Frequently Asked Questions

Following provides you guidance on frequently asked questions in these areas:

How did you come up with the number of care days in my billing statement?
We calculate your care days number by multiplying the cage cost per day by the number of cages by the number of days. When applicable, we multiplying the animal cost per day by the number of animals by the number of days. For example:

Mouse charges for 10 cages for 30 days is as follows:

$0.89 (per cage) X 10 cages X 30 days = $267.00

Hamster charges for 10 hamster for 30 days is as follows:

$0.98(per animal) X 10 animals X 30 days = $294.00

What is the per diem rate for mice, rats, etc. in the Annenberg and Icahn facilities? Is it per animal or per cage?
We calculate the per diem rate for mice in Annenberg and Icahn at a rate of $0.89 per cage. We calculate the per diem rate of rats by the individual rodent; our rate is $0.98 per animal.

If there is an error on my billing statement, can I obtain a new statement with the adjustment?
If there is a discrepancy and/or error on your billing statement, our business manager will generate a manual adjustment. Our billing system does not allow us to adjust or create a correct itemized bill.

When can I expect to see the adjustment on my ledger?
Once the business manager makes the adjustment, it will be shown on the current month’s ledger.

What is the process in changing the current fund number on my cage cards?
By using the Animal Transfer Authorization form.  This form is available on the following link: https://erap.mssm.edu/Public/CCMSAnimalTransfer.aspx   Once the form is filled out completely and approved by the CCMS Business Office, we will switch the cage cards to the correct fund number that coincides with the transfer form.

To whom should I forward the Euthanasia Sheets?
Forward a service requisition sheet, which you can find outside the Center for Comparative Medicine and Surgery (CCMS) office, to the facility supervisor.

What is the turnaround time on euthanizing the animals?
The turnaround time on euthanizing the animals is 48 hours.

When is the best time to pick up a key card and/or come by to obtain hand plus access?
The designated time is Monday through Friday from 12:30 pm until 1:30 pm.

How can I obtain a key to the animal room where my animals are housed?
The animal facility supervisor can provide a key to your animal room.

How can I obtain entry to the animal rooms after hours?
Please call security at ext. 45662. If you regularly work after hours, you can request a key from the CCMS Business Office.

How can I transfer my animals from the Icahn Building facility to the Annenberg animal facility?
We discourage transferring animals between buildings. If you feel this is necessary, it must be approved by CCMS management. Please contact the facility supervisor for details. When approved, all animal transport must occur on dedicated freight elevators. Animals are not allowed on passenger elevators.

Whom do I contact regarding shipping animals into or out of a Mount Sinai facility?
Please call the Import/Export Coordinator at ext. 44297.

Whom do I contact for a rodent health certificate?
Please contact the Import/Export Coordinator at ext. 44297.

How often are animals fed?
Rodents are fed ad libitum; food is replenished weekly. Larger species are fed daily.

How often are cages changed?
We change mice cages once a week, rats twice a week, and diabetic rodents at least twice weekly.

What days are the cages changed?
The day of change is indicated on the animal room door.

How often is census taken?
Census is audited weekly in all vivaria.

How long do I have to wait to use my animals after they arrive?
The minimum acclimation period is 24 hours. For large animals we require 72 hours acclimation.

Whom do I contact regarding ordering animals?
Contact Gloria Santiago at 212-241-3008 (ext. 43008).

How often are the animals fed?
Food is provided ad libitum but changed biweekly.

How do I request more space?
You may speak to the supervisor for minor space issues. For major changes in your animal population, you should contact Jonathan A. Cohen, DVM, MS, DACLAM for rodent species and Hylton Gordon, DVM for non-rodent species.

Is Enrichment and Social Housing Necessary?

  • According to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, “The primary aim of environmental enrichment is to enhance animal well-being by providing animals with sensory and motor stimulation through structures and resources that facilitate the expression of species-specific behaviors and promote psychological well-being through physical exercise, manipulative activities, and cognitive challenges according to species-specific characteristics.”
  • Social housing is considered by AAALAC as the default method of housing unless otherwise justified based on social incompatibility, veterinary concerns, or scientific necessary approved by the IACUC.
  • The Guide also states that single housing of social species should be the exception and justified based on experimental requirements of veterinary-related concerns about animal well-being.

How can I receive extra enrichment for my animals?
For both large and small animals, email the enrichment coordinator for a consultation. brianna.parkinson@mssm.edu

What is the social housing policy?

  • All species are socially housed unless single housing is justified based on social incompatible, veterinary concern or scientific justification
  • IACUC allows any animal to be single housed for up to 72 hours without justification required.

Why does CCCMS provide enrichment?

  • Allow animals to exhibit their natural behaviors in the laboratory setting
  • Decrease boredom
  • Minimize stress

What is Stereopathy?
Stereopathy is any abnormal behavior an animal exhibits such as circling or self-plucking.

If I would like my animals to be singly housed what should I do?
If you would like your animals singly housed it must be either socially incompatible, pose veterinary concerns, or have scientific justification that is approved by the IACUC.

What is positive reinforcement training?
Positive Reinforcement Training uses praises and treats as rewards to your animal for doing something you would like it to do. This training poses the least stress to the animal.

