Score sheets

The score sheet can be an important tool for determining humane endpoints. A score sheet is a form (paper of electronic) on which the clinical status of each individual experimental animal is recorded at regular, predetermined intervals. 

Over time, this score sheet will provide an overview of the health status of an animal and can be regarded as a “welfare diary” (see movie).

For every scientific procedure, a separate score sheet can be designed. The significant clinical findings of the experiment can be recorded on this sheet. For new investigations, these findings will be unknown requiring that the assessment of the animal’s condition covers a wide range of clinical aspects. For familiar procedures, the assessment can be limited to the relevant clinical parameters and possible unusual findings. The score sheet must be logical and consistent, it must be user friendly and specific, and at the same time discriminating enough to visualize subtle changes in animal welfare.
Analysis of the score sheet will show the pattern of recovery or deterioration of each animal’s condition over time and the effect of the procedure on the animal’s health. A score sheet is an essential instrument in determining humane endpoints.

An example of a list of general clinical signs that may be recorded in a score sheet, can be found here

For several specific types of research (eg, cancer research, toxicity studies, etc.) examples of scoring lists are given in the secured section of the website. If you are logged in, you can go here to this section of the website.

Movie: keeping a welfare-diary

Example of filling in a score sheet