This Policy delineates the responsibilities and obligations of the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine (DLAM) and Investigators concerning sick or injured animals.
All principal investigators are required to report instances of sick or injured animals, including instances of post-operative complications, to a DLAM veterinarian or animal health technician immediately. This applies to animals housed in investigator maintained study areas, as well as DLAM facilities. It is not necessary to report instances of sick or injured animals if they have been euthanized according to the criteria for premature euthanasia listed in the associated Animal Research Committee (ARC)-approved protocol. Investigators may not initiate treatment of a sick or injured animal unless the treatment has been specifically described for an expected complication in an approved protocol or has been authorized by DLAM veterinary staff.
Upon finding a sick or injured animal, DLAM staff will mark the cage by placing a notification tag or post-it note next to the cage card and notifying the investigator's lab as soon as feasible thereafter. Depending on the urgency of the situation, this notification will be made via email or telephone and will contain a summary description of the animal's condition as well as a recommendation for either treatment or euthanasia.
Please be aware that at any time, at the discretion of the veterinarian, DLAM may euthanize an animal found to be moribund or in severe pain or distress. In such cases, DLAM will make a reasonable effort to contact the research lab prior to euthanasia.
Upon the Principal Investigator (PI) receiving notification of a sick or injured animal, one of the following actions will take place:
- The PI's lab will start treatment prescribed by the veterinarian within the time frame stated in the notification, and record, date and initial the Treatment Card, or
- The PI's lab will euthanize the animal within the time frame stated in the notification, or
- The PI's lab will contact the attending veterinarian within the time frame stated in the notification to agree upon an acceptable course of action, or
- At the discretion of the veterinarian, DLAM may euthanize the affected animal after the time frame stated in the notification and a euthanasia fee will be assessed.
The PI's lab is responsible for carrying out all treatments as prescribed by the veterinarian unless alternate arrangements for administration of treatment are made with DLAM. Animals not treated as prescribed may be euthanized at the discretion of the veterinarian.
The ARC recognizes the importance of these animals to your research as well as our collective obligation to provide them with the best care possible. For humane and legal reasons, all animals must be treated or euthanized once a clinical problem requiring treatment has been reported.
 DLAM will call the contact person designated on the cage card at the telephone number listed on the cage card.
Approved 6/9/03; Revised 6/13/05, 9/11/06, 1/12/09, 9/12/11, 8/8/16