Reminders and Guidelines for Maintaining Animal Health Records

July 10, 2018

Blue animal health record iconMaintaining accurate, up-to-date records for all animals under your care is critical to animal health. Incomplete and/or incorrect records of any kind (e.g., surgical/anesthetic/sedation, post-operative, health records, etc.) could result in unnecessary treatment or diagnoses, both serious animal welfare concerns, and lead to the collection of invalid research data.

Please take a moment to review the following guidelines for record maintenance
with your staff:

1. Variable data must be recorded in real-time as each observation is made. This includes:

  • Date(s) of clinical observation(s) and/or monitoring
  • Observation or monitoring entries (animal appearance, pain assessment, incision condition, tumor size, etc.)
  • Treatment information (e.g., drug, dose, route, time given, etc.)
  • Initials of each individual completing record entries
  • Writing out the full name of all drugs used for anesthesia, analgesia, and research in the corresponding pre, intra, and post-operative records
    (e.g. Buprenorphine not "bup," ketamine not "ket"). Include administered dose and route of administration

2. Clearly identify which animals are described by each entry

3. Write legibly

4. Only the following static information may be pre-filled on a record:

  • Lab name
  • Protocol number(s)
  • Cage number(s)
  • Animal ID number(s)

Detailed instructions on how to generate, maintain, and store animal records, including additional guidelines for specific record types (tumor monitoring, food and/or water restriction, post-operative, and more) can be found in the Guidelines on Medical Records for Investigative Personnel. For your convenience, a variety of recommended record and form templates are also available to download and print for use in your lab.

If you have questions or concerns about how to properly complete animal health records, please consult with your ULAM Faculty Veterinarian. Accurate and appropriately completed health records are one of the most important tools we have for ensuring the best possible care for our animals, and for the integrity of our research data.