Qualifications and experience in animal handling and methodology relevant to proposed research of investigators, staff and students are evaluated by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs).
Training of individuals is provided in several ways.
1. Individual Training
Individuals using animals for the first time or employing unfamiliar techniques may be trained in procedures by the veterinary and technical staff of the Program of Comparative Medicine on an individual basis.
Some of the most frequent training provided includes:
- How to manipulate and work with a micro-isolator cage
- How to collect blood samples
- How to perform IP injections
- How to wean mice
- How to obtain tissue for PCR
- How to use isoflurane a anesthesia unit
For unusual techniques, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee may require evidence of specialized training.
2. Audiovisual Training Methods
Videotapes describing basic techniques for handling rodents, rabbits and for performing survival surgery; other videotapes illustrating general and specialized laboratory animal techniques, as well as Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee functions are maintained by the Program of Comparative Medicine. A list of these video tapes is available by request.
3. Guidelines for Faculty, Staff and Students for Studies With Animals on Campus
Included in this guide (available for download on the Resource Manual page) are some basic and appropriate procedures for common laboratory animal species. Also included in the guide's appendices are recommended analgesics, anesthetics and methods of euthanasia.
4. Library Support
Publications describing proper use of animals in research are maintained in the library of the Program of Comparative Medicine. Included are the ACLAM series on Laboratory Animals, texts and journals on Laboratory Animal and Veterinary Medicine. The Program also receives the periodical publications of the National Association for Biomedical Research, The Institute for Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR) and The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR). Although these publications do not circulate, they can be accessed by investigators directly or indirectly through program veterinarians.
5. Training of Staff Involved with the Use of Hazardous Agents in Animals
Training for all staff is provided by the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) office regarding hazardous agents. Specific training includes Blood Borne Pathogens, Radiation Safety, Chemical Safety and Waste Management, as well as specific 2-3 day courses in ABSL practices.
All animal-care personnel and supervisory staff are trained by the facilities manager in the proper implementation of biohazard safeguards before working with animals exposed to hazardous agents.
Individual standard operating procedures are written and posted for each study using a hazardous agent. Special language, incorporating a synopsis of the SOP, is generated with each animal order and posted near the specified biohazard room. Monitoring of husbandry practices is conducted by the Veterinary Resources staff, Environmental Health and Safety and the IACUC to assure the safeguards are being maintained.
The BVAMC Research Service conducts annual mandatory training classes in laboratory safety, handling blood-borne pathogens and sharps disposal, animal facility procedures and safety, use of radioactivity, accident reporting, MSDS training, emergency procedures and waste disposal. Attendance at these classes is required of all research personnel.
The PI of each IACUC-approved protocol is responsible for the training of their staff. Also, the qualifications and experience of the PI plus all proposed staff in the project are evaluated by the IACUC, EHS and for recombinant DNA or select agents by the IBC. All PIs carrying out hazardous procedures in animals are highly qualified doctoral-level scientists with very specific expertise in the agent they are working with.
6. Educational Program(s) - Zoonoses
The EHS website contains registration and training for the campus Occupational Health and Safety Program. This website is updated as needed to address common workplace issues. The program is also available to all new employees when they receive their campus orientation. All personnel entering the animal facilities must register on this site under ‘Animal Workers Risk Assessment' and verify online that they have reviewed the document on zoonoses and personal hygiene. This serves as documentation of training.
Veterinary Resources conducts Personnel Protective Equipment training at the time of hire for all new employees who will be working with macaques, and for all laboratories adding macaque work to their procedures. In additional, visiting scientists are trained on an as-needed basis if they will be conducting work with macaques or macaque tissues. Veterinary Resources also provides zoonosis training in AALAS structured courses for the animal care staff. Documentation is kept by Veterinary Resources. General hygiene practices are also covered in these courses.
An annual safety course (MARCE-Biodefence and Emerging Pathogens, EHS, CVD and Veterinary Resources) in the use of select agents is given on-campus. It includes presentations on Animal Biosafety (ABSL) and research with zoonotic agents as well as naturally occurring agents. Documentation is kept by EHS.
The BVAMC Research Service conducts annual mandatory training classes in: laboratory safety, handling blood-borne pathogens and sharps disposal, animal facility procedures and safety, use of radioactivity, accident reporting, MSDS training, emergency procedures and waste disposal. In addition, educational seminars are presented to janitorial and engineering staff to provide them with the information necessary for them to perform their duties safely in the animal facility. These seminars focus primarily on the BSL3 agents and are presented by the respective laboratory directors.
7. Personnel Performing Surgery
Individuals must have experience with the specific surgical procedure and in the species on which it will be performed. Training is often carried out by the principal investigator or other experienced persons in the laboratory. Training is also provided by the veterinary staff. Most surgery in large animals is carried out by MDs who are highly experienced in the particular procedure. In cases where the IACUC is concerned about the PI's experience in the specific surgery, they will require the PI to receive training from the veterinary surgeons in Veterinary Resources.
8. Personnel Performing Anesthesia
Individuals must be experienced with the use of the particular anesthetic and the species in which it will be used. Training may be provided by the principal investigator or the veterinary staff, or carried out directly by Veterinary Resources.
9. Personnel Carrying Out Euthanasia Procedures
Individuals must be experienced with the euthanasia procedure in the particular species. Training may be provided by the principal investigator or the veterinary staff.