Animal procedures are reviewed by the Animal Research Committee (ARC) to ensure that proposed anesthetics and analgesics are appropriate for the species and research objectives. DLAM veterinary staff is available to provide assistance with, or training in, the proper administration and use of anesthetics. Guidance regarding the choice of approved anesthetics and analgesics may also be obtained from DLAM veterinarians. Other drugs may also be approved in consultation with the veterinary staff. Muscle relaxants and paralytics are not anesthetics and cannot be used alone for surgical restraint; they can be used only in conjunction with other drugs which produce adequate anesthesia. ARC policy also requires the use of post-operative analgesia for at least 48 hours following the conduct of any major operative procedure, and at least 24 hours following any minor operative procedure.
Campus policy requires written documentation of all survival surgical procedures on animals, and the types and amounts of anesthetic, analgesic or tranquilizing drugs used. This documentation should be maintained in or near the animal procedure area, and is subject to inspection by USDA veterinary inspectors, AAALAC site visitors, and the ARC during its semiannual inspections of animal facilities and animal procedure areas.
The ILAR Guide emphasizes that the proper use of anesthetics and analgesics in research animals is an ethical and scientific imperative.