IACUC Guidelines

Research Involving Animal Subjects  Under Construction
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

The following Web sites may also prove useful for a researcher who has questions about animal care and use:




Table of Contents

I. National

II. State and City

III. Institutional
A. University Policy
B. Monitoring Animal Care and Use
C. Training and Education Programs
D. Animal Procurement
E. Animal Maintenance and Management
F. Environmental Monitoring
G. Animal Identification
H. Research Involving Hazardous Agents
I. Animal Husbandry
J. Animal Care and Health
K. Special Considerations
L. Laboratory Animal Personnel Health Program



I. National

Several documents and organizations provide policies, standards and regulations on the care and use of animals national wide. The following is a summary of those national guidelines that are pertinent to researchers using animals at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Animal Welfare Act (Public Law 89-544)

The Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and its amendments regulate the purchase, sale, housing, care, handling, treatment and transportation of animals used in teaching, research, exhibitions, and those sold as pets. The Act specifically includes dogs, cats, non-human primates, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, all wild animal species, and any other warm-blooded animals that the Secretary of Agriculture determines are used or being intended for use for research, testing, experimentation, exhibition purposes, or being sold as pets. Specifically exempted are birds, rats and mice as well as horses and other farm animals used for food, or livestock and poultry used for the improvement of animal nutrition, breeding, management, or production.

Recent amendments address such issues as exercise for dogs, care for non-human primates to ensure their psychological well-being, the composition and duties of an institutional animal care and use committee, adequate veterinary care and responsibilities of the attending veterinarian, training of all personnel using laboratory animals in humane methods of animal maintenance and experimentation, and record keeping. The institutional animal care and use committee is responsible for reviewing all protocols using animals to make certain that they meet criteria listed in the amendments. In addition, it must conduct semi-annual inspections of all animal study areas and animals facilities to ensure that there are no significant deviations in the use of animals from approved protocols. The importance of this requirement is underscored by the fact that the Chief Executive Officer of the institution must certify that the attending veterinarian and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee have the authority to enter any animal area at any reasonable time. At the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), the duties of the required institutional animal care and use committee are preformed by the existing Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

The Act is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), specifically, the Sector Veterinary component of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Veterinary component of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Veterinary Services (APHIS-VS). Research facilities are subject to unannounced inspections by USDA veterinarians and are required to furnish an annual report that includes the numbers and kinds of research animals used. The report must also certify that anesthetic, analgesic, and tranquilizing drugs were used appropriately during research and testing and the principal investigator (PA) considered alternatives to painful procedures.

The Law is implemented in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 9, Chapter I, Subchapter A (Animal Welfare). Subchapter A serves as the USDA regulatory guide that defines the specific standards and requirements that govern the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of animals. Failure to comply with these standards may lead to civil or criminal prosecution resulting in substantial fines and/or suspension of animal research activities.

Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

The Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals incorporates the changes in the Public Health Service Act (PHS) mandated by the Health Research Extension Act of 1985, Public Law 99-158. The PHS Policy, frequently referred to as the NIH Policy, requires that each institution receiving PHS funds for research involving animals submit detailed information regarding the institution's program for the care and use of animals (including farm animals, mice, and rats) to the Office of Protection from Research Risks (OPRR). This information is in the form of an Animal Welfare Assurance Statement that must be resubmitted at least every five years. Significant changes in existing assurance status or problems encountered in implementing this policy must be reported immediately to the OPRR.

Institutions are required to identify an institutional official who is ultimately responsible for the institution's program for the care and use of animals and a veterinarian qualified in laboratory animal medicine who will participate in the program. At UCCS, the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs is the designated institutional official. Each institution is also required to designate clear lines of authority and responsibility for those involved in animal care and use in PHS-supported activities.

The policy clearly defines the role and responsibilities of institutional animal care and use committees in all aspects of PHS-supported research. The committees must be composed of at least five members and include an individual unaffiliated with the institution, a veterinarian who has program responsibilities and who has training or experience in laboratory animal science and medicine, a practicing scientist experienced in research involving animals, and a member whose concerns are in a non-scientific area. (USDA requires at least a three-member committee: a veterinarian, a person unaffiliated with the institution other than by his committee membership, and one other member.)

This policy requires institutional animal care and use committees to review and approve those sections of PHS grant applications that relate to the care and use of animals before merit reviews will be conducted. The committees are also required to conduct semi-annual assessments of the program based on the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Significant deficiencies in the institution's program must be identified, and the institution must adhere to an approved plan and schedule for correction of those deficiencies.

An institution's failure to comply with these policies may lead to various actions including termination of PHS support for all projects involving animals at the institution.

U.S. Government Principles for the Use and Care of Vertebrate Animals

These principles were developed by the U.S. Government Interagency Research Animal Committee (IRAC) and have been included as Institutional Policy in the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Assurance Statement to the PHS.

Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

In 1962, NIH contracted with the National Academy of Sciences Institute for Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR) to develop what is now called the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, or simply the Guide. The Guide underwent its 6th revision in 1996. Its purpose is to assist scientific institutions in using and caring for laboratory animals in ways judged to be professionally appropriate. It is long-standing NIH policy that grantees and contractors using live vertebrate animals in projects or activities supported by NIH should be guided by the recommendations in this publication. This guide also is used by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) as a standard for its accreditation of institutions.

Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care

The Association for for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) is a non-profit organization established by scientific and educational organizations to ensure high standards of laboratory animal care and use. The programs works on a voluntary peer-review basis, evaluating animal care programs and facilities of applicant institutions. AAALAC standards follow the guidelines set forth in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals in determining whether or not accreditation should be granted.

Accredited facilities are required to submit annual reports on the status of their animal facilities, and accounted accreditation visits are conducted every three years. The NIH, in its current policy, accepts AAALAC accreditation as the best means of demonstrating conformance with NIH requirement for animal care and use.

The Good Laboratory Practices Act of 1975

The Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) regulations pertain to nonclinical laboratory studies done in support of applications for research or marketing permits for products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All product studies submitted to the FDA must follow the GLPs, and compliance is demanded to meet the FDA's regulatory requirements for the release of new products.

The GLP regulations, as they apply to the use of animals, address such issues as construction and maintenance of facilities, quarantine and isolation, disease diagnosis and treatment, animal identification, caging, routine care, and sanitation.

Wildlife and Biological Societies

Guidelines have been established by various wildlife and biological societies for the use of the wildlife in field research. Adherence to such guidelines is required by multiple wildlife and biological journals for publication of research. The following guideline publications are available through the Animal Resources Department upon request or may be procured directly from the specific publishing society.

  • Report of the American Ornithologists' Union, Ad Hoc Committee on Scientific and Educational Use of Wild Birds. Supplement to The Auk, Vol. 92, No.3, July 1975. Business Office: OSNA, Dept. Zoology, 1735 Neil Ave., Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH 43221.
  • Guidelines for the Use of Fishes in Field Research, American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, American Fisheries Society, American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists. Fisheries, Vol. 13, No.2, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT 84602.
  • Acceptable Field Methods in Mammalogy: Preliminary Guidelines Approved by the American Society of Mammalogists, Ad Hoc committee on Acceptable Field Methods in Mammalogy. Supplement to Vol. 68, No.4, November 1987, Journal of Mammalogy. Business Office: American Fisheries Society, 5410 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814.
  • Guidelines for the Use of Live Amphibians and Reptiles in Field Research. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. The Herpetologists' League. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Journal of Herpetology, Supplement, No.4, 1987. Business Office: J. Herpetology, Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Dept. Zoology, Ohio Univ., Athens, OH 45701.
  • Guidelines for Proper Care and Use of Wildlife in Field Research. The Wildlife Society: National Wildlife Federation, 1412 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. The Wildlife Biologic Society: 7101 Wisconsin Ave., #611, Washington, D.C. 22014.

Controlled Substances Act

Potentially addictive or habituating drugs for human and animal use are classified under this law. Examples of controlled substances included barbiturates and narcotics. The Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), enforces this law and requires appropriate security and record management for use of these substances. Use of controlled substances requires a Controlled Substance Permit.

Various Granting Agencies

Most granting agencies have established policies for the care and use of laboratory animals. Investigators should fully understand the requirements of each agency from which funds are sought.

Centers for Disease Control

The Centers for Disease Control (CD) in Atlanta regulate the importation of all non-human primates into the United States. Only organizations or individuals registered with the CDC may import non-human primates or receive them within a 31-day period of their arrival in the United States. Importers must comply with CDC record-keeping and reporting requirements.




II. State and City

State

The State of Colorado adheres to provisions required by federal law for licensing research facilities that use laboratory animals.

Colorado Division of Wildlife

In working with wildlife species, even common small rodents, special permits may be required, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife should be consulted. For further information, contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife, 6060 Broadway, Denver, Colorado 80216 (303) 297-1192.

Colorado Controlled Substances Act

The Colorado Controlled Substances Act governs the production and use of controlled substances within the State of Colorado. The Colorado Department of Health is vested with the authority to regulate the use of any drug, substances, or immediate precursor listed in Schedules I through V and Penalty Groups 1 through 4 of the Controlled Substance Act. Every person who manufactures, distributes, analyzes, dispenses, or conducts research with any controlled substance shall, under the Colorado Controlled Substance Act, obtain an annual register with the State, an applicant must first register with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) under federal laws. Additional information may be requested by writing to the Colorado Department of Health, 4210 E. 11th Ave., Denver, Colorado 80220 and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Denver Division, 115 Inverness Drive East, Englewood, Colorado 80112 (303) 784-6381.

Guidelines for Proper Care and Use of Wildlife in Field Research. The Wildlife Society: National Wildlife Federation, 1412 16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. The Wildlife Biologic Society: 7101 Wisconsin Ave., #611, Washington, D.C. 22014.

