Last Review Date: January 6, 2021

I. Purpose

Quarantine procedures are necessary for preventing the entry of disease into the established facilities as well as to separate animals that become sick from the general population. The purpose of this standard operating procedure is to describe the procedures for animal quarantine.

II. Responsibility
It is the responsibility of all Laboratory Animal Resources (LAR) staff and the facility manager to inform investigators and animal users of quarantine procedures and to enforce those procedures for the protection of other animals in the facilities.

III. Procedures for Importation

  • SPF mice and rats acquired from preferred commercial vendors (Jackson Labs, Taconic Labs, Charles River Labs, Harlan Labs, Envigo) with well-defined specific pathogen-free (SPF) status will be accepted into any LAR facility without a quarantine period.
  • All animals must have a minimum acclimation period of 72 hours before beginning use under an approved animal use protocol. Exceptions are pairing of imported rodents for breeding which require a minimum 48-hour acclimation period.
  • Animals received from non-preferred sources (e.g., collaborating universities) with veterinary-approved health histories will be quarantined for 6 weeks in a cubicle room in Health Sciences Building 004. Dirty bedding from quarantined rodents will be autoclaved before disposed of in regular trash.
    • After 48 hours following entry, animals will receive the following:
      • Visual health check
      • Fur tape testing for ectoparasites (2 samples: 1 from head/shoulder blades, 1 from the inguinal area)
      • Group swab for fur mite PCR testing when requested by the AV
      • Perianal tape test for pinworms
      • Fecal flotation for pinworms
      • Blood collection when requested by the AV
    • Mice in quarantine are routinely treated with ivermectin (30 µl/adult) topically between the shoulder blades weekly for 3 weeks and provided with 2-3 mitearrest® balls (7.4% permethrin) per mouse to treat for subclinical fur mite infestation.  Additionally, mice may be fed fenbendazole-medicated food (150 ppm) to treat potential subclinical pinworm infection.  Rats may be treated with either fenbendazole-medicated food or treated once weekly with ivermectin topically (50 µl/100 gm body weight) between the shoulder blades.
      • Fenbendazole feed must be special ordered in advance of quarantine; allow 1 month to ship.
    • Husbandry practices for quarantined animals
      • Quarantined animals will be the last animals to be checked, fed and cleaned daily. 
      • Scrubs will be removed and changed If the animal technician must enter a clean animal room after being in a quarantine room.
      • Animal technicians will wear a lab coat dedicated to that quarantine room
      • Dirty bedding from quarantined animals will be autoclaved before disposed of in regular trash.
    • Before approved for exit from quarantine (~6 weeks +/- 1 week), SPF mice and rats will receive the following:
      • Visual health check
      • Fur tape testing for ectoparasites
      • Perianal tape test for pinworms
      • Fecal flotation for pinworms
      • Blood collection for serology to the level of a basic panel from IDEXX-RADIL 
      • Additional tests as requested by the AV based on test results or health history
    • The investigator is responsible for all quarantine laboratory costs and will be assessed an additional fee to cover quarantine costs (contact the Facility Manager for the current fee).
    • Animals will be released from quarantine when serology results are confirmed clean.  Animals will then enter the general colony.

IV. Procedures for Sick Animals

  • Sick rodents will remain in their home cages (HEPA-filtered microisolator cages) and will be changed last during bedding or clean cage changes.
  • Aquatic animals will be moved to a hospital tank or single-housing unit.
  • Larger animals (e.g., rabbits) will be isolated in a separate housing room or housed alone.

V. Quarantine Exception for Peromyscus sp. Shipped Directly to the Field Research Station Fort Missoula

  • It is the responsibility of the LAR facility manager to inform investigators and animal users of non-quarantined animals at the FRSFM and to enforce procedures for the protection of other animals housed in the core facilities on campus.  Peromyscus are never returned to the main campus and are euthanized at the end of the experiment.
  • Procedures for the importation of Peromyscus to FRSFM
    • The Facility Manager orders Peromyscus sp.which are to be shipped directly to the FRSFM
    • Members of the Cheviron group will unpack and place the Peromyscus into caging with appropriate labeling
    • All Peromyscus are to be maintained in disposable caging (provided by and at the cost of the primary investigator) that are to be disposed of, along with soiled bedding
    • Any Peromyscus received at the FRSFM will be entered into a terminal experimental study, and without exception, all animals are to be euthanized upon completion of the study and animals are never be brought to the core facility located on the main campus.
    • The unquarantined Peromyscus sp. will not undergo any serologic or parasitic testing and forgo parasiticide treatments (current health records to be provided by the supplying institution) but are to be initiated into the terminal study after a standard 72-hour acclimation period.
    • To utilize resources effectively, Peromyscus sp. from the core facility may be transferred to FRSFM for experimental study concurrent with non-quarantined Peromyscus sp. Once the experimental groups within the environmental chambers are rounded out, no other core facility animals may be transferred to FRSFM until the non-quarantined Peromyscus have been euthanized
    • During the period of time that the non-quarantined Peromyscus are housed at FRSFM, all personnel working at FRSFM that enter the core facility on campus will wear shoe covers and a Tyvek suit (provided by LAR) upon entering HSB LAR.
    • After completion of the portion of the study that utilizes the non-quarantined Peromyscus, the bottoms of all shoes worn by the Cheviron group at FRSFM require disinfecting with Peroxigard.
  • Cleaning and All Surface Cleaning
    • All cleaning duties, including All Surface Cleaning (ASC), will be performed by the Cheviron group for the duration that the non-quarantined animals are present at FRSFM
    • Once the non-quarantined animals are euthanized, all rooms assigned to the Cheviron group and the dirty washroom will be cleaned and an ASC performed regardless of the routine ASC schedule
  • Procedures for sick animals
    • Sick Peromyscus will be euthanized without exception