Staff

The task and services performed by the animal care staff is an extremely important part of the research effort. The animal care staff’ has direct impact on the experimental data.

With specific training and/or many years of experience in the care of laboratory animals they provide routine husbandry and care for animals. CARE office is responsible for the purchased of animals use in the institution and coordination of all activities in order to comply with regulations.

Animal Husbandry

Caging

The CARE is responsible for selecting appropriate cages for laboratory animals, to ensure that housing conforms to NIH Guide standards and Animal Welfare Act requirements while meeting research needs.

Investigators who require special housing should contact CARE to discuss their needs.

Exceptions to Guide standards must be justified on the basis of experimental or species requirements and receive prior approval from the CARE and the IACUC.

Researchers are encouraged to contact the appropriate CARE office, 718-920-4241 for more information.

Food

The CARE is responsible for providing to animals palatable, non-contaminated, and nutritionally adequate food daily or according to their particular requirements unless the protocol in which they are being used requires otherwise.

Standardized commercial diets are laboratory for most laboratory species. CARE can assist with selection of specialized diets and provide information on their availability.

If it is necessary to add any substance (e.g.; antibiotic or acidifier) to the drinking water of any animal as part of an experiment, the CARE facility Operations Manager must be notified in writing as to the type of substance, the onset of administration, and duration that the substance will be administered.

The use of any substance must also be described in the protocol form and approved by the (IACUC) prior to the onset of the experimental study.

Water

Animals must have access to potable, uncontaminated drinking water according to their particular requirements. Periodic monitoring for pH, hardness, and microbial or chemical contamination might be necessary to ensure that water quality is acceptable, particularly for use in studies in which normal components of water in a given locality can influence the results obtained.

Watering devices, such as drinking tubes and automatic waterers, should be checked daily to ensure their proper maintenance, cleanliness, and operation. Animals sometimes have to be trained to use automatic watering devices.

It is better to replace water bottles than to refill them, because of the potential for microbiologic cross-contamination; however, if bottles are refilled, care should be taken to replace each bottle on the cage from which it was removed.

Bedding Change

Animal bedding is a controllable environmental factor that can influence experimental data and animal well-being. Soiled bedding should be removed and replaced with fresh materials as often as necessary to keep the animals clean and dry.

Mondays and Thursdays are the dates scheduled for changing soiled bedding for rodents, and daily for other species.

All bedding transported and stored off the floor on pallets, racks, or carts in a fashion consistent with maintenance of quality and minimization of contamination.

Sanitation

The facility has established schedules for frequency of cleaning animal rooms, and for cleaning and changing cages.

Standard operating procedures pertaining to sanitation are followed by CARE animal care personnel to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Cage sanitation schedules can be altered to accommodate special research needs.

Only approved agents listed in the SOP’s is allowed in the sanitation

Animals should be kept dry during such processes.

Vermin Control

The presence of pests in animal colonies can result in contamination of feed and bedding, and the introduction of disease.

Contact the Facility Operations Supervisor at 718-920-4241 for additional information.

Laboratory Animal Macro Environment

Temperature

Environmental factors such as temperature must be carefully monitored because they affect metabolism and behavior. The CARE department is responsible for maintaining and monitoring appropriate temperatures in the animal facilities.

Ventilation

The facility fresh-air changes have been set in the standard range of 10-15 per hour.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in animal facilities require constant monitoring to assure proper ventilation and appropriate temperature levels.

CARE personnel work with appropriate engineering department to ensure that environmental control systems in animal facilities are functioning properly.

Any deviation from appropriate levels should be reported immediately to 718-920-4433. Facility problems encountered after working hours (7:00am – 3:30pm) should be reported to 718-920-4433 and followed the emergency procedures.

Illumination

The standard light cycle in animal housing areas is 6:00am – 6:00pm. CARE is responsible for establishing and maintaining light cycles in animal housing areas. Regular diurnal light cycles are provided by time-controlled lightning systems in most facilities.

Special research needs which require departures from normal light cycles can be arranged through consultation with the CARE office.

Noise

Noise produced by animals and animal-care activities is inherent is the operation of an animal facility.

Separation of human and animal areas minimizes disturbances to both the human and animal occupants of the facility.

Noisy animals should be housed away from quieter animals, such as rodents and rabbits.

Assessment of the potential effects of noise on an animal warrants consideration of the intensity, frequency, rapidity of onset, duration, and vibration potential of the sound and the hearing range, noise-exposure history, and sound-effect susceptibility of the species, stock or strain.

