New NIH/OLAW Expectation for Tracking Numbers of Animals Used in Research

As part of responsible care and use of animals in research, the National Institutes of Health/Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (NIH/OLAW) has stated an expectation that the number of animals used in support of research be tracked, including those produced in excess of the number or type needed. This means that animals euthanized before weaning must also be counted and subtracted from approved animal numbers in the IACUC protocol. In order to meet this NIH/OLAW expectation, Mark Suckow (UK's Attending Veterinarian) has been working with faculty, DLAR staff, and representatives from the IACUC to determine a reasonable way for us to accomplish this at UK. Following two trials, we believe that we can meet the expectations by having investigators provide a monthly report of the number of pre-weanling animals euthanized.

The process can be summarized as follows:

Once per month, preferably at the end of the month, indicate on a census card the number of pre-weaning rodents that have been euthanized or found dead. No need to indicate the number that are weaned, as that is determined by DLAR once the litter is separated.

  1. You can indicate which pain category the rodents are in (Figure A below); or do not indicate the pain category (Figure B below).  Most pre-weaning rodents are in Category C, though there may be some protocols under which they are listed otherwise. 
  2. Leave both (top and bottom) bar codes attached to the card.
  3. Turn in the census card to DLAR.
  4. Note that a separate card should be generated for each IACUC protocol under which pre-weaning rodents were euthanized.  The protocol number should be on the census card.
  5. Under this system, there will be no charge assessed.

After cards are turned in, protocols will be debited for the indicated number of pups. This will help us alert PIs if they are approaching the number approved in the protocol so that an amendment can be submitted and non-compliance avoided. This will meet the expectations of NIH/OLAW.

Please notify those in your laboratory who euthanize pre-weaning rodents to keep track of the number euthanized and to follow the process above.  Any questions can be directed to Mark Suckow (; 7-1117) or Cheryl Carmichael (; 3-6006).

See attachment for cage card examples.