Center for Comparative Research

Main Content

General Animal Husbandry

The animal care programs are designed to provide for the health and well being of institutional research animals and comply with all requisite governmental regulations and policies.

Standard operating procedure (SOP)

A SOP is posted in each animal room that covers the species housed there. The SOP discusses cage sizes/densities, cage and room preparation, feeding, watering, and cage change/sanitization schedule followed by the CCR animal care technicians. These SOPs are provided to ensure consistency of care from room to room and caretaker to caretaker.

Customized animal husbandry procedures

Investigators are reminded that any special husbandry procedures must be documented in the Animal Activity Protocol form and approved by the IACUC. Requests for CCR assistance with these studies (feeding special diet, water restriction, cage cleaning at specific time) must be approved by the Facility Manager to ensure that the correct instructions are disseminated to all members of the animal care and veterinary staff and assure consistent animal care practices.

Clean caging

Clean caging is available in G073 and G012 of the Arthur C. Guyton Laboratory Research Complex and R821-3A of the David S. Pankratz Building. Animals must be housed in cages that are appropriate for the species. Investigators and their staff members are encouraged to consult with CCR animal care technicians with questions concerning the appropriate housing of animals.

Dirty/soiled caging

Investigators should return all "dirty/soiled" caging to G069 in the Arthur C. Guyton Laboratory Research Complex or R822 in the David S. Pankratz Building.

Cage cards

A completed cage card must be attached to each animal's primary enclosure. Required information includes the Principle Investigator's name and Department affiliation, the protocol number, species etc. Preprinted cage cards may be obtained from the CCR office by contacting Tammy Pruitt or Tammy Seaton (G0090). Blank cage cards to be completed by the investigator are also available on a peg-board next to G006 and on the cart next to G051-A in the Arthur C. Guyton Laboratory Research Complex and R808 in David S. Pankratz Building.

Basic CardExample of Completed Card

P.O. #:
Room #:
Protocol #:
Date in:
Date Out:


PI: Joe Scientist
Dept: Phy
Phone: 4-0000
P.O. #: 111111
Room #: R000
Protocol #: 111
Vendor: STP
Species: Rat
Strain: Wistar
Sex: Male
Weight: 200 grams
Date in: 1-1-2017
Date Out:


Special/unique animal housing requirements

Investigators must notify the Facility Manager or CCR office of any nonstandard caging and housing needs before the project begins. This advanced notice will allow the CCR to efficiently manage caging resources. The CCR Animal Order Form contains a section entitled; “Specific Instructions” where any special provisions should be indicated. Likewise, Question #12 of the Animal Activity Protocol refers to standard/nonstandard feeding, watering, and housing practices.

Special diets and watering

investigatorwillfeed.bmpInvestigators whose animals require special diets or water are responsible for posting instructions on the animal's cage and documenting when animal are feed/watered. Special instruction cards are used to alert the CCR technicians that the investigator will be feeding and/or watering the animals. The cards also provide a location to document. Cards are available on a pegboard next to G006 and on the cart next to G051-A in the Arthur C. Guyton Laboratory Research Complex and R808 in the David S. Pankratz Building.

Weekend and holiday animal care

Animal care and husbandry activities occur 365 days per year. Members of the CCR animal care staff rotate on a schedule for weekend/holiday animal care duties. Weekend animal care activities include all routine animal care responsibilities.

Animal housing room appearance

The Animal Welfare Act and the Guide highlight the importance of maintaining animal rooms in an organized, clean manner. Animal housing areas that double as procedural space must be regarded primarily as a housing room. These areas must receive the same sanitation measures afforded to conventional rooms (daily room care procedures, sanitation, and documentation of these activities).

Storage of supplies and equipment in animal rooms is not allowed and must be limited to those items necessary for the animal's primary care. Consult the CCR and the IACUC to verify the maintenance of these materials in animal rooms. Cage racks, equipment carts, etc. should be on casters to allow easy movement and sanitation procedures to proceed unobstructed.

Animal transportation

All animals being transported out of the CCR (e.g. to the investigator’s lab) must be completely covered with an opaque sheet or blanket and a microisolator top. This "covering" allows for the discrete transport of animals into public access areas and helps to the limit the public's exposure to allergens.

Environmental enhancement

The Animal Welfare Act requires that nonhuman primates receive varying forms of environmental enhancement. Likewise the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals discusses the importance of environmental enhancement for all species and offers specific examples. Forms of enhancement include both the structural and social environments. The CCR provides numerous forms of environmental enhancement and is continually evaluating new forms.

Appendix A of the Animal Activity Protocol Form specifically addresses environmental enrichment for nonhuman primates. The investigator is required to list types of enrichment provided as well as those that must be excluded with scientific justification for all proposals involving nonhuman primates.

All research animals should be group-housed unless there is a scientific reason for individual housing.

Social housing is considered the default form of housing. All efforts should be made to ensure that research animals are maintained in a compatible, social grouping. Single housing may occur for 1) scientific necessity; 2) social incompatibility; or 3) for veterinary medical reasons. All instances of single housing must be justified with the IACUC .