6. Animal Accounting
When submitting the originally proposed protocol, the PI justifies his/her request for animals to be used in the project. This request includes justifying the selection of the species, strain (if applicable), and numbers to be used. When final approval is obtained by the IACUC, the PI is then responsible for monitoring the number and species and/or strain(s) of animals used to avoid exceeding the approved numbers.
If the PI exceeds the total number of animals approved by the IACUC, it is a reportable violation, and the IACUC is required to notify the appropriate federal government oversight office. The IACUC may establish a sanction based on the nature of the violation, including one or more of the following:
- Additional PI training
- Temporary suspension or permanent revocation of the protocol approval
- Temporary suspension or permanent revocation of all of the PI's active protocols
- Denying privileges to submit any new protocols
When tracking animal usage, certain rules apply. When counting mice, typically only weaned animals are attributed to a protocol. However, if unweaned pups are used experimentally, or their sires or dams were used experimentally to determine effects in offspring, all pups born are to be counted against the protocol. Please see the information below.
Also, strains of mice and rats cannot be added without an approved amendment, but the total numbers of animals approved may be adjusted across all approved strains for that species. For example, if 100 mice each of Strains A, B and C were approved for a total of 300 mice, no other strains may be added without an amendment. However, should the PI realize that Strain A was truly the best choice to continue his work, he may use the remaining approved/allowed mice numbers all in Strain A without submitting and receiving amendment approval.
Additional examples of animal accounting include:
- Transfer or donation of animals from another PI donated or transferred animals will count against the protocol to which they are donated, thus the protocol must be amended to include the additional animals.
- Collecting samples from herd or pool animals if a PI needs blood or serum monthly from "one" animal, when in fact blood may be obtained from a different animal each month, the total number of animals used should be listed. For instance, if 12 different animals in a herd/colony may be used, the total number of animals listed is to be 12, not 1.
- For teaching protocols = if 6 animals are required each year, and the animals come from a herd or pool where the same animal may or may not be used each year, the total number of animals for the 3 year period of approval will be 18, not 6.
Don't hesitate to contact the IACUC office or the IACUC representative for your department if you have any further questions.