Controlled Substance Act

Potentially addictive or habituating drugs for human and animal use are classified under this law. Examples of controlled substances included barbiturates and narcotics. The department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), enforces this law and requires appropriate security and record management for use of these substances. Use of controlled substances requires a controlled Substances Permit.

Various Granting Agencies

Most granting agencies have establishes policies for the care and use of laboratory animals. Investigators should fully understand the requirements of each agency from which funds are sought.

Centers for Disease Control

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta regulate the importation of all non-human primates into the United States . Only organizations or individuals registered with the CDC may import non-human primates or receive them within a 31-day period of their arrival in the United States. Importers must comply with CDC record-keeping and reporting requirements.

County or City

Research involving animals located on either County Parks, Open Space, or City Parks may will require local permits.




III. Institutional

A. University Policy

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs is registered as a single research and teaching facility with both the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Public Health Service (PHS). Thus the care and use of animals at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs is regulated by federal law and by this institution's commitment to the Office of Protection from Research Risks (OPRR) through its Institutional Assurance Statement which requires strict adherence to the Guide for the Care and use of Laboratory Animals, National Academy Press 1996, ISBN 0-309-05377-3.

Therefore, this institution follows recommendations set forth in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. This publication establishes comprehensive standards for the care and use of all warm-blooded animals In addition, the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals includes a document titled "Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals" to which Adherence is expected.

To ensure proper care and use of wildlife species, investigators should follow guidelines that have been established by national and/or regional wildlife and biological societies for the specific group of animals that are being used (i.e., avian, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, or fish).

B. Monitoring Animal Care and Use

Supervision of Animal Use

For compliance with the PHS policy, the institutional Assurance Statement designates the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research as the institutional official. The Director of Laboratory Animal Resources and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Both report to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research.

Animal Care and Use Committee

The PHS Policy and the amendments to the Animal Welfare Act require the establishment of an Animal Care and Use Committee to ensure that the care and use of animals are appropriate and humane. At the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, the Institutional Animal Care and use Committee was organized in 1971. It oversees all of the following categories of animals.

  • The use of all laboratory animals
  • Agricultural animals used in biomedical teaching and research
  • Wildlife species covered under USDA regulations and
  • Any animal studies funded by the PHS

It is the responsibility of the committee to review proposals, projects, programs, and animal facilities. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) has the authority to suspend any animal-related research activities.

The IACUC has an obligation to review all research projects, proposed for PHS support, prior to their receiving funding. A written report of this review confirms that the project will be conducted in accordance with PHS Policy, the Guide and the Animal Welfare Act. The IACUC has authority to approve, require modifications before approval, or withhold approval of proposals submitted to it for review. No activity involving animals can begin unless it is first approved by the IACUC. Federal Mandated IACUC Functions

  1. Review, at least once every six months, the research facility's program, using USDA Regulations/Guide as the basis.
  2. Inspect, at least once every six months, all of the animal facilities, including animal study areas/satellite facilities, using USDA Regulations/Guide as the basis.
  3. Prepare reports of IACUC evaluations and submit the reports to the Institutional Official.
  4. Review and investigate legitimate concerns involving the care and use of animals at the research facility resulting from public complaints and from reports of non-compliance received from facility personnel or employees.
  5. Make recommendations to the Institutional Official regarding any aspect of the research facility's animal program, facilities or personnel training.
  6. Review and approve, require modification in (to secure approval), or withhold approval of those components of proposed activities related to the care and use of animals.
  7. Review and approve, require modification in (to secure approval), or withhold approval of proposed significant changes regarding the care and use of animals in ongoing activities.
  8. Suspend an activity involving animal when necessary: take corrective action and report to funding agency and USDA

Investigator Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of all investigators using animals in teaching or research to ensure that their staff (both professional and Technical) and any students under their supervision know how to handle and care properly for the species used. They must also be knowledgeable about the animal model and the techniques used. Veterinary staff should be consulted if there are any questions.

Information regarding the basic needs of each species is readily available from reference sources through the Animal Resources Department. Some of the more frequently requested physiologic parameters for the commonly used species are provided in this handbook, "Specific Species Information."

Investigators should try whenever possible to reduce the number of animals used, refine techniques to minimize pain or distress suffered, and replace animal with alternative or adjunctive methods. Unnecessary replication of studies may be avoided by proper literature search through the readily available resources at this university. In procedures that involve unavoidable pain or distress, the investigator must justify the procedure in accordance with current federal regulations and the Policies of the animal Care and Use Committee

Animal Use Protocols

Any research or instructional use of live vertebrates by the University of Colorado Colorado Springs faculty, staff, or students requires the submission of an Animal Use Protocol to the Animal Care and Use committee. The Protocol must be fully approved before any animal user may acquire, house or use animals.

