Columbus Instruments' Tail-Flick Analgesia Meter provides an easy to use method in determining pain sensitivity accurately and reproducibly in rats and mice. The instrument has a shutter-controlled lamp as a heat source. The lamp is located below the animal to provide a less confining environment and is kept in a continuously illuminated state so that the heat source provides a constant temperature to the animal's tail, avoiding the lamp warm-up temperature variations that non-shuttered systems suffer from.
Tail-flick detection may be done either through use of the on/off foot-switch control or by using the automatic detection circuitry. Both of these methods leave the user's hands free to handle the animal. The animal is generally restrained and its tail is placed on a sensing groove on top of the instrument.
Activation of an intense light beam to the tail through opening the shutter results in a discomfort at some point when the animal will flick its tail out of the beam. In the manual mode, the foot-switch is released. In the automatic mode the photo detector detects the tail motion, causing the clock to stop and the shutter to close. The total time elapsed between shutter opening and animal's reaction is displayed on an easily read display located on the front panel. Data may be collected via USB or the RS-232 port by any PC computer.