Rodent Quarantine Policy
Rodents are subject to a number of viral, bacterial and parasitic infestations that can impact their usefulness in research. The IACUC has established a Quarantine Policy to safeguard the health and pathogen-free status of all UCI-maintained research animals. All newly received animals are subject to a basic health evaluation; animals that arrive from other than well-known, reliable commercial vendors may also be subject to quarantine.
All rodents obtained or transferred from other than approved* commercial vendors must undergo a minimum 8 week quarantine period during which they will be screened and treated for a variety of common pathogens. This mandatory isolation period is required regardless of any animal health screening information that may be provided by the transferring institution. Use of/contact with quarantined animals is strictly limited; research personnel may only access the quarantine housing rooms if prior arrangements have been made with ULAR Veterinary Services.
*Contact ULAR Purchasing for a list of approved vendors; animals from these sources may be received directly into UCI vivarium space without mandatory quarantine.
Options for Quarantine
- In-House: The most cost-effective method to ensure the pathogen-free status of incoming animals is in-house quarantine in ULAR maintained space. Quarantine housing space is limited; faculty intending to transfer animals that require quarantine must contact ULAR to discuss availability well in advance of the animal transfer.
- Off-Site Quarantine: Large rodent vendors such as Charles River Laboratories and Harlan have facilities in California for off-site quarantine of animals. Once animals have passed the required quarantine period and testing has shown them to be pathogen-free, they can be shipped and received directly into UCI vivaria. Contact ULAR for more information.
- Rederivation by Embryo Transfer: Rederivation is the most secure means for ensuring the specific pathogen-free status of genetically-modified mouse strains, particularly when there is a known infection. This procedure can be performed by the UCI Transgenic Mouse Facility or by commercial vendors
Exceptions to the Quarantine Policy
In certain very specific circumstances, the IACUC may approve an exception to the quarantine policy and allow animals with unknown or suspect health status to be received directly into a researcher's dedicated laboratory space for use and subsequent euthanasia within a defined period of time. Under no circumstances can such animals be taken to or housed in UCI vivaria.
- Written requests for an exception to the quarantine policy must be submitted to the IACUC for review and approval at a convened meeting. Exceptions will be considered only if they are endorsed by the Vice Chancellor for Research and all of the following conditions are met:
- All of the quarantine options listed above have been adequately considered and deemed unacceptable; the Lead Researcher must provide a written scientifically-relevant justification for not utilizing in-house or off-site quarantine or rederivation.
- Animals have adequate health assurance data from the vendor or originating institution and the health data is accepted by a ULAR veterinarian.
- A ULAR veterinarian has advised that there is no danger of cross-contamination to the rest of UCI's rodent population.
- A written Standard Operating Procedure for assuring that laboratory staff do not inadvertently contaminate animals housed in UCI vivaria is submitted with the exception request.
For more information, see the ULAR Rodent Quarantine Procedures.