Use of an Animal on Multiple Research Protocols


This Policy describes standards for considerations of the sharing of animals between protocols.

The sharing of animals between research protocols is a method to reduce the number of animal used in research in general. However, if the research protocols contain procedures with more than momentary pain or distress, a thorough evaluation of such sharing must be made to determine the impact on the animal's well-being. This is especially true when there are surgical procedures on the research protocols.

The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (the Guide, NRC 2011) states: "Regardless of classification, multiple surgical procedures on a single animal should be evaluated to determine their impact on the animal's wellbeing. Multiple major surgical procedures on a single animal are acceptable only if they are (1) included in and essential components of a single research project or protocol, (2) scientifically justified by the investigator, or (3) necessary for clinical reasons." (p. 30)

If the species being shared is covered by the Animal Welfare Act and the protocols involve survival surgery, additional steps must be taken to secure approval. According to the Guide, "When applicable, the IO must submit a request to the USDA/APHIS and receive approval in order to allow a regulated animal to undergo multiple major survival surgical procedures in separate unrelated research protocols (USDA 1985, 1997a)." (p. 30)

IACUC Policy

To transfer animals to another PI or protocol:


1.  The IACUC must be notified within 24 hours of a transfer by completing and submitting the Campus Animal Transfer and Transport Form to At the time of transfer:

a.  Animals must be naïve (i.e. no previous experimental manipulations performed), if being donated to a protocol for the purposes of practicing an IACUC-approved procedure.

b.  The species and strain must be approved on the recipient PI's protocol, if being transferred for experimental purposes.

c.  The recipient PI must update the animal cage cards to reflect the new protocol number.


2.  The IACUC must be contacted in advance of the transfer in the following cases, as an amendment process may be required:

a.  Species or strain of animal is not listed on the recipient protocol.

b.  Inadequate number of animals is listed on source or recipient protocol.

c.  Multiple survival surgeries will be performed (between source and recipient protocol).

d.  Multiple procedures will be performed on the same animal that could cause pain/distress (between source and recipient protocol).

e.  The transfer involves a USDA-covered species.


3. To request that DLAR transport animals to another building on campus, follow the instructions for transportation in the Campus Animal Transfer and Transport Form.  DLAR must be notified 2 business days in advance of the transportation request.


Approved: December 2012

Revised: 10/2019

Reviewed: 10/2017