Guidance for Completion of Vertebrate Animal Section of Proposals to NIH

 

Facilities & Other Resources

Animal Facilities:  The Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) at the University of Kentucky was AAALAC accredited in 1966, and has maintained accreditation since that time. Dedicated research animal space located in 8 separate DLAR facilities totals approximately 105,297 ft2 including support areas.  Animal housing and care complies with or exceeds the requirements of the Animal Welfare Regulations (9CFR), the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (2010), and the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Daily animal care and husbandry is provided by a staff of over 30 animal technicians, 4 animal care supervisors, and a facility and operations manager.  Enrichment programs have been developed to promote species-specific behaviors and appropriate interactions for social species, as appropriate for the research using these species.

The DLAR Experimental Surgery facility has four fully equipped surgical suites that can be utilized for survival surgery. Two suites are continuously maintained in a sterile condition for survival surgery.  Another operating room is equipped with fluoroscopy, dental radiography, and digital radiography for imaging studies.  The unit is equipped to support extended and complex surgical procedures with an extensive array of monitoring and support equipment.  The DLAR Experimental Surgery facility is staffed with two surgery technicians, a surgery supervisor, 3 research analysts, and one quality assurance technician. 

All protocols involving vertebrate animals are performed under the supervision of the University of Kentucky Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). 

Vertebrate Animal Section: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-16-006.html

There are 5 required specific elements in the Vertebrate Animal Section (VAS) that must be addressed.  The response to all 5 elements must be considered acceptable by the reviewers for the VAS to be considered acceptable.  An unacceptable VAS is considered as a component in the final scoring of the application.   If an application with an unacceptable VAS is still within the funding range, the concerns related to the VAS must be resolved prior to the funding award.

1.    Detailed description of the proposed use of the animals, including species, strains, ages, sex and number to be used:  This section is directly dependent on the proposed research.  The PI must address all of the listed subjects in the detailed description.  The response “…must be cohesive and include sufficient detail to allow evaluation by reviewers and NIH staff.”(NOT-OD-10-049)

 

2.    Justification for the use of animals, choice of species, and numbers to be used: This section is directly dependent on the proposed research.  The PI must address all of the listed subjects in the detailed description.  The response “…must be cohesive and include sufficient detail to allow evaluation by reviewers and NIH staff.”(NOT-OD-10-049)

 

3.    Information on the veterinary care of the animals:  (Suggested verbiage) All animals are observed daily by animal husbandry staff with any abnormalities reported to the veterinary staff and the investigator for further evaluation and treatment, when necessary.  Veterinary clinical care is provided by 4 licensed veterinary technicians and 4 veterinarians, all of which are ACLAM Diplomates.  Anatomic and clinical pathology services are provided by a veterinary pathologist experienced in laboratory animal medicine assisted by a licensed veterinary technician.  DLAR veterinarians and veterinary technicians are available for the management of medical and/or research related problems daily, all evenings and holidays. In addition, the DLAR emphasizes preventative medicine that is exemplified by an extensive rodent screening serology program and health monitoring programs for other species.

 

4.    Description of procedures for minimizing discomfort, distress, pain, and injury: This section is directly dependent on the proposed research.  The PI should address the use of anesthetics, analgesics, supportive care, and criteria for early removal from the study, if applicable to the proposed study.  The following statement may be included in this section to address the issue of personnel training and competence, if desirable;

All personnel handling laboratory animals are required to successfully complete a basic training program (Education and Training in the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: A Guide for Developing Institutional Programs, National Academy Press, 1991).  Additional species and procedure specific training programs are provided through the DLAR training program and the AALAS Learning Library is available to all University of Kentucky personnel using vertebrate animals in research and teaching.

5.    Method of euthanasia and the reasons for its selection:  While the answer to this question is research project dependent, it is important to address whether the proposed method of euthanasia is listed as Acceptable, Conditionally Acceptable (usually requiring justification and IACUC approval), or Unacceptable according to the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia, 2013 (http://www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/euthanasia.pdf).