Rodent Health Surveillance & Environmental Monitoring
The Rodent Health Surveillance (RHS) services are concerned with the routine periodic monitoring of rodents used in teaching and research. The frequency and types of monitoring profiles requested by colony managers and principal investigators depends on risk assessments for the types of animals being housed, and guidelines developed with a protocol’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). High-barrier rooms or areas with immune-compromised subjects may require special comprehensive screenings. All subjects are inherently valuable for the data they provide, so creating a robust sentinel program is fundamental to good colony management and quality research data.
Most lab animal programs require at least quarterly surveys of sentinel rodents in order to ensure the good management of colonies and the validity of research data. Sick animal screening, as well as routine monitoring of custom & production breeding populations, are the primary focus of RHS at the Comparative Pathology Laboratory.
Specific RHS and pathology activities include gross necropsy evaluation of those sentinels, with ancillary microbiology, parasitology, serology and PCR screening for pathogens. As our skilled necropsy staff performs tissue examination and harvesting, suspicious lesion areas or areas of general interest are isolated. Histopathology evaluations of these tissues are accomplished through fixation or flash freezing of trimmed tissues. These harvested tissues are then subjected to vacuum infiltration processing, paraffin embedding, thin sectioning and slide mounting. Routinely, these slides are stained with hematoxylin & eosin (H & E) for our staff pathologists’ review. Arrangements for immunohistochemical and other special stains can be easily made.
Please see our Services Listing for the various types of comprehensive screening panels available to complement the specific demands of your particular lab animal program.
Environmental microbiological monitoring of autoclaves, water systems, caging areas, transport vehicles and cleaned surfaces within the vivarium are accomplished through the use of sterile swabbing techniques, RODAC contact plates and biological indicators. We can evaluate the proper functioning of steam sterilizers and vaporous hydrogen peroxide (VHP) sterilizers. We have full capability to check caging system water pH and screen for microorganisms. Periodic monitoring is necessary to evaluate cleaning techniques and the suitability of transport vehicles, cages and holding areas for housed animals.
A monitoring program can be individually tailored to suit specific needs. CPL can provide consultation as to the implementation of these programs. Please contact Melea Hunrath with any questions that you may have or you can also call the main lab at 530-752-2832.