Disease prevention is an essential component of comprehensive veterinary medical care. Effective preventive medicine programs enhance the research value of animals by maintaining healthy animals and minimizing non-protocol sources of variation associated with disease and subclinical infections. Any unexpected deaths, signs of illness, distress, or other deviations from normal should be promptly reported to the Center for Computational Research veterinary staff to ensure appropriate and timely delivery of veterinary medical care.
Health surveillance, another component of the preventive medicine program, is designed to address colony health vs. individual animal health concerns. Aspects of this program include physical examinations and quarterly tuberculin skin testing of nonhuman primates; and placement of viral antibody free “sentinel” rodents in rodent colony rooms for quarterly serologic assessment.
Subclinical infections in rodents can be particularly problematic in the research environment. Many of these infectious agents may produce subclinical conditions and modify immunologic, physiologic, pharmacologic, or toxicologic responses. When determining the course of action to address positive rodent serologic assessments the veterinary staff and investigator will evaluate the scientific objectives of a study, animal strain susceptibility to the infectious agent, and risk of infection to other UMMC colony animals.
Necropsy information gathered as part of the rodent sentinel program and included with the euthanasia of all nonhuman primates is also an invaluable component of animal health monitoring. Results of these programs will be discussed with investigators as necessary to develop appropriate strategies for addressing animal health concerns.
Procedures used for quarantine, acclimation, and conditioning are specialized aspects of the CCR health-monitoring program. All newly received laboratory animals experience variable degrees of stress from transportation, a new environment, new feed, etc. To allow the animals an opportunity to stabilize and acclimate, the CCR recommends the following conditioning periods.