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3. Record-Keeping Requirements

Virginia Tech and USDA-APHIS-AC Policies on animal use require written documentation of all procedures performed on live animals. In this manner, we can track the use of animal(s) over time, as well as provide mandatory reports to regulatory oversight or accrediting agencies; e.g., IACUC, USDA, AAALAC International, and the DEA. These agencies will also inspect our animal records during either planned or unplanned inspection visits to our facilities.

Per USDA's Policy #3, Veterinary Care, animal health records must be sufficiently detailed to convey necessary information to all personnel involved in an animal's care and be sufficiently comprehensive to demonstrate the delivery of adequate health care, consistent with professional standards. Individual records will be maintained for animals used individually and located at the University for prolonged periods of time; e.g., dogs, cats, horses, goats, and ferrets. Group records (i.e., cage cards) may be maintained for animals housed and treated as a group; e.g., mice and rats.

Specifically, health records for USDA regulated species must include:

  • 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 may be beneficial.)
  • Treatment plans should also include a diagnosis and prognosis, and detail the type, frequency, and duration of any treatment and the criteria and/or schedule for re-evaluation(s) by the attending veterinarian.
  • Surgical records should also include detailed pre- and post-, as well as intra-operation, notes.

Please contact the facility supervisor for the area in which your animals are housed for specific forms and record keeping requirements. The information required will include, but may not be limited to, all procedures performed on live animals (including surgery), the types and amounts of drugs administered (e.g., anesthetic agents, analgesics, tranquilizers), complications arising from any procedures undertaken, as well as objective data on the routine health status of the animal.

All animal records will be maintained in close proximity to the animals. At the time of termination of animals from a protocol, the animal's records will be removed from the animal room/area and filed in the Vivarium office for a minimum of three years. Controlled substance records must be maintained in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations on Food and Drugs, Title 21. These records must be kept with controlled substances in a secured area as per University policy and federal regulations.