Tail flick test

Related Panlab Integrated Solutions


Tail-Flick Test (D’Armour & Smith Test) is a nociceptive essay based on the measurement of the latency of the avoidance response to thermal stimulus in rodents.

Basically, a thermal stimulus is applied on the tail; when the animal feels discomfort, it reacts by a sudden tail movement. The tail flick reaction time is then measured and used as an index of animal pain sensitivity.

The difference of this test respect to the hot plate test is that the test can be repeated several times on the same animal (with the condition to respect a minimum resting time between each evaluation – around 5 min), before and after drug administration for instance.

In this test, reliable data are only obtained whether the animals are quiet and immobile during the measurement. In this context, the experimenter commonly place in a holder, so a period of habituation is needed for minimizing the animal stress during the measurement. Experienced experimenter can perform the test without any holder/restrainer. 

This test has proved particularly sensitive for studying the analgesic properties of pharmacological substances. It can also be used to evaluate basal thermal pain sensitivity or to study putative genetic differences among animals without drug (‘naïve’).


Related Panlab Integrated Solutions

TAIL FLICK METER (Panlab) – SEDACOM – rat & mice

  • 1 x LE7106 tail flick meter unit
  • 1 x holder (to be chosen from the list of available holder depending on the animal size – standard size for adult rat is 250-300 gr, standard size for adult mouse is 30-35 gr)
  • 1 x SEDACOM V2.0 software (option)
  • 1 x CONRS232USBHS adapter for SEDACOM (option)

The animal latency reaction time can be read on the timer display of the tail flick meter control unit and/or transferred to the SEDACOM software for exporting the data in Excel format. The tail flick meter can also be used without computer/SEDACOM. In that case, the experimenter notes manually the latency data shown on the control display. 



Reasons for choosing this test

  • Standard test for screening analgesic effects 
  • Widely used in literature
  • Sensitive for both rats and mice
  • Allows multiple measurements in the same animal

Reasons for not choosing this test

  • Mainly spinal response
  • Animal habituation is critical for obtaining reliable data
  • Restrainer recommended for inexperienced users
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