Reporting Deficiencies in Animal care and Treatment

Deficiencies or concerns about laboratory animal care should be reported to the office of the Sponsored Programs or the Chairperson of the IACUC. The concern will be immediately investigated. The animal caretaker and/or principal investigator and department chair or director, will be notified and corrective action taken if a legitimate concern exists. Any concerns will be reviewed by the IACUC.

The IACUC reviews the institutional laboratory animal program twice annually, using as its criteria the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Reports are made to facility administrators who are, in turn, responsible for correcting deficiencies noted by the reviewers. If assistance from department heads, dean, or other administrative officials is needed, facility administrators should ordinarily assume responsibility for seeking such assistance. The IACUC and the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs will offer whatever assistance they can. They will initiate informal and formal actions to correct deficiencies whenever intervention is necessary to assure humane treatment of animal or to protect the interests of the institution.

C. Training and Education Programs

Training available for animal users at this institution will include the following topics.

  • Education on federal regulations and institutional policies for the care and use of animals used in teaching and research (This will include an overview of the function of the animal care and use committees.)
  • Instruction on the proper and humane methods for handling and restraint, euthanasia, and collection of samples
  • Information on the basic needs of various species
  • General use of anesthetics and analgesics
  • Guidelines for aseptic surgery

Basic training course is required for anyone working with laboratory animals on campus. For information about current training programs, inquiries should be addressed to the IACUC Chair.

Laboratory animals (Currently there are no animals housed a UCCS)

All laboratory animals, regardless of housing site or funding source, must be ordered from approved sources through the animal facility supervisors. Procurement of animals from pet shops, local animal shelters, or through other unapproved sources is against university policy.

Agricultural Animals

Under institutional policy, agricultural animals may be purchased through private treaty or commercial trade channels. The acquisition of all such animals must be coordinated with the appropriate facility managers and include plans for adequate facilities and feed sources.

Wildlife Species

Specialized regulations exist for the procurement of wildlife and exotic species. All native birds are protected by Federal Law. Only the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris), house sparrow (Passer domesticus), and the Rock dove (Columba livia), also known as the domestic pigeon can be taken without a permit. All other wildlife to be taken usually require Federal (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and/or State (Colorado Department of Wildlife) Permits. These permit requirements also apply to road-killed animals and all animal parts. To mark and release birds requires both Federal and State permits. The Bird Banding Laboratory, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service authorizes all marking methods including banding, color marking, and radio telemetry. Additional permits are required for trapping, banding, and marking endangered species.

E. Animal Maintenance and Management

Animal Housing (Currently there are no animials housed at UCCS)

Segregation of Species Animals. Should be physically separated by species to prevent interspecies transmission of disease. In some situations, housing of different species in the same room may be appropriate (e.g., Laminar flow cabinets or filtered microisolator cages). The Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs or the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals should be consulted for further information.

Registration of Housing Facilities. The University of Colorado Colorado Springs is registered as a single research and teaching facility with the Public Health Service (PHS). In order for the university to meet legal obligations to maintain an accurate list of all housing facilities on campus used for animals covered by federal laws or policies, all animal housing facilities on campus must be listed with the Animal Care and Use Committee. Animals must not be housed in facilities that are not so listed.

A housing facility is defined as any room or other discreet area in which animals are maintained for periods exceeding 24 hours and/or receive routine maintenance such as feed and water.

Quarantine and Isolation. All newly received animal should be examined and if possible, quarantined for a period of time dependent upon the species, source and health of the animals. This allows for evaluation of the animals health status and permits the animals to adapt to their surroundings.

Standards of Indoor Housing Facilities. Animal housing facilities should be separate from personnel areas (e.g., offices, conference rooms and most laboratories). The walls and floors of animal rooms should be constructed of water-resistant materials, that can be sanitized easily. Ventilation should be sufficient to prevent accumulation of offensive odors. Air should not be recirculated without appropriate treatment to remove particulates and odors. Windows, if opened, must be screened. Animals should be on a controlled light cycle appropriate to the species unless experimental protocol dictates otherwise. Ambient temperatures should maintained in good working order to minimize failure of the system.

Standards of Primary Enclosures. Cages, pens, or other animal enclosures should be designed so that animals can remain dry and clean, should provide sufficient space to assure freedom of movement and should provide sufficient space to assure freedom of movement and should allow for normal postural adjustments. Specific space requirements are listed in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 9, Chapter 1, Subchapter A (Animal Welfare). Space allocations should equal or exceed the requirements of the most demanding of these regulatory documents. In addition to setting space requirements, these documents provide standards concerning other details of cage or pen design and should be consulted. In general, cages or pens, unless designed to be disposable, should be constructed of impervious and durable materials that will withstand the type of cleaning procedures described in this handbook. Cages, pens or other primary enclosures should be kept in good repair. In particular, enclosures should be secure, and there should be no sharp edges or other defects that could cause injury to the animals. Cage racks should be made of impervious and durable material that can be cleaned using solutions of detergents and disinfectants. Excess cages, as well as extra supplies of water bottles and other such equipment, should be stored in a clean and vermin free location separate from the animal room.

