Procedures for Receipt of Rodents from Non-Approved Sources

The use of genetically altered1 animals in biomedical research holds great promise for advancing the knowledge and possibly curing many diseases that have afflicted humans for centuries. The two methods utilized today for producing these animals include insertion of foreign genes (transgenics) and deletion of native genetic material (knockouts). Currently at SUNY-Upstate Syracuse, we do not have core capabilities in either of these methodologies. This means that we rely on other institutions to produce these rodents and then import them to utilize them in current research efforts. Prior to the receipt of rodents from other institutions, it is essential that the health status of the animals be ascertained as completely as possible to protect existing colonies and human health. The agents that have the greatest potential for negatively affecting the health of humans or other rodents, include:

MHV (Mouse Hepatitis Virus)
LCMV (Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus)
Ectromelia (Mouse Pox)
Sendai virus
EDIM (Epizootic Diarrhea of infant mice)
Mycoplasma spp.
Clostridium piliforme (Tyzzer's disease)
Sialodacryoadenitis (SDAV)

These agents are typically detected by serology (or culture for Salmonella) of the animals themselves or by testing sentinel animals from the same room. The following procedures are to be adhered to when animals from non-approved sources2 are requested.

1. As soon as the proposed source of rodents is established, contact the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources3 (Telephone: 464-6563 or Fax: 464-4295) and provide:

a) name and address of source institution
b) name and phone number of person associated with animals (principal investigator and/or technician) at source institution
c) number of animals per shipment and number of shipments anticipated
d) health status of animals (if known)
e) name and phone number of SUNY-Upstate person(s) to contact relative to animal shipment

2. Upon receipt of above information, the animal resources personnel at the proposed institution will be contacted by DLAR personnel to discuss health status, shipping arrangements, special housing requirements due to genetic background, etc.

3. Animals with a health status compatible with existing colonies received into quarantine. Access to animals during quarantine is restricted to DLAR personnel. Whenever possible, extra animals from the same source colony should be shipped to expedite testing procedures during quarantine.4

While the animals are in quarantine, routine testing includes5 :

a) comprehensive serology
b) parasitology screening (endo & ecto-parasites)

Additionally, the following tests may be performed as necessary:
c) naso-pharyngeal bacterial monitoring
d) intestinal bacterial monitoring
e) complete histopathology

4. Animals infected with any disease agents will require treatment or rederivation6 prior to entry into quarantine.

5. Once animals have tested negative for all monitored agents, they will be released into colony housing for experimental use (4-6 weeks).

6. Breeding may be conducted while animals are in quarantine, but the birth of pups may extend the quarantine period/treatment period in the event that infection is detected.


1Though the emphasis of this SOP is on genetically altered rodents, it applies to all rodents proposed for use at SUNY Upstate.

2Current approved sources include: Taconic Farms, Harlan Sprague Dawley, Jackson Laboratories (production areas only), Charles River, Simonsen Labs.

3All shipping arrangements and receipt of animals must be done by DLAR.

4The number of sentinels needed varies with size of the shipment, but typically ranges from 1-4 animals.

5Costs for health monitoring in quarantine are the responsibility of the investigator.

6Contact the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources to make arrangements for rederivation.

Revised 6/23/05