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Be in the Know Before You Go: Procedures for Safe Animal Transport

Facilities Husbandry Safety SOP ULAM

Handle with Care yellow and orange animal transportation procedures reminder icon with green health shield

Any individual who MAY be responsible for transporting animals on campus should be familiar with the Procedures for Animal Transportation.

This document includes detailed species-specific transport instructions, information about donning of Personal Protective Equipment, methods for avoiding exposure to potential pathogens, and techniques to minimize environmental stressors (e.g., temperature extremes, odors, excessive noise).

Whether moving animals from room to room, building to building, or through a public area, all methods of transport require a heightened attention to detail to safeguard animal health and welfare.

When transporting animals for ANY reason, remember to:

  • Avoid temperature extremes – below 40°F (4.4°C) or above 85°F (29.4°C)
  • Ensure that primary enclosures are:
    • Made of material(s) that can be sanitized or disinfected to prevent cross-contamination**
    • Secure for the animal being transported
    • Maintained in a manner that prevents them from tipping or falling, especially on uneven surfaces
    • Handled in a way that minimizes the potential for physical injury/distress
  • Conduct the transport in a timely manner
  • Follow as direct a route as possible
  • Use discretion (e.g., cages are covered, public areas are avoided if possible)

**Please note that separate procedures must be followed if you are transporting animals with experimental hazards. These procedures are summarized below and outlined in greater detail in the Animals Administered a Hazardous Substance Requiring Containment SOP.

Additional Considerations

Extra precautions must be taken when transporting animals with experimental hazards to or from containment housing. Specifically:

  • The outside of the cage must be wiped with a SaniCloth, Spor Klenz, or Bleach water on a wet paper towel
  • If you leave the animal facility to transport animals to your lab –
    • Place animals into a clean housing cage that is secured in some way (e.g., tape, rubber bands, etc.)
    • Label the housing cage with a dissolvable sticker indicating the type of hazard administered
    • Put the housing cage in a rigid, sealed, secondary transport container that includes absorbent material in the bottom
    • Wipe down the outside of the secondary transport container using one of the methods (e.g., SaniCloth, Spor Klenz, etc.) above

Complete step-by-step instructions can be found in the Animals Administered a Hazardous Substance Requiring Containment SOP.

Any individual who MAY handle animals administered a hazardous substance must read this SOP in its entirety to ensure that they are familiar with, and adhere to, all requisite procedures.

The Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM) provides an array of facilities, equipment, and services to assist Study Teams with animal transport.

With a minimum required 48-hour (two business days) notice for all trips, ULAM Truck Services can:

  • Transfer animals between buildings
  • Deliver animals received at the ULAM Dock to other campus facilities, and
  • Pick up animals shipped to the Detroit Metro Airport.

Transportation services can be arranged through ULAM by emailing or speaking with your facility’s ULAM Husbandry Supervisor. requires Level-1 U-M login credentials


Questions about animal transportation procedures should be directed to your facility’s ULAM Faculty Veterinarian or ULAM Husbandry Supervisor.

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