What kind of procedures can I do in the animal rooms?

                Some procedures may be done in the hoods in the animal housing rooms.  Please refer to the text below.

Guidelines for Procedures in Animal Housing Rooms
Division of Laboratory Animals (DLAR)
University of Kentucky Medical Center

PURPOSE:

This document is to provide guidance to investigators regarding performance of procedures in animal holding rooms versus designated vivarium procedure rooms.

BACKGROUND:

DLAR animal rooms are primarily intended for animal housing.  Husbandry and research procedures, as well as in-house transport of animals, can cause changes in physiological parameters such as heart rate, blood pressure, plasma corticosterone levels, and blood glucose levels.  Providing stable, consistent environmental conditions in these rooms minimizes variability in research results and disruption of the animals’ normal functions such as breeding and sleep patterns.

However, it is understood that both research procedures and husbandry tasks are necessary parts of the research enterprise.  It is also difficult to determine if these physiologic changes are indicative of a negative impact on the animal since presumably “positive” stimuli can elicit some of the same responses as “negative” stimuli.  In an effort to minimize these variables, the following recommendations are intended to provide guidance to researchers on performing these tasks in the vivarium.

GUIDELINES:

Certain minor procedures may be performed in the animal housing rooms, such as injections, blood collection, tissue sampling for genotyping (e.g., tail biopsy, ear punching), and weighing.

However, procedures that may be harmful to other animals in the room such as the use of volatile chemicals, surgery, euthanasia or generation of excess noise, etc. may not be performed in animal housing rooms. Such activities should be done in procedure rooms which are available in DLAR for more complex, noxious, or time-consuming procedures.

In particular, when working with or around more sensitive species, such as rodents or rabbits, work quietly to avoid disturbing or distressing the animals. Any excessively distressing procedures, such as invasive or anesthetized blood collection or surgery, should be done outside of the animal housing rooms, to avoid unnecessary stimulation of the animals. 

Many DLAR facilities have associated procedure rooms. These rooms must be scheduled by investigators, usually through a sign-up sheet on the room door or through an online reservation
system.  Please contact the DLAR Animal Care Supervisor of the facility for assistance with scheduling procedure rooms. :  http://www.research.uky.edu/dlar/contact_us.htm     

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS:

When you are planning procedures, please also consider the length and timing of your tasks with consideration for animal husbandry activities as well as those of other researchers sharing the housing room.  The DLAR technicians working in the rooms and the DLAR Supervisor of the area can both provide information on cage change schedules as well as the location of procedure rooms.

Many species can hear frequencies of sound outside the range of humans.  Research equipment can generate this type of noise, especially those with video display terminals or processors.  To the greatest extent possible, activities that might be noisy should be conducted in areas separate from those used for animal housing.

If you have unique procedural needs that cannot be performed by the guidelines above, please also feel free to contact one of the DLAR Veterinarians for further assistance.

REFERENCES:

AVMA. 2007. AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. Schaumburg IL: AVMA.

Baumans, V. and Castelhano-Carlos, M J.  The impact of light, noise, cage cleaning and in-house transport on welfare and stress of laboratory rats. Laboratory Animals 2009 43: 311-327.

Gilmore A J, Billing R L and Einstein R. The effects on heart rate and temperature of mice and vas deferens responses to noradrenaline when their cage mates are subjected to daily restraint stress.  Laboratory Animals 2008 42: 140–148

NRC [National Research Council] 1996.  Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Ramsey, N and Van Ree, J M. Emotional but not physical stress enhances intravenous cocaine self-administration in drug-naive rats. Brain Research 1993 608:  216-222

Sharp, J, Zammit, T, Azar, T, and Lawson, D. Are “By-stander” Female Sprague-Dawley Rats Affected by Experimental Procedures? CT/JAALAS 2003 Jan 42 (1):  19-27

Sharp, J, Zammit, T, Azar, T, and Lawson, D. Does Witnessing Experimental Procedures Produce Stress in Male Rats? CT/JAALAS 2002 Sep 41 (5):  8-12

Verwer C, van der ArkA, van Amerongen G, van den Bos R and Hendriksen C F M. Reducing variation in a rabbit vaccine safety study with particular emphasis on housing conditions and handling. Laboratory Animals 2009 43: 155–164