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Handle With Care: Reminders for Safe Animal Transport

Facilities Husbandry Safety SOP ULAM

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Transporting animals on campus (either from room to room, building to building, or through a public area) requires heightened attention to detail to ensure that animal health and welfare is maintained at all times.

This includes, but is NOT limited to, preventing injury or escape, reducing environmental stressors (e.g., ambient temperature extremes, odors, and excessive noise), and avoiding exposure to potential pathogens.

When transporting animals for ANY reason, please remember to:

  • Ensure that primary enclosures are:
    • 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 physical trauma or distress
    • Made of material(s) that can be sanitized or disinfected to prevent cross-contamination
  • Follow as direct a route as possible
  • Conduct the transport in a timely manner
  • Use appropriate discretion (e.g., cages are covered, public areas are avoided whenever possible)
  • Avoid temperature extremes – below 40°F (4.4°C) or above 85°F (29.4°C)

Any individual who may be responsible for transporting animals should regularly review, and be familiar with, the Procedures for Animal Transportation.

This document includes species-specific transport instructions as well as information about transporting animals with experimental hazards, proper donning of PPE, and ways to minimize environmental stressors to maintain animal health status.

Additional Considerations

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Transporting animals with experimental hazards to/from containment housing requires extra precautions IN ADDITION TO the steps outlined above. Please adhere to the following processes and procedures when transporting animals to/from containment housing:

  • Wipe the outside of the cage with either a SaniCloth, Spor Klenz, or Bleach water on a wet paper towel
  • If leaving the animal facility (for example, when transporting animals to your lab) –
    • Place animals into clean cages that are secured in some way (e.g., tape, rubber bands, etc.)
    • Place the housing cage into a secondary transport container that includes absorbent material in the bottom
    • Label cages with a dissolvable sticker indicating the type of hazard (biological vs. chemical)
    • Wipe down the outside of the secondary transport container using one of the methods (e.g., SaniCloth, Spor Klenz, etc.) above

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

Any individual who may perform procedures that involve the handling of animals or animal equipment contaminated with hazardous substances should read this SOP in its entirety to ensure that they are familiar with, and adhere to, all requisite procedures.

To assist study teams with proper animal transport, the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM) provides a multitude of facilities, equipment, and services.

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 facilities across campus, and
  • Pick up animals shipped to the Detroit Metro Airport.

To arrange for transportation services through ULAM, email [email protected] or call (734) 936-2011 or (734) 936-6163.


If you have questions about proper animal transport, please consult with your ULAM Faculty Veterinarian. Specific questions or concerns may also be directed to your facility’s ULAM Husbandry Supervisorrequires Level-1 U-M login credentials.  

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