Noise control is an important consideration in an animal facility because changes in patterns of sound exposure have different effects on different animals. Personnel should try to minimize the production of unnecessary noise. Excessive and intermittent noise can be minimized by training personnel in alternatives to practices that produce noise and by the use of cushioned casters and bumpers on carts, trucks, and racks. Radios, alarms, and other sound generators should not be used in animal rooms unless they are part of an approved protocol or an enrichment program.

All the personnel at CARE is responsible to ensure that housing and space for animals meet the requirements. An animals space needs are complex and depending of many factors.

Storage Areas

Adequate space should be provided for storage of equipment, supplies, food, bedding, and refuse. Corridors used for passage of personnel or equipment are not appropriate storage areas.

Storage space can be minimized when delivery is reliable and frequent.

Refuse-storage areas should be separated from other storage area (see (chapter 2).

Refrigerated storage, separated from other cold storage, is essential for storage of dead animals and animal-tissue waste; this storage area should be kept below 7° (44.5°F) to reduce putrefaction of wastes and animal carcasses.

Emergency, Weekend, and Holiday Care

Animals should be cared for by qualified personnel every day, including weekends and holidays, both to safeguard their well-being and to satisfy research requirements.

Emergency veterinary care is available at CARE after work hours, on weekends, and on holidays. See contact Link.

In the event of an emergency, institutional security personnel and fire or police officials should be able to reach people responsible for the animals.

A disaster plan or Emergency procedure for handling special facilities or operations are prominently posted in the main corridor, and a copy is available in the security department (Link)

Euthanasia is the act of killing animals by methods that induce rapid unconsciousness and death without pain or distress. Unless a deviation is justified for scientific or medical reasons, methods should be consistent with the Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia (AVMA later editions).

All methods of euthanasia implemented at CARE must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC. The selection of specific agents and methods for euthanasia will depend on the species involved and the objectives of the protocol. Euthanasia might be necessary at the end of a protocol or as a means to relieve pain or distress that cannot be alleviated by analgesics, sedatives, or other treatments.

It is essential that euthanasia be performed by personnel who are skilled in methods for the species in question and that it is performed in a professional and compassionate manner. Delegating euthanasia responsibilities for untrained employees or students is never an option.

Death should be confirmed by personnel who can recognize cessation of vital signs in the species being euthanized and follow the method approved in your protocol by the IACUC.

Euthanasia should not be performed in present of other animals or personnel that have become emotionally attached to the animals being euthanized. Euthanizing animals is psychologically difficult for some animal-care, veterinary, and research personnel involved repetitively in performing euthanasia.

In most cases animals are euthanized at the end of their studies. If animals are not euthanized, the final disposition must be indicated in the Animal Use Form.

Euthanasia must be performed only using methods approved by the IACUC in the ACUF. Euthanasia requested through CARE’s Business Office is performed according to CARE’s schedule.

Use of the C02 chamber for euthanasia of rodents is a service provided through CARE. Request should be submitted in advance.

Investigators should be familiar with the use of these chambers.

Animal Laboratory Waste

Animal carcasses and waste disposal in our institution is performed with a licensed commercial waste-disposal firm (Health Care Waste).

Refrigerators located at Central 5 are monitored and maintained by CARE staff personnel and are only allowed for deposit of animal carcasses. No food, drugs, supplies, or materials other than animal carcasses or tissues should be placed in these refrigerators.

Objects that are considered to be sharps (e.g.; scalpels, blades, hypodermic needles with/without attached syringes, etc.) should be placed in rigid red sharps containers for disposal RED CONTAINER PHOTO

Soiled animal bedding bags or drums with carcasses should be limited to 50 pounds to prevent back or shoulder injury to the staff and to avoid the bags to break during subsequent handling.

Waste containers should be leak proof, equipped with tight-fitting lids and properly labeled.

Animal care staff is responsible for transporting soiled bedding, carcasses and red containers in an approved cart to the waste area

Any animal death is recorded on the ID cage card.

If staff finds a dead animal, notify the investigator, and dispose if not claimed by the investigator.

Also note that the death of any animal must be reported to the CARE office for record keeping purposes.

Animals that have died or are euthanized must be disposed of by placing the carcass in a sealed plastic bag or glove and then placed in the red bag. The bag will be marked or tagged with pertinent information and placed in the cooler.

Radioactive and/or biohazardous animal wastes and bedding must be disposed of according to the established policy and procedures of the safety department and approved in the ACUF.

Radioactive wastes should be maintained in properly labeled containers.

Under no circumstances should this waste be disposed as regular garbage.