Surgical, metabolic and other physiological and biologic studies should be conducted with appropriate facilities, adequate equipment, and under the direction and supervision of qualified personnel for the sanitation and protection of animals, including both operative and post-operative recovery.

F. Environmental Monitoring

Many species require specialized (controlled) environments. The environment in which animals are kept should coincide with the species and its life history. While some species are versatile and readily adapt to their environments, other species have specific needs. All aspects of the animal environments, should be monitored. Temperature and humidity (microenvironment) are probably two of the most important environmental factors as they can affect both metabolism and behavior. Other environmental factors to be closely monitored include ventilation, lighting and lighting cycles, noise levels, food, bedding, and water. The Guide should be consulted for more specific requirements.

G. Animal Identification

The Animal Welfare Act and the Guide require appropriate identification of all animals. Accepted methods of animal identification include room, rack, and care cards: collars and bands: ear notched and tags: implantable microchips: tattoos: and branding. Information on cage cards should include the investigator's name, protocol number, species, sex, date of birth (approximate age), color or any distinctive markings, breed or type, animal identification number and due of acquisition: The Animal Welfare Act requires that certain species be identified either by tattoo or tag. When officials USDA tags are used, the tags must be removed and retained by the research facility for a period of up to two years after the animal's death.

Banding and all marking methods including color marking radio telemetry in birds require authorization from the Bird banding Laboratory, US Fish and Wildlife Service. Weight of the equipment for wildlife should not exceed 3% of the body weight, though it is preferred that telemetry equipment for birds weigh less that 1% of the body weight.

H. Research Involving Hazardous Agents

Hazardous agents in most animal programs can be divided into four categories.

  • Radioactive materials. The Bio-Safety Committee monitors the purchase, use, and disposal of all radioactive materials at this institution. The committee has been issued the Broad License for use of radioactive materials for the University of Colorado Springs by the State of Colorado, Department of Health.

    Prior to the use of radioactive materials, or radiation producing equipment by an investigator at this institution, an individual sublicense must be procured through the Bio-Safety Committee. The office must be contacted before any in vivo use of radioactive materials is initiated. There are specific regulations pertaining to animal housing, waste, and carcass disposal. These directives are dependent on such variable parameters as the chemical form and half-life of the isotope to be used, body weight of performed during the study. For additional information, contact the Radiation Safety division of the Environmental Health and Safety Department.
  • Toxic chemicals (including known or suspected carcinogens). The use of these substances in experimental animals presents a special exposure hazard because of the potential for the formation of aerosols or dusts that contain the toxicant. It is important to recognize that hazardous chemicals may be excretes into bedding and therefore can be a threat to technicians who come into contact with the animals or their waste.
    Procedures such as the use of a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filtered vacuum cleaner or wetting of bedding should be used for the removal of contaminated bedding or cage matting. All procedures involving mixing of diets and toxic substances should be accomplished within closed containers and within a hood.

    Workers carrying out such operations should wear safety attire to include at least appropriate gloves and a fully buttoned lab coat or equivalent clothing at all times. If aerosols cannot be controlled in other ways, respirators should be used.
    Properly functioning chemical fume hoods and biological safety cabinets are essential for protection of experiments, personnel, and the environment. Contact Environmental Health and Safety for fume hood testing and Biosafety Cabinet certification.
  • Infectious agents/bloodborne pathogens. Investigators working with zoonotic agents should set up isolation procedures in accordance with the severity of the risk involved. Work with infectious agents must be conducted according to good laboratory practices and in containment facilities appropriate to the agent used. Disposal methods should be arranged with the Director of Animal Resources in concert with the Environmental Health and for Research with infectious agents are subject to prior approval by the Institutional Biological Safety Committee.
  • Recombinant genetic materials. Work with recombinant DNA must be conducted in accordance with the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules published in the Federal Register on May 7, 1986. All research with recombinant DNA must be registered with the Institutional Biological Safety Committee, even if those studies are exempt under the NIH Guidelines.

    Appropriate containment and disposition of altered animal are critical issues of concern to the university. All use of genetically altered animals (recombinants, transgenics, mosaics) must receive prior approval from the Institutional Bio-Safety Committee.

To ensure the safety of animals and humans, the use of hazardous biological, chemical, or physical agents in animal studies must be approved by both the Animal Care and Use committee and the appropriate Biosafety Committee. Animal use protocols provide a section for a detailed explanation for the use of hazardous agents.

Sanitation

Waste and carcass disposal. Carcasses must be incinerated rather than discard in trash cans or dumpsters. Small animals may be single bagged, while larger ones should be double bagged to prevent leakage. In all cases, bags should be completely sealed. Solid bedding should be removed regularly and frequently and then disposed in a safe and sanitary manner. If the bedding will be placed in dumpsters, it should be double bagged to minimize spillage, odors, flies and public health problems.

