What does the IACUC expect of my Laboratory during Semiannual Inspections?
The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee is mandated by federal law (PHS Policy IV.B 1-5 and AWAR §2.31 [c]) to review the Institution's Animal Care and Use Program's research program and its facilities (including individual laboratories where animals are taken). In performing this self-evaluation on a regular basis, Dartmouth College ensures that the well-being of the animals is being met and we are in compliance with Federal Regulations and Guidelines.
This document has been developed to assist laboratories in understanding the expectations of the IACUC during these visits. Please note that not every section would be applicable to each lab, and it is not possible to address every possible question or expectation.
General: The person designated to meet with IACUC representatives should be familiar with all procedures performed in the laboratory. Lab space where animals are used should be free of clutter and debris. Personnel should be aware that it is possible to report a concern anonymously from the website. This can be accomplished in two locations - one from the ARC primary link and one from the IACUC primary link.
Research: The visitors will ask about the research that occurs in the lab. Are there survival procedures performed? Non-survival? Which species are brought to the lab? This allows the inspection team to focus their questions in a more precise manner.
Anesthesia: If gas anesthesia is used within the lab, the IACUC will look for a recent inspection sticker. The IACUC follows the recommendation that Halothane vaporizers be calibrated and cleaned on an annual basis. Isoflourane vaporizers should be calibrated and cleaned on the frequency recommended by the manufacturer. Calibration and cleaning can be arranged through DHMC Biomedical Engineering. Gas anesthesia machines should also have some sort of scavenging system set up for ventilation.
Vaporizers using "SODALIME" in canisters should receive routine visual checks prior to any procedure using gas. Since SODALIME changes in color, from white or off-white to violet, a color change indicates that SODALIME is reaching or has reached its CO2 absorptive capacity, and there is need for immediate replenishment of the SODALIME. In addition, SODALIME color should be monitored during the procedure as it sometimes changes color while it is being used.
If an anesthesia setup uses an F/air canister to scavenge waste gases, the canister should be removed and weighed immediately before using the machine. The weight should be recorded and dated on the side of the canister. Immediately following the use of an anesthesia machine, the number of hours the machine was in use should be recorded next to the dated weight information. The F/air canister should be changed when (whichever occurs first): The total number of hours used exceeds 12 or the weight of the canister increased by 50 grams over its initial weight.
If the anesthesia is controlled substance, please see the section entitled "Drug and Supply Use and Storage" as well as the IACUC policy, Controlled Drug Substances.
The committee visitors may also inquire how laboratory members are ensuring that animals are adequately maintained under anesthesia and may review anesthesia records of USDA covered species. Labs using USDA covered species should use the Anesthesia Record available from the ARC.
Rodent surgery: A clean area (a portion of a room) or separate room is acceptable for all rodent survival surgery. This area should be free of clutter, have an impervious surface, and not be used for any other purpose during the surgical time. Be prepared to describe your aseptic technique, and your pre and post operative routine. Please consult the Rodent Surgery Policy and/or the Post Procedural Care Policy (listed on the website) for additional informationthe ARC primary link and one from the IACUC primary link.
Non-Rodent Mammalian Surgery: Non-Rodent Mammalian Surgeries are not typically performed in a laboratory. A dedicated surgical suite is required for all non-rodent mammalian surgeries. The committee will want to review the area where surgeries are performed. Questions will be asked on anesthesia, aseptic techniques, recovery procedures, and record keeping.
Euthanasia: Briefly describe your Euthanasia procedure to ensure that what was written on the protocol is what is being performed in the laboratory. All euthanasia procedures need to comply with the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia.
Post Procedural Care: If the laboratory is conducting studies other than non-survival, the committee representatives will want to briefly discuss what monitoring takes place immediately after a procedure and also several days after the procedure. More information on this topic can be found on the website under the Post-Procedural Care policy.
Record Keeping: Please be prepared to show any of the following: Protocol Files; Medical records/CIF's from animals on which procedures were performed; Anesthesia Records, CIF-Post-operative care forms; and/or Drug Expiration Check Log/Controlled Substances Log.
Personnel: Anyone with any animal contact related to the protocol must be listed on the protocol. Everyone listed on the protocol should have attended an Animal Care and Use Program Orientation and Facility tour. If not, please check the website for Orientation and Facility tour dates. Everyone in the lab should be aware of the Occupational Health program, review the handout, and be enrolled if they so chose to be. Personnel should be made aware of the basic needs of the species in which they are working, proper handling, pre and post procedural care and aseptic surgical methods (if needed).
Occupational Health: Potential occupational health issues may have been documented in the protocol. Be prepared to discuss any hazards posed by the animals and materials used, including exposure intensity, duration, and frequency. Protective clothing suitable for use in the animal facility and laboratories in which animals are used should be supplied and laundered by the institution. Disposable gloves, masks, head covers, coats, and shoecovers may be desirable in some circumstances. Personnel should wash their hands and change clothing as often as necessary to maintain person hygiene. If you are bitten or scratch by an animal, you should notify the Occupational Health Department, or go to the Emergency room if it is after hours. Please notify the ARC as soon as possible after getting the attention needed.
Hazardous Materials: Hazardous materials have the potential of causing harm to laboratory and animal care staff. All Flammable materials should be stored in a flammable storage cabinet or hood. The IACUC may ask to discuss storage and disbursement of materials, dosage preparation and challenge procedures, and waste management and disposal practices.
Compressed gas cylinders (tanks) must be secured to protect them from falling over and shearing the valve off. Chains, straps or cylinder brackets are available to secure tanks to walls or casework. Tanks should be secured in the middle or upper third portion.
When tanks are not in use, valves should be closed, and regulators removed. Shipping caps should be secured on the cylinder neck.
Drug and Supply Use and Storage: There should be a safe and secure storage arrangement for all drugs in the laboratory. Controlled substances must be stored under double locks when not in immediate use. A drug inventory logbook documenting use and remaining balance should be in place for controlled drugs. Each lab should have a documented policy to check that drugs and supplies have not expired. Drugs and supplies need to be "in date" regardless of survival or non-survival use. Please consult the Controlled Substances policy as a reference.
Expired suture material may only be used for non-survival procedures.