Husbandry Care for Service of Radiology Hazard Animals


This Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) provides detailed descriptions of procedures to be followed unless alternate procedures have been outlined in an IACUC Protocol Application.  If an investigator wishes to deviate from the approved SOP, all changes must be outlined and justified in the protocol application (approval of the protocol indicates approval of the deviation from the SOP for that project only).

IACUC Standard Operating Procedure

Scope: This document serves to establish the roles and responsibilities for animal care for animals that are housed in a designated radiologic hazard housing room (currently 0515 Elliman), and are considered radioactive hazards.  Note, this room could house both rats and mice concurrently if needs arise.  It is to be noted that this room also frequently harbors chemical hazards and biohazards, and as such, the appropriate PPE and handwashing should be done in accordance with established chemical safety and biosafety practices at the university. 

Normal Working Days:  Staff from the PI's lab will access the room on working days, and note on the room sheet the daily temperatures and perform an overall assessment of animal health.  Two to three times per week, individuals from DLAR will also perform a basic health check of the animals, by visualization through the cage.  Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) staff are not to open the cage to perform these evaluations.  If there are any concerns from DLAR side, coordinate opening cage for further examination/treatment with appropriate lab staff member. 

Weekends/holidays/closures:  Select DLAR staff members will be tasked with performing the daily health and room check.  These individuals may change as weekend shifts alternate amongst DLAR staff.   As DLAR weekend coverage rotates, these individuals may change quarterly.  If any animal health concerns are noted that would require the cage to be opened, the DLAR technician will contact a relevant lab member to coordinate opening of the cage.  For emergencies, see below.

Animal Health Emergency:  For urgent matters that need addressing within a few hours, DLAR is to contact the lab member listed on the cage card to coordinate a time to open the cage and observe the animal more closely.  If an animal is found moribund and death appears imminent, DLAR staff should contact veterinarian for approval, and (with appropriate rad hazard training completed) should open the cage and perform cervical dislocation.  Carcasses should be stored in the appropriate location (currently room 0123.1 Elliman).  The laboratory staff needs to be contacted promptly regarding the case.  Please note: This situation has the highest risk for potential radioactive contamination, and can only be performed by individuals who have received advanced training by the lab on how to properly perform this action. 

Animal Found Dead: DLAR will contact the responsible lab to handle the carcass.  If the lab is unable to arrive in a reasonable timeframe, DLAR will remove the animal and place in the appropriate carcass cooler. 

Excess cage storage:  When the amount of dirty, decaying caging becomes excessive within the room, the oldest cages should be moved to a different designated room (currently 0410 Elliman) for further decay.  When present, the room needs to have a radiation hazard sign, and the area for cage storage should be clearly demarcated. 

Other points:

  • The responsibility of weekly eyewash flushing and log will be designated (currently MICR core staff will manage the duty in 0515 Elliman)
  • All users must adhere with DLAR practices for hazard spaces, including the use of disposable gown, gloves and a NEW surgical mask.  This PPE is provided by the DLAR at the entrance to the room.  PPE must be discarded in the biohazard waste container within the room.  Note that room 0515 Elliman contains multiple hazards (biological, chemical, radiological).
    • Note: Entry into the room requires Basic Radiation Safety Training, Laboratory Specific Training, and Dosimetry.
    • Note: If a room check does not require opening of cages, the in-room handwashing requirement is waived.  Instead, hand sanitizer must be used before leaving the room, and hands subsequently washed at the nearest available handwashing sink.  If animals are handled, then hands must be washed in the room prior to departure. This is an exception from current DLAR practices and applies only to Elliman room 0515.
  • The biosafety cabinet in Elliman room 0515 requires monthly maintenance (checking/washing filter, other items).  DLAR staff will train designated individuals (currently MICR core members) how to properly perform these functions within that space.

Approved: January 2021