Incineration of biological wastes and carcasses is available to all university departments and agencies through arrangements with outside contractors.

Each animal facility has a freezer available for carcass storage. Frozen carcasses are picked up on a biweekly, or in some cases on an as-needed schedule. Carcasses must be sealed in plastic bags and stored in the freezers. For Pickup, they must be sealed in approved boxes and labeled with the department of origin. Radioactive waste, bulk paper and trash, must not be included.

Infectious materials. Infectious materials must be rendered safe by sterilization, decontamination, or other appropriate measures before disposal.

Radioactive waste. The removal and disposal of all radioactive waste must be arranged through the IBC.

Chemical waste. Proper disposal of hazardous chemical waste is very expensive. Thus, researchers are urged to minimize generation of hazardous chemical waste. It is essential that waste be fully identified. Disposal Contractors will not accept unknown material. For detailed information refer to the current annual revised Notification of Hazardous Materials Program available through Environmental Health and Safety.

Infectious or biohazardous waste. Hazardous biological waste must be "orange bagged" and properly autoclaved or chemically sterilized, if appropriate. Autoclaved orange bags should be so labeled to avoid alarming uninformed employees or the public. Place orange bags in special designated containers near autoclave. Broken glassware and sharps must be disposed of in proper containers and securely packaged by lab personnel before disposal. Questions concerning the disposal of hazardous agents must be directed to the Environmental Health and Safety Department.

Vermin control. To comply with guidelines set forth by the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, programs should be instituted to control, eliminate, or prevent infestation by pests, and wild or escaped rodents. The University of Colorado Colorado Springs maintains a contract with an outside contractor for pest control. Requests for control of insects and rodents should be made to the Campus Services Physical Plant Department.

Insecticide information. Improper use of insecticides can induce toxic effects in animals and interfere with experimental procedures or results. Pesticides should be used in animal areas only when necessary and only after consultation with the investigators whose animals will be exposed to them.

Cleaning procedures. Clean and hygienic conditions must be maintained within cages or other primary enclosures. Excrement must be removed, and litter or bedding must be changed on a regular basis to assure sanitation, prevent buildup of odors, and keep animals clean and dry. Unused portions of perishable foods should be removed prior to spoilage. Cages, pens, and food and water containers must be washed and sanitized often to keep them free of excessive grime and harmful algae, fungal, or bacterial growth. To achieve adequate cleaning action and sanitation of caging, one of the following three practices should be used.

  • Wash with detergent and sanitize by washing or rinsing in water at a temperature of at least 83° C (180° F).
  • Wash with detergent and, after rinsing, sanitize with live steam.
  • Wash with detergent, rinse, and sanitize using an effective disinfectant. Careful rinsing between agents and following them is required to avoid potential chemical incompatibilities, or residues that may harm animals.

Whatever washing and sanitizing methods are used, through final rinsing, especially of food and water containers, is important. If cages or other equipment should be contaminated with hazardous materials, pretreatment to remove such materials may be indicated, and washing equipment should be monitored for possible accumulation.

I. Animal Husbandry

Bedding

For all animals, bedding should be absorbent and free of toxic chemicals or other substances that could injure animals or personnel. The bedding should be used insufficient quantities to keep the animals dry between changes or additions. Aromatic hydrocarbons from some shavings (cedar and pine) have been shown to induce biosynthesis of hepatic microsomal enzymes.

Food and Stuffs

Animals should have convenient, daily access to adequate amounts of clean, palatable and nutritionally adequate food unless dictated otherwise by requirements of experimental design. It is important that food not be stored longer than six months beyond the milling date to minimize degradation of its nutritional quality. Some specialized rations, such as commercial guinea pig or monkey rations, must be refrigerated and used within three months of manufacture: otherwise, supplementation with ascorbic acid is required. Food should be stored in a clean, cool, dry location and protected from infestation with insects or vermin. Food stored in animal rooms should be held in plastic or metal containers with lids. Commercial pelleted rations may be stored in their original, unopened bags if the bags are placed in a sanitary location outside the animal room. The bags should be supported at least one-inch above the floor to facilitate vermin control procedures.

Watering and Watering Systems

Animals should have convenient access to potable water at all time unless otherwise dictated by experimental design. If automatic watering systems are used the rack manifolds and room piping should be flushed regularly and monitored microbiologically for evidence of contamination. Each valve should be checked daily to verify its working status.

J. Animal Care and Health

Animal Monitoring

All animals should be observed daily by trained personnel to assess their health and welfare. Any aberration should be reported to the veterinarian in charge for evaluation.

Veterinary Care

Veterinary care must be provided for all animal 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Any health problem noted by any animal use or technician, at any time, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, should be immediately reported to the "on call" veterinarian or designated animal health technician that has been trained to recognize problems that require veterinary attention.

