AALAS 2020 Aftermath: Laboratory Animal Science on the Forefront

This year, the AALAS National Meeting was all virtual, with free registration for AALAS members, attracting more than double the number of attendees and bringing over 100 exhibitors. Scientific education was at the forefront with over 350 posters, 70 platform sessions, 50 program sessions, and a dozen technical trade presentations. If you have not had time to make it there yet, fear not! The virtual platform is open until the end of the year. In addition, if you are unable to participate this year, here is a summary of ClearH2O’s highlights.

Rodent Breeding Support with Appropriate Nutrition

Supporting rodent breeders and pups during pregnancy and lactation with the best nutritional gel supplements and diets is one of the top priorities at ClearH2O. Our DietGel® Prenatal contains all the nutrients necessary for a healthy reproductive performance: omega-3 fatty acids for fetal brain development, folic acid for neural tube formation, calcium & vitamin D for strong bones, iron to support increased blood volume and high protein is especially important after parturition for the mom. DietGel® Prenatal has been shown by independent studies to increase litter size, increase pup weight and survival, and decrease cannibalism.

To learn more, watch our Technical Trade Presentation recording available to all,
or browse through our large library of resources on the subject on our DietGel® Prenatal webpage. 

We recommend to add DietGel® Prenatal as soon as you pair the male and female(s), as DietGel® Prenatal can help support both male and female fertility: 

  • Omega-3s have been shown to have a role in sperm motility, viability and morphology, having significant benefits on the male reproductive capacity (PMD 21653892, PMD 23497018, PMD 32089776, PMD 22659579). Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with increased oocyte numbers, improved oocyte quality and increased fertility in females (PMD 31628964, PMD 22978268)
  • DietGel® Prenatal can help right from the start with female fertility, as the folic acid increases hormones levels and promotes ovulation. Folic acid deficiency is also associated with low sperm count.

As for dosage, we recommend to provide the DietGel® prenatal as a supplement from the time of mating through weaning, and to change the cup every 2-3 days (M-W-F). 

If you’d like to try DietGel® Prenatal, REQUEST YOUR SAMPLE TODAY !

Hydration for Emergencies

The AALAS National Meeting features a collection of recorded presentations, including a presentation from MD Anderson Cancer Center, entitled “Overcoming Interruptions To Daily Operations In A Large Rodent Vivarium”. This presentation described how the team at MD Anderson  managed a planned weeklong animal drinking water outage, necessitated by the replacement of rodent drinking water supply lines, that required supporting the hydration of thousands of mice without their routine drinking water. The study, presented as a poster at AALAS 2019, showed how they successfully navigated the water outage with minimal impact to the mouse population, by using HydroGel® pouches.

The presentation is accessible to all AALAS 2020 attendees.
The blog post and  poster is available to all. 

Oral Medication Delivery Proven to be Effective

The AALAS National Meeting also features over 350 posters of high quality science, encompassing many species, divided in 4 categories: Animal Welfare, Training, & 3Rs; Clinical; Husbandry/Management; Laboratory Investigations. Two of those posters are of special interest as they describe independent studies showing that oral medication delivery is highly effective and much easier to administer, saving technician time, decreasing stress for both the animals and the technicians, and removing unnecessary pain and handling to the animals:

  • Poster P9, “Carprofen Delivery Via Water-Based Gel : A Study To Determine Drug Homogeneity, Stability and Gel Sterility “ by Dr. Finlay from City of Hope. This study demonstrates that carprofen, a NSAID often used in laboratory animals for pain management, can be easily mixed into MediGel® Sucralose and remain sterile and stable for up to 6 months!
  • Poster 51,  “Pharmacokinetics and Assessment of Meloxicam-Infused DietGel® in Comparison with Subcutaneously Injected Meloxicam Using an Incisional Pain Model in Mice” by Yair Berger from Columbia University. The pharmacokinetics study shows that meloxicam, another common NSAID used for pain management, self-administered through MediGel®, provides a higher and more sustainable level of drug in the plasma compared to injections of meloxicam SQ. Clinical efficacy was also tested through Von Frey assay and showed higher threshold when drug was administered through gel rather than by injection. 

