Unpacking Live Animals

Last Review Date: September 2, 2020

I.  Purpose

This SOP describes the proper procedures for unpacking shipped animals from shipping containers in a manner that will reduce the number of unknown and potentially pathogenic microorganisms and other vectors/fomites from entering the Laboratory Animal Resources animal facilities. 

II.  Policy

It is LAR policy to meet or exceed all federal, state, and local regulations and guidelines and to comply with all institutional policies and procedures as they apply to the use of animals in research.  Personnel must attend any applicable training in animal care and use, occupational health and safety, equipment operation, and SOPs prior to performing activities outlined in this SOP or work under the direct supervision of trained personnel.

III. Responsibility

It is the responsibility of all LAR staff and animal users to know the proper, safe and hygenic method for unpacking animals from shipping containers.

IV. Procedure

     A.  Shipping containers of live animals arrive at the HSB animal facility, HS009. 

     B.  Check the shipping containers for damage. Damaged containers cannot be             
          accepted from the shipper.

     C.  Call the Facility Manager or AV with questions or concerns regarding the condition of
           damaged shipping containers.

     D.  Shipping containers must be sprayed with Peroxigard® RTU disinfectant and taken to a 
          designated unpacking room (HS016, SB033 or SB066)

     E.  Place the shipping containers on a cart

          1.  Never place the shipping container under the change station where clean caging is
               located for transfer of the mice from shipping container to clean cage

      F.  Cages, cage cards, and all supplies should be pre-set up in these rooms before

     G.  Disinfect the workspace for unpacking the containers with Peroxigard® RTU

     H.  Wear a lab coat, booties, and two pairs of lab gloves.

       I.  After the shipping container is opened, remove the outer pair of gloves and
them into the trash.

      J.  Handle the animals with CLEAN gloves only. If in doubt, put on a new pair of gloves
           before handling the animals.

      K.   Place animals in cages using the appropriate directions from the order form

      L.   Notice the general health and body condition of animals and report any anomalies
            to the Facility Manager immediately. 

     M.  USDA animals require an entry health check (enter information in the animal-specific 

     N.  Contact the AV with any health problems before moving animal cages out of     
unpacking areas.

     O.  Water bottles may be filled, but do not put feed into hopper until the cages are in
           their final housing room.

      P.  If there is more than one transport container, double glove again and follow the
           above steps for each container. 

     Q.  Before moving cages into their final destination room, mist the cages again with
           Peroxigard® RTU disinfectant.

     R.  Place the feed in the food hoppers and place the cage(s) on the appropriate rack.

     S.  Log the arrival on the daily sheet designated for the room where animals are 

     T.  E-mail the investigator regarding the arrival of his/her animals.