Any animal that is sick or injured must be provided with veterinary care or be humanely destroyed. Disabilities which area integral part of an appropriately approved protocol must be limited to the extent required by the study and need not be treated. However, animals with such experimental disabilities should be relieved to the fullest extent possible.

Anesthesia and Analgesia

Animal procedures are reviewed by the Animal Care and Use Committees to assure that anesthetics and analgesics are institutioned in research protocols where necessary and are appropriate for the species specified. Some approved anesthetics and analgesics are listed in section "Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Tranquilization". The Animal Resources veterinarian is available to provide assistance with, or training in, the proper administration and use of anesthetics.

All manipulations and drug use should be recorded on the animal's record. This documentation should be maintained in or near the animal procedural area.

The Guide requires that any proposal to conduct painful procedures without anesthesia or analgesia must be approved by the appropriate animal care and use committee, and such procedure must be supervised directly by the responsible investigator.

Postsurgical care. The principal investigator is primarily responsible for postoperative care of the animal with appropriate input from a qualified veterinarian. However, investigators may request veterinary support in this responsibility. Immediate postsurgical care should include observing the animal must be monitored until it regains sternal recombancy and is capable of holding up its head. The animal should be kept warm and dry, and fluids, analgesics, and antibiotics should be administered as required. Surgical wounds should be kept clean and dry.

Appropriate postoperative care for rodent species includes the administration of fluids, analgesics and other drugs as indicated: clinical observations for signs of pain, abnormal behavior, appetite, and excretory functions: and provision of care for surgical incisions.

Survival surgery. Survival surgery is defined as any surgery form which the animal recovers consciousness. Individuals performing survival surgical procedures must be knowledgeable about aseptic surgical techniques and have adequate training and skills to conduct the procedure without causing undue postsurgical distress to the animal. Aseptic techniques must be classified as either "major" or "minor".

"Minor" surgery is defined as any invasive operative procedure in which only skin or mucous membranes and connective tissue is resected, e.g., vascular cutdown for catheter placement, implanting pumps in subcutaneous tissue. Also included are procedures involving biopsies or placement of probes or catheters requiring the entry into a body cavity through a needle or trocar in combination with a minor surgical procedure. Procedures in which the surgical field cannot be effectively disinfected, e.g., tooth extractions and gingival grafts are considered minor.

Minor surgical procedures may be performed in a suitably located and equipped laboratory setting using appropriate aseptic techniques. This includes a clean work area, preparation of the surgical site including clipping of the hair, disinfecting of the skin draping of the surgical with sterile gloves and a surgical mask by the surgeon and any assistant working in the surgical field.

"Major" surgery is any invasive operative procedure in which extensive resection is performed, e.g., a body cavity is entered, organs are removed, or normal anatomy is significantly altered. In general, if a mesenchymal barrier is opened (pleura, peritoneum, meninges) or an extensive orthopedic procedure is involved, the surgery is considered major. For surgical procedures that do not clearly fall into the above categories, the chance for significant inadvertent infection of the surgical site is a primary consideration.

Surgical facilities standards. All major survival surgical procedures on non-rodent species must be conducted in facilities intended specifically for that purpose. These facilities must constructed, maintained and operated to ensure a level of sanitation appropriate for aseptic surgery, and directed and staffed by trained personnel. The operating room(s) must be uncluttered and contain only standard surgical equipment and supplies and essential special equipment required to support current research and teaching protocols.

Use of the operating room(s) should be limited to aseptic procedures and must not be used for general storage or office personnel. A separate area must be provided for clipping hair from the operative site, although the final surgical preparation of the skin may be conducted in the surgery room. An area equipped with surgical scrub sinks should be apart from the operating room(s) and the animal preparation area. Other necessary surgical support functions require facilities for cleaning and sterilizing instruments and storing instruments and sterile supplies, a dressing area for the personnel to change into surgical attire, and an area for intensive care and supportive treatment of the postsurgical animals. Although it is desirable, it is not necessary for support areas to be contiguous with the surgery room, with the exception of the surgical scrub sinks.

Aseptic technique must be used. This includes wearing sterile surgical gloves, caps, and face masks, using sterile supplies and instruments, and aseptically preparing the surgical field.

All procedures on rodent species may be conducted in a laboratory. For survival surgical procedures, appropriate aseptic techniques must be used. This includes a clean work area, preparation of the surgical site including removal of all the hair, disinfection of the skin and draping of the surgical site with sterile drapes, use of sterile supplies, instruments and suture material, and use of sterile gloves and a surgical mask by the surgeon and any assistants working in the surgical field. If infection of the surgical site proves to be a significant problem in procedures carried out with rodents, the standards for non-rodent species must be applied.

Non-survival surgery. If an animal will not regain consciousness postoperatively, major surgical procedures may be conducted in a suitable located and equipped laboratory.