If interested, access the full studies here for Poster P9 and Poster P51

An entire program session was dedicated to pain management in rodents :
 Overcoming Challenges Of Pain Management In Rodents 

Nutritional Enrichment for Primates and Zebrafish 

  • The recent COVID-19 global pandemic has lead scientists all over the world to investigate the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of this disease. The rush for a vaccine has pushed the scientific community to look for an animal model that can recapitulate the important features of the disease, hence the extraordinary demand and shortage for non-human primates this year. Not surprisingly, the AALAS 2020 National Meeting features over 35 posters related to primates training, behavior, husbandry and enrichment.

Are you always looking for different ways to enrich your non-human primates’ environment? Are you interested in discovering new nutritional support options and novel food items to keep them healthy? Do you include a reward system in your training and searching for innovative nutraceutical treats? Then register for our webinar “Nutritional Support for Non-human Primates” on Thursday 11/5 at 2pm EST by clicking the link below! We will discuss the 5 enrichment categories for primates, focusing particularly on nutritional enrichment that can bring solutions to health concerns such as dehydration, bone disease and diarrhea. 


  • ClearH2O’ s big news for this AALAS 2020 is the upcoming release of its new product: AquaGel®Z, the first diet specifically formulated for zebrafish.  Expected in early 2021, AquaGel®Z is made with high grade purified ingredients meeting the nutrient requirements identified by researchers as essential to zebrafish. Read our blog post to learn more! if you would like to give your feedback on Zebrafish diet, feeding and water quality management practices, TAKE OUR SURVEY! We highly appreciate your help! 

Nutrition is indeed important for many aspects of zebrafish rearing, including growth and breeding performance, and a platform session by Dr. Toi Collins from Ohio State University is dedicated to that topic at AALAS 2020. Even though zebrafish have become one of the most popular animal models used in biomedical research, zebrafish husbandry, particularly nutrition and feeding have not kept up with that trend.

PS52 Optimizing Food Accessibility During Zebrafish Rearing Improves Growth, Survival, and Breeding Performance

Our Distributors at AALAS

ClearH2O relies on its distributors world wide to provide gels to lab animals around the world. A few of our distributors were present at AALAS 2020 as well : WF Fisher distributes ClearH2O gels in CT, NY and NJ; SSNIFF covers part of central Europe; Lab Supply located in TX, USA and Datesand in the UK co-presented a webinar on enrichment, including the Nombrero, a unique delivery device that hooks to the top rack and keeps the gel off the bedding, keeping it cleaner longer. 

Winners at the ClearH2O Booth!

During this first week of AALAS, we had a daily drawing to win on of our $50 gift cards, here are the winners:

Monday, October 26th:            $50 Amazon Gift Card           Darren Duvall from UAB
Tuesday, October 27th:             $50 L.L.Bean Gift Card         Elizabeth Kotus from University of Michigan
Wednesday, October 28th:      $50 Best Buy Gift Card         John Malpass from Stanford University
Thursday, October 29th:          $50 Walmart Gift Card         Mia Benkenstein from Idaho State University
Friday, October 30th:                $50 Chipotle Gift Card         Joanne Zahorsky-Reeves from UCLA

You still have until December 31st 2020 to join our community and be entered in our biggest drawing : a $200 value Maine Gift Basket!

To learn more about ClearH2O’s involvement in AALAS 71st National Meeting, refer to our AALAS 2020 article series:
Overcoming Lab Animal Husbandry Challenges at AALAS 2020
AALAS 2020 Technical Trade Presentation Preview : Breeding Support
Come Discover ClearH2O’s New Gel Diet Specifically Formulated for Zebrafish at AALAS 2020
AALAS 2020 Aftermath: Laboratory Animal Science on the Forefront
The Ethical Obligation of Lab Animal Pain Management at AALAS 2020


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