Policies & Procedures

At the Center for Comparative Medicine and Surgery, we follow guidelines designed to be humane. Our policies are as follows:

Cell lines and solid tumors present a major biological hazard to the animal facility. There are well known examples of rodent viruses being introduced into pathogen free colonies via tumors and/or cell lines. Pathogens such as mouse hepatitis virus, mycoplasma pulmonis, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) are pathogens of most concern. While most of the agents that are potentially found in rodent cell lines are species specific, there are documented cases of zoonotic agents also being introduced via tumors, such as hantavirus and LCMV.

Cell Lines

The materials of most concern are those derived from or passed through rodents (e.g., rats, mice, hamsters). The exact origin and propagation of human tumors/cell lines is often unknown or ambiguous, so it is important that investigators test all cell lines (regardless of origin) before using them in rodents. Until recently, the most reliable test was the mouse antibody production (MAP) test, where we inject samples of the suspect material into mice of various ages. WE then evaluated these animals for seroconversion to the rodent pathogens of interest. This process generally takes six to eight weeks. The IMPACT- PCR test shows similar sensitivity and specificity to the traditional MAP test for most agents. This method requires small amounts of material and is usually completed within two weeks. It has rapidly become the test of choice. If you need tumors or cell lines, contact the American Type Culture Collection, which is a nonprofit repository of cell lines. ATCC does not test any cell lines or tumors for rodent pathogens. This is the responsibility of the end user.

Primary Human Tumors

When researchers take tumors directly from patients, they rarely obtain enough cells to perform IMPACT testing. Often, researchers choose to place these materials into animals without the need for testing. Please note that you must follow bloodborne pathogens precautions when working with these materials. You must handle them under biosafety level 2 (BSL-2) conditions. Animals must be housed in an animal biosafety level 2 (ABSL-2) room.

Additional Information

For information as to how to get a cell line/tumor IMPACT tested, contact Ying Dai at 212-241-1696.

We follow the National Research Council recommendations on housing requirements for most animal species. It is the only reference for housing of laboratory rodents not regulated by the Animal Welfare Act . The most recent publication restricts the housing of mice to the following:

Grams

Square Inches

Up to 10 grams

6 sq. in. per animal

Up to 15 grams

8 sq. in. per animal

Up to 25 grams

12 sq. in. per animal

> 25 grams

>15 sq. in. per animal

Female + litter

51 sq inches
(recommended space for the housing group)


Caging density is based upon above housing guidelines and caging available at our facilities.

Annenberg and Atran Buildings Availability
Regular Allentown cage = 67.0 sq. in. of floor space:
Up to 25 grams – 5 adult mice per cage
>25 grams – 4 adult mice per cage

Allentown JAG cage = 75 sq. in. of floor space:
5 mice x 12 sq. in./mouse = 5 adult mice per cage

Hess Availability
Techniplast cages = 118.0 sq. in. of floor space
Up to 25 grams – 5 adult mice per cage
>25 Grams – 4 adult mice per cage

Icahn Medical Institute Availability
Allentown JAG cage = 75 sq. in. of floor space
Up to 25 grams, 5 mice x 12 sq. in./mouse = 5 adult mice per café
>25 grams – 5 adult mice per cage

We assume that most adult mice weigh 25 grams or greater. The National Research Council guidelines, however, do not adequately address the housing density for cages with breeding animals. We recommend the following housing densities for breeding colonies in all of our building:

  • One female and litter up to 21 days of age
  • One male and one to two females
  • Two females and male with one litter up to 21 days of age
  • Two litters in one cage (two generations or two separate litters will be considered overcrowding)

Reference: The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, National Research Council, 2011.

We follow the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (IACUC) guidelines on housing densities for mice, particularly those involved in breeding protocols. Our husbandry procedure is to change mouse cages once weekly, based on using the approved stocking densities. Overcrowding mice results in humane concerns as these animals are subjected to increased ammonia levels (urination), fecal contamination, and psychological distress.

When animals are found to be in overcrowded conditions, our staff members identify the cage with an “Overcrowded” card. Investigators then have 24 to 72 hours (depending on the severity of overcrowding) to separate the flagged cages. We send notification via email. The clock to correct the condition begins running when we send this email notice. If overcrowding is severe, the supervisor or veterinary staff reserve the right to separate the animals without notification.

