  4. Withdraw blood sample or infuse compound with a new syringe.
  5. Flush the catheter with 0.05 ml of sterile saline.
  6. Refill the catheter with 0.01 ml of catheter locking solution. Use caution when refilling the catheter with lock solution to avoid heparin being introduced into the bloodstream.
  7. Re-clamp the catheter and re-insert the plug.  Remove the clamp.

*If the solution cannot be removed reposition the mouse and retry. If the solution still cannot be withdrawn, clamp catheter, replace empty syringe with saline filled syringe, unclamp catheter, and inject a small amount of saline to clear the line.

For additional help with catheter maintenance please contact Surgical Services at