Introduction: Research Institutions are responsible for monitoring the health and welfare of animals utilized on IACUC-approved protocols. The maintenance of appropriate health records is an integral component of animal care. As stated in the USDA Animal Care Policy Manual:
“Health records are meant to convey necessary information to all people involved in an animal’s care. Every facility is expected to have a system of health records sufficiently comprehensive to demonstrate the delivery of adequate health care. For all facilities, health records must be current, legible, and include, at a minimum, the following information:
• Identity of the animal.
• Descriptions of any illness, injury, distress, and/or behavioral abnormalities and the resolution of any noted problem.
• Dates, details, and results (if appropriate) of all medically-related observations, examinations, tests, and other such procedures.
• Dates and other details of all treatments, including the name, dose, route, frequency, and duration of treatment with drugs or other medications. (A “check-off” system to record when treatment is given each day may be beneficial.)”
Please note that when performing a surgical procedure on a group of animals, the GSU IACUC continues to accept a notation on the “Lab Animal Care Record” indicating, for example, “brain cannula surgery on animals 1-10” in lieu of making 10 separate notations indicating such. If the animal is euthanized during the course of the experiment, please make sure to maintain the medical records for the duration of the IACUC-approved protocol plus an additional 3 years consistent with regulatory requirements. If the animal is maintained after use on the protocol, the medical records for this animal must similarly be maintained.
To facilitate the maintenance of adequate health records and, in an effort to standardize the record keeping format, the following health record forms have been created for your consideration. It is understood that, in many cases, this information is recorded in the lab notebook or other health records maintained by the research laboratory. Accordingly, the use of the forms below is not mandated. However, the standards for health record maintenance as demonstrated on the forms must be met. Please note that the “Anesthesia Record” found below is only necessary when detailed anesthetic monitoring records are maintained such as may occur with non-rodent mammals undergoing surgical procedures.
“Health Records” binders will be provided for each IACUC-approved protocol active in a given animal room. This binder will contain the forms found below. It is expected that this binder will be maintained with the appropriate notations by members of the research laboratory as well as the staff of Animal Resources, when indicated. Should the research laboratory choose to utilize forms different than those found below, these will likewise be maintained in a binder or otherwise readily accessible and in an organized format. The binder is to remain in the research laboratory and to be accessible for review by members of the IACUC, animal resources staff, and site visitors (e.g. USDA, AAALAC, etc.) when requested.
Please note that the “Lab Animal Care Record” is to be used to record the conduct of animal procedures. This template is already in place for your protocols active in the animal facilities and will remain so. When such procedures are performed in your research laboratory then please return this particular record to the animal facility along with your animals when such animals are under continued treatments (receiving medications) or monitoring (post-op monitoring, etc.). Doing so will allow the animal resources staff to conduct and document their post-operative checks and observations on your animals and to better assist you and your study by helping to oversee the health of your animals.