Notice!

Confluence will be unavailable from Friday, June 2 at 11:30 PM EST to Sunday, June 4 at 11:30 PM EST for a major upgrade.

Animal Care Identification and Communication Procedures

Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Last Updated 1 April 2015

  1. Purpose

    To describe the communication method used to identify animal care procedures or veterinary medical issues.

  2. Responsibility

    1. Husbandry personnel, ULAM Veterinary personnel, Investigative personnel, ULAM Bar-Code personnel, IACUC personnel
  3. Definitions

    1. Acetate: A colored, plastic card placed over animal cage cards that aid in communication between husbandry, ULAM veterinary and Investigative personnel. Acetate colors correspond to a specific animal care procedure and could be red, green, clear, yellow or blue. In certain settings, such as aquatic or outdoor housing areas, acetates may not be easily utilized. In those cases animal identification procedures should be agreed upon by veterinary and laboratory staff as needed and communications will be documented in relevant medical records
    2. Acetate Label: A sticker or white piece of tape placed on the acetate describing information regarding animals within that cage.
    3. Animal Treatment Report (ATR): A form completed by animal husbandry personnel or investigative personnel requesting veterinary personnel examine the animal. Instructions for completing ATRs are located in Appendix A.
    4. Clinical Number: A number assigned to an animals cage by the veterinary personnel after animal has been treated for a health problem. If animal is considered a USDA species, clinical numbers are assigned upon arrival in most cases.
    5. Food Chewer: Mice who consistently chew or shred chow; this behavior causes the bottom of the cage floor to be filled with excessive amounts of food dust and/or chunks.
    6. Noted Observation (NO): Conditions that do not initially require the generation of an ATR and require husbandry personnel to place a dated, clear acetate over the cage card describing the condition noted.
    7. Outer Buildings: Buildings that are outside of Medical Campus and North Campus Research Complex such as: Pharmacy Building, East Hall, Undergraduate Science Building, Chemistry Building, School of Public Health Building, Kraus Building, Natural Science Building.
    8. Severely Compromised Immunodeficient (SCID): Animals that are deficient in B and T lymphocytes.
    9. Specific Pathogen Free (SPF): Animals that are free from certain pathogens and are housed in cages with micro-isolator tops.
    10. Special Treatment or Procedure (SToP) form: A form that indicates special procedure differing from standard operating procedure (SOP). These are typically placed on the inside of the animal room door. See Request for Special Treatment or Procedure (STOP) Form and Form Completion Instructions for more information.
    11. Veterinary Personnel: All ULAM veterinary technicians, veterinary residents, and faculty veterinarians.
  4. Procedures

