Multiple Survival Surgery

Regardless of whether the surgery is categorized as major1 or minor, multiple survival surgical procedures on a single animal should be evaluated to determine their impact on the animal’s well-being.

Multiple major surgical procedures on a single animal are acceptable only if they are:

  • Essential components of a single IACUC-approved research project or protocol;
  • Scientifically justified by the investigator; or
  • Necessary for clinical reasons.2

Animals should not undergo surgical procedures under more than one protocol, except under a few limited exceptions, such as vendor-performed ovariectomy or neutering performed by campus veterinary staff.  All surgeries performed on a single animal must be interrelated components of one project.

Cost savings alone is not a justification for multiple surgical procedures; however, conservation of scarce animal resources may be considered as part of a scientific justification by the IACUC.

One exception to the general rule against multiple survival surgeries is the harvest of oocytes from Xenopus frog species – see guidelines for multiple oocyte harvest.