You may not remove the “Overcrowded” cards from the ages until you have addressed the problem. We will increase charges if the husbandry staff reports that cards were removed by investigators prior to separating cages that were reported as overcrowded. If investigators disagree with the need to separate animals, they should consult the IACUC for a variance. All litters over 21 days of age are considered overcrowded unless you have prior approval from the Association, which must specify the length of time of the extension. This information must be noted on a Special Services Form and posted within the room (i.e., “weaning at 28 days”).

Summary of Overcrowding Policy

  1. Cage densities outside of approved housing guidelines will be flagged with an “Overcrowded” card
  2. Notification will be via email
  3. Separation of reported cages must be done within 72 hours
  4. Cages not separated within three days will be separated by CCMS at charge of $50 for each reported cage
  5. If the cards are removed without separating cages, the CCMS husbandry staff will separate the cages and charge $75 per new cage generated
  6. Investigator must have prior IACUC approval to deviate from approved IACUC housing standards
  7. Investigators may submit a Special Services Request for CCMS staff to separate overcrowded cages automatically without prior notification. CCMS will separate these cages at no charge. A Special Services Request must be on file for this service to apply.

Our policy is that rodents that undergo major surgery* must receive analgesics at induction of anesthesia (preemptive analgesia) and postoperatively for 24 to 72 hours. Typically, we recommend using buprenorphine HCL, given at 8 to 10 hour intervals for moderate to severe pain. You may use other agents, such as butorphanol, Tylenol, bupivacaine, and lidocaine, for minor pain, but these agents are limited by their duration of action (lidocaine, butorphanol) or difficulty of administration (Tylenol). Consult the veterinary staff if you have questions about choosing an appropriate analgesic.

*Note: Major Surgery is defined as procedures that penetrate and expose a body cavity or produces substantial impairment of physical or physiologic function. Ex. thoracotomy, craniotomy, limb amputation.

As investigator, the postoperative treatment of rodents is your responsibility. The IACUC requires proof of compliance during laboratory inspections, and the veterinary staff may request documentation of treatment when animals are reported for complications. Do not keep treatment records in animal rooms, to prevent them from being damaged or lost. We encourage you to make notations of treatments on the back of the "Rodent Surgery" cage card (see below), to assist the veterinary staff in assessing reported animals. The "Rodent Surgery" cage card is not sufficient recordkeeping. You must maintain some other permanent record in the laboratory (e.g., lab book or treatment form) in which you document all treatments and observations.

Postoperatively, investigators should place a "Rodent Surgery" card on each cage when returning the animals to the vivarium. Unless other arrangements are made with CCMS, it is your responsibility to administer treatments for a minimum 24 hours. You must observe the animals for a total of 72 hours, and then remove the "Rodent Surgery" card from the cage. Veterinary technicians monitor compliance during rodent rounds. We will observe animals with postoperative cards for signs of pain, wound infection, or other complications and we will notify you if there are any problems. Our veterinary staff will recommend a treatment plan.

"Rodent Surgery" cards are available in the facility supervisor office of the vivarium where your animals are housed. Please contact a member of the veterinary staff if you need assistance in evaluating postoperative pain in rodents.

  1. Have the injured person follow the Mount Sinai Health Center Employee Health policy for Human Exposure to herpes simiae (herpes B virus) and identify the offending monkey. The policy is posted in all nonhuman primate housing areas. A member of the CCMS staff should accompany the injured person to Employee Health Service (EHS) with a copy of the EHS policy.
  2. In all cases the offending nonhuman primate (NHP) should be examined by a veterinarian for lesions consistent with herpes infection. This includes New World primates and baboons.
  3. In the case of New World primates or baboons, you must collect samples to submit to the lab since these animals harbor endemic herpes viruses which could cause disease in immunocompromised individuals.
  4. If a person is injured by a macaque (M. mulatta or M. fascicularis) sustains a needle stick from macaque-contaminated needles or is splashed in the eye(s) or mucous membranes by fluid from a macaque, you must take cultures of the oral cavity, urogenital tract, and both eyes of the monkey. You must also collect acute serum samples. Swabs and culture media for culturing and viral transport are available in our diagnostic laboratory x4-1696 and in the Bite/Scratch Kits in each monkey room.
  5. All samples from the NHP are to be packed in dry ice or ice pack and shipped priority overnight mail via Federal Express to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Virus Resource Laboratory, Atlanta, Georgia.
  6. Be sure to inform the NIH Virus Resource Laboratory requests of any sample shipments prior to sending them by calling them at 404-651-0808. You can also call this number for questions about the process.
  7. Initiate a clinical record on the NHP involved at the time of processing, and place the NHP on clinical rounds for observation until you receive the serology and/or culture results (approximately 10 days).