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Lab Animal Aramis Tattoo

Jason Baker | May 25, 2012

I have an interesting job.

One day I am meeting with a grocery store chain to finalize a promotional campaign and the next I am touring a research lab facility. The company I work for Ketchum Manufacturing is this diverse. We do everything from identifying livestock to selling products to museums. Over the years my roles and responsibilities have shifted to meet the needs of my employer. So I am not sure how but one day I ended up in a research facility in Quebec City with a mouse in my hands.

It started when I was informed I was going to begin handling the products we sell to the research industry. Now keep in mind, I went to school for Radio and Television broadcasting. How I became a sales rep for Ketchum is for another blog but needless to say I never even walked down the science hall in high school. I was in total panic. The fear of being in so far over your head was freaking me out. Always the calming influence in my life, my boss said not to worry we will get you trained.

Ketchum sells a tool designed to apply the tiniest little tattoos on laboratory mice. Ok I know what your imagining, mice with tattoos on their lower backs just above the pant line. Again a topic for another blog titled “What I experimented with in College”, but I digress. As it turns out there is an entire industry working daily on scientific research to make our lives better. I know your mind can instantly conjure up images of puppies and chimps being used to make a better perfume and the thoughts of joining protestors and activist’s jumps to the forefront. This is not what I have witnessed however. Thousands of scientists dedicating their lives to cure cancer, find the next insulin, or figure out what causes MS are more in line with the research being done around the world. This research does include the use of animals which are often bred for this single purpose. The amount of care taken to ensure the animals are treated humanely is amazing. Their quality of life is the most important criteria to be able to begin a trial.

Mice are often used and I can’t tell you why honestly. I don’t want to say their genetic makeup closely matches ours because I don’t have a clue. Maybe it’s because they reproduce like rabbits and there is an abundant supply, who knows. Rabbits are used as well by the way.

One issue for researchers is keeping the mice identified so they can properly track results of their research. Now although I often mix up their names, I can tell my four kids apart. Heck I can even tell my two dogs apart, but I’m not sure I want to hang around with the scientist who can tell a couple hundred mice apart by sight. So they need to be identified and one of the easiest most cost-effective, and humane ways of identifying mice is with our micro tattoo system Aramis. This little instrument allows staff to identify each mouse with a permanent and non-toxic tattoo. You can keep mice individually marked simply by where you place the tattoo and how many dots you apply. It is so simple its genius.    The Aramis system requires some practice but no formal training. Its low price means that any facility can have them without busting the budget.

So back to the lab. Part of my training was to meet the people who designed the Aramis tattoo system. They worked in a facility in Quebec City. I am a visual learner so the best thing for me to do was see first-hand how Ketchum’s Aramis system and our other products were used. It is helpful for me to be able to talk to people who are interested in Aramis if I can understand their questions or concerns. So one wintery night I found myself in a lab in Quebec City with a mouse in my hands. This was a first for me. I was shown how to tattoo the mouse by Anne somebody who had obviously done it a thousand times before. Looked simple enough but when I tried it there were less than perfect results. I wear that tattoo in my thumb with pride now. Practice does make perfect but most important is how you hold the mouse. As it turns out if they aren’t trying to run up your arm it’s easier to get the job done quickly. That’s better for me and I am sure more enjoyable for the mouse.


The Aramis system is great. It’s easy to sell a product you believe in. I won’t even mention methods facilities used to use to identify their mice. Let’s just say a simple tattoo using Aramis is a day at the beach for both the mouse as well as the staff. But don’t take my word for it. I have video. Like a bad vacation video you’re made to watch, this one is “My Day at the Lab, and no it’s not me in the video – it’s Anne. I leave the movies to the pros.

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