Standard of Care for Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) Mice

Date Adopted: May 2002

LAst Review Date: September 12, 2017


I.  Policy

The Department of Laboratory Animal Resources (LAR) maintains a specific pathogen free (SPF) animal area for SPF mice. The LAR staff will implement and monitor compliance with SPF standards of care and use of all SPF-designated mice. Violations will be recorded and reported to the IACUC through the IACUC Coordinator, IACUC Chair, or LAR personnel. Procedures for reporting violations to the IACUC are posted on the IACUC web site.

II. Procedure

A.  The Department of Laboratory Animal Resources and the IACUC have established
      that ALL mice housed or entering the Skaggs Building animal facilities (north or
      south)  will be maintained under SPF conditions. The rationale for this decision is
      based on: 

1.  The need to maintain numerous mice under SPF conditions.
2.  Most investigators conduct experiments that require SPF mice. SPF mice are often
     shipped to other institutions for collaboration. Many institutions will not accept
     non-SPF mice.
3.  SPF mice are under high risk when housed near non-SPF rodents. Viruses, ecto-
     and endoparasites present a real risk to SPF mice that may be
     immunocompromised or have other specific traits, gene manipulations, etc.
4.  Contamination of SPF mice is very costly and results in an unacceptable waste of
     animals because contaminated mice must be euthanized without justified
     experimental purpose.
5.  It places an undue burden on the animal care staff to maintain SPF and non-SPF
     colonies in the same facility.

B.  Personnel training for SPF animal care and use
1.  All SPF animal care and use personnel will be trained by LAR personnel on SPF
2.  ll SPF trained personnel must follow the SPF care and use guidelines at all times.

C.  Entering and leaving SPF facilities
1.  You should not enter the SPF facility if you have previously worked in a non-SPF
     rodent room that day unless you first change your scrubs.
2.  Open-toed shoes are not allowed in any LAR animal facilities.
3.  Only LAR trained personnel or visitors accompanied by LAR trained personnel
     may enter the SPF facility.
4.  Use your Griz card for access. If you do not have a Griz card or Griz card access,
     you must sign in and out, and you must be accompanied by a trained user with
     Griz card access at all times.
5.  Outside lab coats are not allowed in the facilities as these can carry unwanted   
     contaminants in and out of the facilities. Lab coats are provided inside the animal
     rooms (with extra coats provided upon request by the LAR staff).
6.  Decontaminate all carts and outside materials that are brought into the facility in
     the anteroom with an approved disinfectant.
7.  Place shoe covers over your shoes (provided in anteroom) when you enter the
     SPF facility. LAR staff may use facility-specific (north Skaggs or south Skaggs) shoes
     that are not worn outside the specified animal facility.
8.  Once you enter a mouse room, put on a room lab coat (white) and gloves
     provided inside the individual mouse rooms.
9.  When leaving the mouse room, take off gloves and mask (if used) and dispose in
     garbage can. Wash hands with soap and water. Remove the room lab coat
     (white) and hang on rack in room. Leave shoe covers on.
     10.  Upon exiting the SPF animal facility, remove shoe covers as you step through the
            main door into the anteroom. Place all disposables in the garbage can provided.
D.  Receiving rodents under SPF conditions
1.  All rodents entering the facility must originate from an SPF approved vendor
     facility, or after successfully completing quarantine in LAR. Health reports. 
     documenting the SPF condition and care of the rodents previous to shipping must
     be sent to the AV for approval before the shipment can be accepted.
2.  LAR staff will follow established procedures for unpacking and housing SPF mice.
3.  Once mice exit an SPF facility, they may not reenter without explicit permission 
     from the LAR Facility Manager.

E.  SPF protocol for care and use of mice
1.  All mice must be housed in microisolator cages. Each cage will have a cage card
     stating the number of animals contained in the cage, the PI, the IACUC protocol
     number, the strain of animal, birth date, wean date, and any other specific
     information. The cards must be completely filled out or this will be considered a
2.  To enter a SPF room, immediately put on a lab coat followed by gloves, etc.
     Follow the same procedure when you leave: First discard gloves, masks, etc., and
     leave the lab coat in that room. Do NOT wear the same lab coat in another   
     room or outside of that room. The lab coats are dedicated to each room.
3.  Before beginning work, wear gloves and clean the working surface with
     disinfectant. Avoid opening more than one cage at the same time. Disinfect your
     gloves between opening unrelated cages. Clean any bedding or feces from the
     working surface between unrelated cages and upon completion of your work.
4.  Mice should not be transferred between rooms without consulting with LAR staff
     and both principal investigators involved in the transfer. Inter-room transfers may
     be included as part of the animal use protocol. All cages leaving the facility must
     be returned to the dirty cage room in the Health Sciences building or South
     Skaggs unless otherwise directed by LAR personnel.
5.  Animals may only be returned to the facility with prior approval of the LAR Facility
     Manager. This is discouraged, but may be necessary for certain experiments.
6.  Disinfect the cages and the wheels of the cart by spraying them with disinfectant
     before returning them to the SPF facility.

F.  Serology
1.  Each SPF room, which includes each investigators colony, will have serology
     conducted every 3 months on either sentinel mice or randomly selected and
     approved mice. Opti-spot blood sampling is sent to IDEXX-Radil for analysis.
2.  All health reports and serology reports and results will be provided to PIs by the
     LAR Facility Manager or IACUC Coordinator. Reports will be kept on file by LAR
     staff and will be available to all investigators upon request.
3.  Sick mice must be immediately reported to the LAR Facility Manager and/or AV.
     After evaluation, the Facility Manager and/or AV will recommend a suitable
     course of action be taken for the sick animal(s) which may include continued
     observation, treatment options or euthanasia.
4.  Any contamination or seropositive result will be confirmed via additional testing
     and then reported to all investigators within 24 hours so that extra precaution may
     be observed.