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  Animal Care Program: General background and reference material

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The principles for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals issued by the Public Health Service provides philosophical the basis for the policy. This policy provides the basis of the operational guidelines for the Miami University IACUC.

Miami's policies on animal use also adhere to the federal requirements of the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq.), the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals, and the National Research Council’s Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

The USDA and the National Institutes of Health’s Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) administer the federal regulations. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service enforces the Animal Welfare Act primarily by inspecting animal care and use facilities and reviewing protocols. OLAW enforces the Public Health Service Policy primarily by requiring institutions to adhere to “assurance” documents. Miami University’s assurance identifies the University’s responsibilities and explains what the University does to meet the federal regulations for animal care and use. The IACUC ensures that the assurance is upheld.

Visit the following links for more information on:

Miami University Policies on Animal Use 

Ordering Animals

To ensure the availability of quarantine and animal housing space, please contact the Director of the Miami University Laboratory Animal Resources, before placing an order for research animals.

Food, Beverages, or Smoking in Animal Rooms is not permitted.

Investigators are not permitted to smoke or take food or drinks into the animal facilities.

Identification of Lab Animals

All research animals should have a permanent form of identification. Acceptable ID is cage cards, tattooing, indelible marker, ear or toe punching, collars or tags. Cage cards should contain the investigators name, vendor name, strain of animal, date of birth or weight, sex of the animal, and approved protocol number. Permanent identification, in addition to a cage card is desirable when data on individual animals is critical.

Quarantine Time

Quarantine time on incoming animals is determined at the time of receipt. Animals will be held in a designated quarantine room to be observed for signs of illness. All incoming animals should be allowed to stabilize after their arrival. If quarantined animals show no signs of disease or injury after the initial stabilization period they may begin experimental procedures during their quarantine period. Quarantined animals may be taken to labs or classrooms provided other research animals do not come into contact with them. It is possible that an animal order would be delayed because quarantine space is not available. Please contact the director of the facility before arranging to obtain animals (note: only the director of the facility can purchase animals from a sommercial vendor).


A variety of vendors supply lab animals to the University. Animals from different vendors generally are not maintained in the same animal room to prevent the possible spread of disease. Animal orders will be checked to ensure the compatibility of the order with existing colonies in the facility.

Equipment in Animal Rooms

Federal regulations require that equipment found in animal rooms have smooth impervious surfaces that will not attract or retain dirt. Wood, galvanized metal, or other services which will corrode are not appropriate for animal rooms since they cannot be properly sanitized. If equipment such as balances or microscopes must be kept in animals rooms it should be placed on a stainless steel cart so that animal aides can easily move it to clean floors and walls.

Procedures Performed in Animal Rooms

Animals should be housed in an environment which minimizes stress and exposure to agents which might add to experimental variables. Procedures which cause pain or distress to a research animal will disturb the entire room of animals, and therefore, should be conducted in an area other than the animal housing rooms. Any work done with volatile agents should be performed under appropriate hoods rather than in the animal room.

Insect and Pest Control

Animal facility personnel try to control insects and pests with proper sanitation and waste control. Please do not bring cardboard boxes, equipment, or waste which might harbor insects or vermin into the animal facilities. This is particularly important in items used for field work

Grain Products Used for Animal Feed

Grain products harbor a variety of insects which can contaminate animal feeds. Any grain products which are used or stored in the animal facility should be routinely decontaminated. No grain product should be taken into the animal rooms without first checking with the Animal Facility Supervisor for decontamination procedures.

Wild Animals

The USDA regulates the housing and care of all wild mammals. These animals must be kept in accordance with federal regulations and are subject to inspection on a routine basis. Because of the risk of infection to laboratory animals, wild species cannot be housed in the Pearson Hall Animal Facility. Provisions should be made to maintain these animals at the ERC, in environmental chambers or other isolated areas. Please notify the Supervisor of Animal Facilities of your intent to house wild species so that appropriate housing can be found.

Staff time

Request for animal facility staff time to assist with research projects should be made through Linda Zehler, Director, Miami University Laboratory Animal Resources.


The University Animal Facilities must comply with federal regulations and maintain uniformity in its animal caging. If an investigator needs caging or wishes to purchase caging with research funds please check with the facility director before doing so. This will ensure that the caging is needed, will meet current federal guidelines, and is consistent with the existing inventory. All caging in Miami Facilities shall be considered part of a departmental cage inventory and will be maintained and stored accordingly. Caging obtained from grants or other funds from individual investigators will be maintained as regular inventory, according to the specific cleaning protocols for each species.

Grants Involving Animal research

The University has limited animal housing space available. With the large number of grants being submitted to funding agencies, it is difficult to predict the numbers of animals or species that will require housing from year to year. It is possible that space or appropriate caging may not be immediately available when projects are funded. Every effort will be made to anticipate and minimize delays.


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    or email Neal Sullivan at or Jennifer Sutton at

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