Multiple survival surgeries. Multiple survival surgical procedures on a single animal are prohibited, in general. Under special circumstances, such as if the procedures are essential related components of the research project, more than one major surgical procedure on a single animal may be permitted with the approval of the Animal Care and Use Committee. Occasionally, unanticipated additions surgeries to correct complication that arise following the primary surgical procedures may be done not cause an inordinate degree of pain or distress to the animal.

Euthanasia

Euthanasia is the procedure of killing animals rapidly and painlessly. When it is necessary to euthanize an animal, the act should be performed in accordance with accepted veterinary practices. This institution has adopted as policy the report complied by the American Veterinary Medical Association Panel on Euthanasia (1993). Additional information is provided in "Methods of Euthanasia", included in the Appendix.

Animals used for Teaching

University policy states that all of the regulations and policies that apply to animals used in research also apply to vertebrate animals used in the classroom.

Animal protocol, approved by the IACUC, must be on record before any vertebrates can be procured or used for instructional purposes.

Daily animal care must be provided the same as for research animals.

Animals used for teaching are to be treated in a humane and dignified manner, utilizing appropriate animal handling techniques and trained personnel.

Appropriate anesthesia is required for any surgical procedure.

Appropriate and humane methods of euthanasia are required.

K. Special Considerations

Paralytic Agents

Muscle relaxants and paralytic are not anesthetics and cannot be used alone for surgical restraint.

It is recognized, however, that their use for certain applications has merit, and they may be used in conjunction with other drugs which produce adequate anesthesia. A veterinarian should be consulted for appropriate drug combinations.

Prolonged Physical Restraint

Short-term physical restraint is a useful appropriate means to minimize animal pain while conducting selection research procedures. However, prolonged physical restraint may be stressful to the animal and should be avoided unless essential to the research objectives. All physical restraint must be specifically justified in the protocol for consideration and approval by the Animal Care and Use Committee. Convenience alone is not adequate justification for the use of prolonged physical restraint.

When prolonged physical restraint is required, animals should be conditioned to the equipment by gradually increasing times of restraining. The period of restraint must be limited to the minimum required to accomplish the research objectives. For comfort and safety of the animal, certain kinds of restraint equipment require that the animals be attended throughout the period of restraint. For each situation, a determination will be made as to the intensity of the attention required.

Animal Care and Use Committees

Announced programmatic reviews by the IACUC are conducted twice annually, using as its criteria the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and the previously mentioned USDA standards.

The IACUC review will include the following:

  • Evidence that an IACUC Approved Animal Protocol is being followed;
  • All animals are maintained in accordance with approved protocol;
  • Animal room shelves, ledges and any other dust collectors, must be kept clean; proper ventilation is mandatory; no chipping or peeling paint; no hazards stored in animal rooms; all animal and their respective cages are properly identified; rooms are sealed to prevent animal escape;
  • No human food allowed in animal rooms;
  • Instruments and implants used for survival surgeries are being correctly sterilized (e.g. steam autoclave, glass beading sterilizer, approved chemical sterilant);
  • Appropriate anesthesia and euthanasia techniques are being utilized;
  • Controlled drugs are adequately secured and a drug use log is being maintained;
  • Volatile anesthetics are being vented or scavenged adequately;
  • Animal carcasses are being disposed of properly;
  • All lab personnel handling animals are appropriately trained and have attended the University's basic laboratory animal training course;
  • The lab must provide a list of staff who with animals.

Reviewer Reports

The USDA, and the animal care committee, forward their respective reports directly to the appropriate administrative officials of the university, with information copies to the animal facility director.

L. Laboratory Animal Personnel Health Program

Tetanus Shots

All tetanus shots for students may be received at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Student Health Center (SHC). Preventative shots (shots given prior to any bite or puncture) will be charged to each patient. This cost must be paid by individual grants or through the department animal care budget, whichever is appropriate.

All tetanus boosters given because of a bite or puncture will be paid through Worker's Compensation. To qualify for Worker's Compensation benefits, the injury must be reported to the Risk Management Officer within 48 hours of occurrence. Cost of tetanus shots for the department giving the class will pay for students who are bitten or injured during class work. All costs paid for by department or research grants can be issued with an interdepartmental invoice (IN). An IN should be sent along with the patient. The patient should check in and register at the SHC prior to receiving care.

Reporting Bites and Injuries

All bites and injuries occurring in research animal facilities must be reported to the Animal Care Facility Manager within 24 hours. Managers must record the victim's name, date, species involved, and colony room number. Bites and injuries must be reported to the Risk Management Officer (719-255-3525) and an Incident Report form must be filled out within 48 hours of occurrence. This must be done for any Workers' Compensation claim to be valid. Claimants should not pay any charges billed on a Workers' Compensation claim. All charges incurred will be reviewed and processed through the Risk Management Office. Enrolled students may go to the University Student Health Center Business Office. Enrolled students who are patients requiring urgent care treatment may need to be treated before check-in and registration. People with injuries requiring emergency treatment should be taken to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital.