3.2 - Overview of animal care and support needs



  1. Animal health checks and health maintenance. Animals should be checked daily to confirm they are healthy. These observations may be performed by qualified AR personnel or others. Observations of abnormalities or treatment of sick animals must be handled by consultation by the AR veterinarian.
  2. Food and water supplies. Food and water are critical to maintaining animal health. The appropriate food for the species and research needs, in adequate quantities, in unadulterated form, is the goal of this plan. If the usual food is not available, professional judgment must be applied to identify acceptable substitutes which are available. Water is especially important, as most animals can survive for several days with little food, but may succumb within 1-2 days without water. Water must be potable and, ideally, delivered in the same form (acidified, autoclaved, etc.) as normal. Some species are especially sensitive to food or water deprivation (e.g., squirrel monkeys, immature animals) and should be given special attention.
  3. Sanitation. For purposes of animal health, animal welfare, and support of research, adequate sanitation must be provided. Cages of some species must be changed often (e.g., large animals like dogs, cats, monkeys) while others may go several days without inducing health or environmental problems. The goal of this plan is to approximate normal sanitation schedules with available resources. Increasing cage change intervals, spot cleaning instead of whole-cage changes, changing bedding instead of cage changes, hand washing of some equipment, or deferring activities such as floor mopping may be required. The Facility Director and Director/designee decide which sanitation activities are performed in order to provide the greatest benefit to the animals if it is not possible to perform all normal activities due to unusual conditions.
  4. Environmental support (ventilation, temperature control, utilities). Maintenance of an appropriate environment is essential to the well-being of animals and for many research projects. Ventilation problems may include loss of or diminished air supply or exhaust, loss of pressure differentials in critical areas, unacceptable temperature variations, contamination with agents such as chemicals or smoke, or loss of utilities such as electricity needed for lights or powered equipment (e.g., hoods, autoclaves, ventilated racks). Ventilation problems will be dealt with by Facility Director and/or Director/designee, with goals of: maintaining at least some air movement in animal housing spaces, sustaining air pressure differentials in the barriers and BHZ (if possible), and keeping temperatures as close to the acceptable range as is possible. The minimal standard is to prevent animal deaths or contamination of the environment.
  5. Personnel to provide animal care. Personnel with adequate training are essential to maintaining animal colonies. They may be unable to work in facilities due to damage or dangerous conditions, physical obstructions (snow storm or chemical spill nearby), or interruption of work (bomb threat, picketing, etc.). Section supervisors will deploy available personnel to maintain animal health and well-being under the direction of the AR Director or the Director's designee. Personnel may be asked to perform duties outside the scope of their normal responsibilities in order to protect animal health or well-being.