    1. Required Room Signage
      1. All animal rooms should have signs that contain the following information
        1. How to obtain veterinary care
        2. Required PPE
          1. PPE should be available in or near animal rooms
          2. PPE must meet or exceed UM EHS requirements for work with animals
        3. Animal Health Status where applicable (e.g conventional, SPF, contaminated with a known pathogen)
    2. Identifying Animals with Illness/Abnormalities
      1. Place a red acetate when abnormalities or illnesses are observed and an ATR has been generated. Veterinary technicians have 24 hours to respond to an ATR.
      2. Number and/or letter and date each red acetate. Write that same number and/or letter and date on the submitted ATR.
      3. Place red acetate on each cage horizontally and report each cage on separate ATRs unless the following conditions occur; then multiple cage reporting procedures must be followed:
        1. Conditions that result from a rack malfunction (e.g. rows of cages where lixits did not work and animals now present as being dehydrated, rows of flooded cages). Make a notation in comment section of animal room log such as "Rack Malfunction".
        2. Animals that need to be checked by a veterinary technician because:
          1. A red acetate has been horizontal past 24 hrs from the date on the acetate.
          2. A green acetate has gone past 14 days since its last recheck as described in section 4.e.ii below.
          3. ATRs resulting from not documenting tumor monitoring correctly or tumor monitoring not being completed correctly for animal(s).
            1. Record "Tumor monitoring ATR" in comments section of animal room log.
      4. After receipt of the ATR, veterinary personnel performs the following:
        1. Remove it if no further treatment is needed.
        2. Assign a clinical number to the cage.
        3. Replace it with a labeled green acetate indicating the condition being treated/monitored and the date of each observation or treatment.
        4. Replace it with a labeled clear acetate indicating that the condition does not need treatment or monitoring unless condition worsens.
        5. Rotate the red acetate vertically to indicate that the investigator is being contacted.
      5. Husbandry personnel submits another ATR if:
        1. Animal condition worsens while red acetate is vertical
        2. The red acetate is horizontal for more than 24 hours.
        3. The red acetate is vertical 5 days past the date on the acetate.
          1. Check the box for "Overdue Green/Red" and circle "red" on the ATR.
          2. Applies to ATRs reported on multiple or single cage(s).
          3. Use the same red acetate number.
          4. Place the vertical red acetate in the horizontal position in front of the cage card and change the date to reflect the date on the ATR.
    3. Submitting ATRs
      1. Procedures for submitting non-emergency ATRs on a weekday (see Appendix B and C for description of reporting times and phone numbers):
        1. Husbandry personnel places the completed ATR in the designated drop box for the area.
          1. See Appendix A for instructions on completing ATRs.
        2. Contact the area veterinary technician for any ATR submitted by personnel in outer buildings.
        3. Call the main veterinary technician office for ATRs generated after 2:20 PM. Leave a message, describing the ATR location, building, room number and nature of the condition.
      2. Procedures for submitting non-emergency ATRs on a weekend (see Appendix B and C for description of reporting times and phone numbers):
        1. Complete procedures as described in Appendix A.
        2. Call the main veterinary technician office. Leave a message prior to leaving the area, describing the ATR location, building, room number and nature of the condition.
      3. Procedures for submitting emergency ATRs on a weekday before 2:20 PM (see Appendix B and C for description of reporting times and phone numbers):
        1. Complete procedures as described in Appendix A.
        2. Call the area veterinary technician office, leave a message for the area veterinary technician during normal working hours (M-F 6:00 AM-2:20 PM). Messages must include the location of the ATR, building, room number and nature of the emergency.
        3. Between 2:20 PM and 5:00 PM call the main veterinary technician office. Leave a message for the veterinary technicians. Messages must include the location of the ATR, building, room number and nature of the emergency.
        4. After normal working hours, call Public Safety and request the on-call veterinarian.
      4. Procedures for submitting emergency ATRs on a weekend between 6:00 AM and 4:00 PM (see Appendix B and C for description of reporting times and phone numbers):
        1. Complete the procedures as described in Appendix A.
        2. Call the main veterinary technician office. Leave a message, describing the ATR location, building, room number and nature of the emergency.
        3. After 4:00 PM, call Public Safety and request the on-call veterinarian.
    4. Assessment of Animals by Veterinary Personnel
      1. Assessment of animals is performed by veterinary personnel.
      2. Assign a clinical number, the date(s) and any notes regarding the treatment and/or condition of the animal(s) on the ATR and the color acetate.
    5. Communicating Veterinary Care
      1. Veterinary personnel place a labeled green acetate on the cage when treating or monitoring an animal. Veterinary personnel list the following information on the labeled green acetate:
        1. Clinical number on the acetate
        2. Condition being treated
        3. Date when the treatment or observation begins
        4. Date of each subsequent treatment
      2. Veterinary personnel are required to treat or monitor a condition at least once every 14 days from the time the green acetate was placed, depending on the severity of the condition.
        1. Monitoring frequency is determined at the time of initial evaluation and recorded on the ATR. Scheduled re-checks are noted on the ATR and on the labeled acetate (by writing the date) as they are completed by the veterinary technician.
        2. Husbandry staff must submit an ATR if a re-check has not occurred within 14 days from the last date noted on the green acetate.
        3. If entire room or more than one cage have an overdue acetate, write one ATR stating "multiple cages overdue or Overdue Green/Red" and circle "green" on the ATR.
        4. Generate an ATR and place a red acetate if the following occurs while a green acetate is on the cage:
          1. Animals' condition worsened
          2. New or different health condition
      3. Green acetates remain on all active cages until removed by veterinary personnel.
      4. Laboratory personnel can remove green acetates if a cage or the animal is permanently removed and not returning to the animal room (e.g. euthanasia).
      5. Some circumstances dictate additional forms of communication (e.g. phone, email, in-person) with investigative personnel by the veterinary personnel. These may include:
        1. Requests for acute animal use and euthanasia.
        2. Request for laboratory approval to treat.
        3. Management of chronic (e.g. malocclusion) or emergency (e.g. dystocia) conditions.
        4. Changes in treatment plan based on changes in the clinical condition scoring.
      6. Consider including the principal investigator (PI) on email correspondence when appropriate or requested.
      7. Veterinary personnel must include the PI on emails regarding:
        1. Repeated noncompliance concerns (e.g. multiple lapses in tumor monitoring or post-surgical monitoring).
        2. Colony health concerns (e.g. multiple cages of animals with ring tail, ear tag lesions, etc.).
        3. Treatments or interventions for which the PI is charged (e.g. those performed by veterinary personnel).
        4. Treatments or interventions that may confound research (any topical or systemic pharmacological treatment).
        5. Cases that escalate to management by a veterinarian (e.g. animals that require surgical or pharmacological intervention).
      8. Include the area veterinary resident and faculty veterinarians on correspondences:
        1. That include the PI (see above).
        2. Regarding cases currently managed by a veterinarian.
      9. Consider including the area veterinary resident and faculty veterinarians on other correspondence based on the circumstances.
    6. Identifying Animals with Abnormalities not Requiring Treatment
      1. A clear acetate indicates a condition that has been observed and does not pose a health concern for the animal, and no longer needs to be reported on an ATR.
        1. Husbandry personnel can place a dated clear acetate over the cage card describing the noted condition. These may include:
          1. Kinked/curled/crooked/twisted tail or missing tail that does not impair the overall health of the animal
        2. Husbandry personnel reports on an ATR any new health concern or if condition noted on the clear acetate becomes worse.
        3. Veterinary personnel may remove the clear acetate when appropriate. Laboratory personnel can remove clear acetates if a cage or animal is permanently removed and not returning to the animal room (e.g. euthanasia).
    7. Communicating Animal Care Procedures Varying from Standard Operating Procedures
      1. Husbandry personnel, veterinary personnel or investigative personnel can place a labeled yellow acetate to communicate any changes from standard operating procedures or special circumstances for the care of animals (see Appendix D for examples).
      2. Use a SToP form to assist in the communication of animal care practices requiring more detail or reference to a research protocol.
      3. Place a labeled yellow acetate on the door indicating if the entire room requires a procedure differing from the SOP or indicating a special procedure (i.e. animals are food chewers).
      4. Husbandry personnel, veterinary personnel or investigative personnel, removes the yellow acetate when appropriate.
    8. Communicating Animal Space Constraints
      1. Place a labeled blue acetate if a rodent cage is overcrowded and animals require separation or weaning.
    9. General Procedures for Communicating via the Color Acetate System
      1. Following the Rodent Husbandry SOP, identification and communication via ATRs and subsequent color acetates is necessary to report and treat abnormal or ill animals.
      2. Request color acetates from ULAM personnel (see section 3.a for more information regarding acetate colors).
      3. Place labeled color acetates horizontally in the cage card holder to communicate with husbandry, investigative or veterinary personnel about animal care for the animal(s) in the cage.
      4. Position multiple horizontal acetates in a way that all colors are visible.
      5. Note clinical numbers on the acetate (if clinical numbers are available for that animal(s)) If clinical numbers are not available, record nothing.
  5. Related Documents

