Sentinel Health Program

Last Review Date: May 3, 2018


The purpose of this document is to describe the sentinel program designed to monitor the health status of animals housed in LAR in an effort to prevent, detect and control the presence of specific infectious pathogens which may adversely affect animal health and/or influence research protocols. Sentinels cannot detect all pathogens but may serve as indicators of adherence to and effectiveness of barrier systems, containment areas, and preventive practices such as cage opening/changing, animal transport and procurement, use of protective equipment, and introduction of biological products.


A.  SPF mice
1.  A dirty bedding exposure sentinel program monitors the health status of mice in
     the SPF mouse facility (SB). The program employs semiannual serologic analysis of
     outbred mice in order to screen for the presence of pathogens that may
     confound research results. Once a year (first week of October) we test for MHV,
     MVM, MNV, MPV, Sendai, TMEV, EDIM, and Mycoplasma pulmonis.  Once yearly
     (first week of April), we test for these same agents as well as PVM, Reo3, LCM, and
2.  Ectoparasite examination (microscopic examination of fur plucks on cellophane
     tape) and endoparasite examination (perianal cellophane tapes for Syphacia
eggs, fecal flotation for Aspicularis tetraptera eggs, and direct
     examination of cecal and proximal colonic contents for adults of both species)
     are done quarterly on sentinel mice as well. Blood is collected on optispot dried 
     blood spot paper for serological testing. Ectoparasite and endoparasite exams
     are done on site using a stereomicroscope and an optical microscope,
     depending on the testing methodology.
3.  Serology analysis is conducted by IDEXX-RADIL

B.  Rats
1.  All rats are purchased from an approved vendor (i.e., Enviego CRL). They are
     monitored semiannually for Syphacia muris using the cellophane tape test.
     Serology is performed semiannually on extra rats from the primary population and
     includes RCV, Sendai, PVM, Parvo, TMEV, and Mycoplasma pulmonis (the first
     week of October). In the spring (first week of April), the serologic panel includes
     these agents as well as Reo3, LCM, MAD1, CARB, Hantaan, and Tyzzer’s disease.
     Extra rats used for serology are necropsied and visual examination of cecal and
     colonic contents done for adult pinworms.
2.  Serology analysis is conducted by IDEXX-RADIL

C.  Rabbits
1.  Rabbits are acquired from Myrtle’s Rabbitry. When rabbits are in the animal
     facility, one rabbit is tested semiannually (not the same rabbit each time) for
     Tyzzer’s disease, Treponema, and Encephalitozoon cuniculi, depending on
     whether rabbits are being housed long-term (> 4-6 months) or not.
2.  Serology analysis is conducted by IDEXX-RADIL

D.  Guinea pigs
1.  Guinea pigs are acquired from Charles River Laboratories. There are currently no
     guinea pigs in the animal facility. We do not house guinea pigs long-term in a
     breeding or long-term experimentation situation at this time. If this situation
     changes, we will expect to monitor semiannually for Sendai, PVM, PI3, and
     Encephalitozoon cuniculi while adding once annually to this screen SV5, LCM and
     Tyzzer’s disease

E.  Dwarf Hamsters
1.  Dwarf hamsters were obtained from a closed colony.  Two dwarf hamsters are
     tested semiannually for Sendai, LCMV and Clostridium piliforme.
2.  Serology analysis is conducted by IDEXX-RADIL

F.  Degus
1.  Degus were acquired from a closed colony.  The blood panel used for rats will be
     used for the degus.  
2.  Endo and ectoparasite checks will be conducted the same for degus as other
3.  No degus will be euthanized for serology
4.  Blood samples will be drawn from saphenous vein and sent to IDEXX-RADIL

G.  Quarantine Sentinel Procedures
1.  Mice received from vendors or sources other than those on the preferred list must
     be quarantined for 6 weeks in a quarantine cubicle in HSB 004. Sentinel mice will
     be used just as described above for mice in the SPF facility. Blood samples for
     serology may also be taken directly from the new mice using lateral saphenous
     vein collection methods. For additional quarantine procedures, see guidelines for

H.  Grain Mite Surveillance
1.  On a quarterly basis, barrels containing animal feed are tested for grain mite   
     infestation.  Clear tape is stuck on the bottom inside of each barrel liner and
     placed on microscope slides.  The slides are examined via microscopy for the
     presence of grain mites or other parasites.