I want to train my animal via positive reinforcement training, how can I do this?
Schedule a consultation with the Environmental Enrichment Coordinator Brianna Parkinson. She/he can teach you the fundamentals of PRT, which will be beneficial when training your animals.

As an investigator, what forms do I need to fill out before doing surgery?
Investigators are required to complete a Surgery Questionnaire form and an Operating Room Request. The form is available from Ronald Primm, O.R. Supervisor, in Annenberg Room 26-227.

What information is required on the Operating Room Request Form?
An Operating Room Request Form must be submitted one week prior to the surgery date. The date of surgery, time, investigator name, etc. is listed on this form.

Where do I schedule operating room time?
Operating forms are in the Annenberg operating room suites on the room 26-227 door.

What does CCMS provide during surgery cases?
CCMS surgical services include animal preparation, instrument sterilization, anesthetic reduction and monitoring, and nursing care during recovery.

How is the investigator charged for surgical cases?
Investigators are charged an hourly rate for the type of surgery performed. See the schedule of services and rates for more detail.

What kind of staff are available to help if medical complications arise?
Veterinarians and veterinary technicians are available should medical problems occur.

Pathology: Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Pathology Lab located?
The Center for Comparative Medicine and Surgery (CCMS) Comparative Pathology Laboratory is located in the Annenberg Building, floor 26-room 92.

What are the hours?
The Center for Comparative Medicine and Surgery Pathology Lab is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Sample submission should be made before 2 pm. Please contact the lab before submitting samples.

What are the services does the pathology lab provide?
The services are:

  • Necropsy, histopathology, and pathologic phenotyping in large and small lab animals (includes interpretation by comparative pathologist)
  • Parasitology
  • Hematology*
  • Biochemistry*
  • Bacteriology*
  • Serology*
  • Molecular biology-PCR for pinworms and Helicobacter spp. in rodents*

*May be sent to an outside laboratory

How much do services cost?
Please contact the lab at 212-241-1498 or email Virginia Gillespie or Ying Dai for the most current price list.

What is the sample volume required for CBC analysis, and what is the additive used for it?
For CBC the volume required for performing the test is 100 microliters blood collected in EDTA.

What is the sample volume required for chemistry analysis?
We require 30 to 250 microliters, depending of the panel requested.

What type of sample do you need to detect PCR (pinworm or Helicobacter)?
We need sterile collected rodent pellets (feces) in a sterile tube.

What is the IMPACT Test?

  • The IMPACT (Infectious, Microbe, PCR, Amplification Test) tests biological specimens for murine pathogens such as cell lines, tumor cells, or hybridomas before they are injected into the rodents.
  • The test is performed by the RADIL IDEXX Laboratory at the University of Missouri.

How should I submit a biological sample so you can  for testing the murine pathogens for the IMPACT test?
To have us test biological specimens or cultured cells by the IMPACT, send one cryovial of each sample containing a minimum of 2x106 cells/vial. Cells may be in the form of a pellet or in growth media, freeze media or phosphate-buffered saline. To test liquid samples by the IMPACT, it is optimal if you send one cryovial of each sample with 0.5 ml of sample/vial. However, we can evaluate smaller volumes of the sample if necessary. Please call if you have questions about sample size. Please collect the materials aseptically, to prevent inadvertent contamination of the samples.

What is phenotyping?
Phenotyping is a comprehensive comparison between genetically engineered mouse strains and controls to provide information on any phenotypic variations. This process generally includes hematology, serum chemistry, and full necropsy (gross and microscopic) with organ weights. To phenotype a sample, we need at least mice, per gender and per genotype. You can submit mice of different ages for developmental/time dependent phenotypes. Please consultation with a comparative pathologist before you submit a sample for phenotyping.

How do I submit specimens for anatomic pathology?
You can submit live mice to the lab for euthanasia, gross and/or histopathologic examination. Please contact the lab to arrange an appointment to bring the mice to the lab. We cannot keep mice in the lab overnight. We can arrange to have a pathologist perform necropsy of large animals (non-human primates, pigs, etc.) in the necropsy suites.

  • Sick animals (spontaneous disease) must be evaluated by clinical veterinary staff and are not to be submitted directly to the lab without a veterinarian’s evaluation.
  • Fix all tissue samples for histopathology in 10 percent buffered formalin. The volume of the fixative should be 10 times higher than the tissue size. We highly recommend inflating the lungs with the fixative and infusing the intestines with formalin before submerging them in the fixative. Please contact the lab for details and to arrange training in these techniques if needed.

Where are the CCMS necropsy rooms?
The CCMS necropsy rooms are located in the Annenberg Building Room 26-93 and East Building S1-27 H, and Hess Center for Science and Medicine SC1-326. Necropsy rooms can be reserved onlineFor instructions on how to access the eRAP calendars, please contact Ying Dai or Virginia Gillespie, DVM.

What lab equipment do you have?
Our lab has the following lab instruments:

  • IDEXX Procyte Hematology Analyzer
  • Histology Processor: Sakura Tissue –Tek VIP
  • Embedding Paraffin Center: Leica EG 1150
  • Gene AMP PCR equipment: Perkin Elmer
  • Microscopes:
    • Individual (light, fluorescent )
    • Double-headed with digital camera system
    • Dissecting microscope

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