    1. Request for Special Treatment or Procedure (STOP) Form and Form Completion Instructions
    2. Procedures for Large Animal Receiving
    3. Rodent Husbandry SOP
    4. Social Introduction of Laboratory Animal Species
    5. Small Animal Receiving
    6. Dog Husbandry SOP
    7. Obtaining Veterinary Care
  6. Appendices

    1. Appendix A: ATR Completion Information
      1. An ATR must contain the following information:
        1. Clinical #: Record the number assigned to animals, if available. The number contains the year and the number assigned to the animal (i.e. 11x12345).
        2. Contamination: Record all room contaminants.
        3. Principal Investigator: Record last name and first initial.
        4. Red Acetate #: Each red acetate must have a number (may be labeled or already marked with a marker) and the date when the ATR was generated.
        5. Cage Location (e.g. rack #)*:*Record the rack number, the side of rack and space where animal is located.
        6. Health or Laboratory Contact: Record the name of the health or laboratory contact; if not available, record N/A.
        7. Phone #: Record the laboratory contact phone number: if not available, record N/A.
        8. Protocol: Record the IACUC animal care and use protocol number.
        9. Species: Record the species description or the Latin abbreviation for the species.
        10. USDA #: Record the permanent identification of the animal (e.g. tattoo, animal name). USDA #s do not apply to mice, rats or birds.
        11. RM/BLDG: Record room number and building name.
        12. Reported by: Record the first name and last initial of personnel completing the ATR.
        13. Date: Record the day, month, and year.
        14. Initial Treatment: Circle any initial treatment given to animal including: water, diet gel, heating pad, located and removed aggressor.
        15. Observations: Record the condition of the animal or indicate the condition of the animal with a check mark in the appropriate box.

    2. Appendix B: Obtaining Veterinary Care
      Non-Emergency ATR Contact Information
      Weekday M-F 6:00 am-2:20 pm Area Veterinary Technician
      Weekday M-F after 2:20 pm Main Veterinary Technician office (93)6-1037
      Weekend/Holiday Main Veterinary Technician office (93)6-1037
      Emergency ATR Contact Information
      Weekday M-F 6:00 am-2:20 pm Area Veterinary Technician
      Weekday M-F 2:20 pm-5:00 pm Main Veterinary Technician office (93)6-1037
      Weekday after 5:00 pm Contact DPS 763-1131
      Weekend 6:00 am-4:30 pm Main Veterinary Technician office (93)6-1037
      Weekend after 4:30 pm Contact DPS 763-1131
      Holiday 6:00 am-2:00 pm Main Veterinary Technician office (93)6-1037
      Holiday after 2:00 pm Contact DPS 763-1131


    3. Appendix C: Building Phone Numbers
      Building Name Veterinary Technician
      Phone Number
      Medical Science (Med Sci) Buildings
      Medical Science Research Buildings (MSRB)
      Cancer Center
      Phone: (93)6-1037
      Dental Building
      Pharmacy Building
      Life Sciences Institute (LSI)
      LS&A Buildings
      Phone: (76)3-1376
      Biomedical Science Research Building (BSRB)
      Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute (MBNI)
      North Ingalls Building (NIB)
      School of Public Health (SPH)
      Phone: (61)5-2068
      North Campus Research Center (NCRC)
      Biomedical Engineering (BME)
      Phone: (76)3-3885
      Kellogg Eye Center
      Brehm Tower
      Phone: (76)4-8026


    4. Appendix D: Example of Communicating Special Procedures using Yellow Acetates
Enter labels to add to this page:
Please wait 
Looking for a label? Just start typing.