As operations continue to evolve amid new and ongoing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM) has been faced with staffing shortages that require an adjustment to existing ULAM husbandry practices in order to ensure continued quality animal care and maximize staff efficiency.
We are confident that these modifications will allow us to uphold the same high standards of animal welfare, including the essential functions of monitoring animal health and maintaining optimal environmental conditions.
The following specific tasks will be modified beginning on Monday, May 23, 2022, and continuing until further notice:
- Ventilated rack change-outs, regardless of location, will be delayed to one year from the start of use
- Dip boxes and forceps will be changed biweekly (or more frequently on an as-needed basis)
- Change-out frequency for rodent feeders and singly-housed mouse cages will be extended from biweekly to monthly (or more frequently on an as-needed basis)
- Rat MI tops will be changed once per month (or more frequently on an as-needed basis)
- Water bottles will be changed biweekly (or more frequently on an as-needed basis)
- Sweeping, mopping, dusting, and polishing activities will only be performed as-needed
- Rodent enrichment items will be rotated at least once per month. The frequency of enrichment item rotation for USDA-covered species will NOT be impacted by these changes
- Empty rooms will only be checked weekly
While we expect that these changes will have little to no impact on animal welfare or ongoing projects, we feel it is imperative to share this information with you in the interest of full transparency.
Should you have any questions or concerns about how these modifications may affect any of your ongoing studies or day-to-day operations, please contact the ULAM Husbandry Management Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our team is available to provide ongoing support for your research and the animals entrusted to our care. As always, our top priority is, and always will be, ensuring that the highest animal welfare standards are maintained at all times and in all circumstances.