The Beacon Volume 5, Issue 1

February 2020 Newsletter


2020 IACUC Deadlines and Meeting Dates

Investigators are encouraged to submit protocols that are due for 3-year renewal early to allow time for pre-review by the Protocol Liaisons and the veterinarians. This will expedite the review and approval of the protocol. Should you have any questions, please contact your Protocol Liaison.

Upcoming Facility Inspections:

March 2020:

  • BCMM and SHM IG/BG (3-19-20)
  • SHM BW and CMHC (3-26-20)

Please check your spaces periodically to assure fulfilment of IACUC expectations. The Inspection Checklist the IACUC uses to document findings is available on the OARS website.

Compassion Fatigue Survey:

For those of you who did not attend the “Compassion Fatigue: You Are Not Alone” webinar on February 6th, 2020, it discussed ways laboratory animal professionals can manage emotions with the goal of providing healthy, compassionate care to animals in research settings.

Please click on the link below to take a brief survey so that we can gauge interest in implementing a Research Animal Compassion Fatigue program here at Yale.

While participation in this survey is voluntary, we do encourage you to reply. Please note that all survey responses are anonymous unless you chose to provide your contact information to participate in a steering committee to help develop the program here at Yale.

AVMA: Euthanasia Guidance:

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has recently revised its Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW-NIH) will soon release their expectation for compliance with the AVMA Guidelines. One significant change that will affect rodent users is that the AVMA has changed the displacement rate of CO2 to 30-70% of the chamber volume per minute, increasing it from 10-30% as was in the 2013 edition of the guidelines. Those of you with a variable “bead” flowmeter will eventually need to update your instructions with new flow rates. Everyone with fixed-flow flowmeters, including YARC, will need to have them adjusted. No action is required at this time. We are still working on the roll-out plan that will minimize the time and effort you expend on this new requirement.

Research Liaison Model:

In an effort to improve the quality of service to you and for your IACUC-related needs, we are combining the responsibilities of the Protocol Liaisons and the Research Support Services (RSS) Specialists into a newly-titled position “Research Liaison.”

The Research Liaisons will now focus on approximately half of the protocols to become much more familiar with the work your lab does, and thus providing improved service. The Research Liaisons will work with you beginning with the protocol submission and review process through post-approval monitoring activities like comparative reviews and lab audits.

In order to accommodate this service improvement, we naturally had to change the department assignments, but the goal was to keep as much continuity as possible. The new department assignments may be found on the Animal Research Who to Contact page, under Research Liaison Department Assignments.  Cross-training is currently underway with a planned roll-out in the next few months.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Troy Hallman directly.

YARC Managing Vivarium Access:

For many years, the OARS (and previously, the IACUC Office) has been responsible for ensuring completion of mandatory training requirements, including granting approval for researchers to participate in tours of the animal facilities (YARC Facility Training Part II) and authorizing access with Security.  OARS will remain responsible for directly managing researcher training, but we and YARC have initiated a collaborative effort to transition facility access authorization from OARS to YARC Operations.

For the foreseeable future, OARS will continue to manage the registration and approval process for YARC Part II.  YARC Operations staff will continue to conduct the tours and will now document attendance in TMS and authorize access with Security.

If you have questions regarding eligibility to register for YARC Part II or any facility access authorized prior to 01/23/20, please send an email.  

If you participated in a tour of the YARC facilities on or after 01/23/20, please send your inquiries directly to YARC Operations.

We will keep you informed of any future changes in process and responsibilities as this transition continues to evolve.  If you have any general questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at either email or 203-785-5992.

Recent IACUC Policy Update:

Congruency Review of Federal Awards and IACUC Protocols NEW

Federal sponsors require congruency as part of the terms and conditions of their award.  A congruency SOP for federal awards has been created to formalize the process. Please note, the process itself has not changed from our current practice of the last 3-4 years. The SOP provides guidance on what sponsored awards require a congruency review, how to link a federal award to an approved Yale protocol, and the sections of the grant that will be reviewed as part of the congruency review.

Thermal Support of Anesthetized Laboratory Mammals REVISED

  • The policy for Thermal Support of Anesthetized Rodents has been combined with the policy for Thermal Support of Anesthetized Non-rodents. It is now referred to as Thermal Support of Anesthetized Laboratory Mammals.
  • Key information to note is the following:
    • When using either a Hot Dog Warming Blanket or a Bair Hugger Blanket, VCS recommends never using the highest heat setting (43°C) in addition to putting adequate padding between the heating device and the animal (i.e., thick bath towels).
    • Light bulbs/heat lamps and electric heating pads of the over-the counter type are NEVER to be used on an anesthetized animal. Use of these devices is permitted only when an animal is FULLY RECOVERED and regained the ability to move off/away from the heat source.
    • When using an electric heating pad, the animal must have a way to escape the heat (e.g., place cage half on and half off device).

Compliance Corner

What would you do?

Dr. Smith has three cages of transgenic mice in the vivarium that were used for an experiment that is now completed.  The mice are no longer needed by the lab, and Dr. Smith would like to request that they be euthanized by YARC staff.  One of the cages contains four adult mice, one cage has a single adult mouse, and the third cage has a dam with a litter of nursing pups.  What should Dr. Smith do?

A. Combine all of the mice into a single cage and place a completed EUTHANIZE card on it.
B. Combine the adult animals into a single cage and place a completed EUTHANIZE card on it.  Place a separate completed EUTHANIZE card on the cage with the pups.
C. Combine the two cages of adults to create a single cage with five animals, and then place completed EUTHANIZE cards on this cage and the cage containing the dam and pups.
D. Place completed EUTHANIZE cards on all three original cages.

— Correct Answer: D

A, B, and C are all incorrect because animals from separate cages should never be combined for the purposes of euthanasia.  Additionally, nursing pups should not be separated from the dam.

Now that the three cages have a completed EUTHANIZE card on them, what should Dr. Smith do with the cages?

A. Ensure that each cage has sufficient food and access to water and place them back on the rack in the room.
B. Place a water bottle on the cages, ensure that there is food in the hoppers, and put the cages on one of the designated euthanasia racks in the facility.
C. Remove food and water and place the cages on the dirty cage cart in the room.
D. A or B.

— Correct Answer: D

Compliance Corner - Additional Information

The Office of Animal Research Support periodically receives “incident reports” from YARC staff regarding non-compliance with the policy on euthanasia and the associated mouse housing policy.  We wanted to take the opportunity here, to emphasize the importance of following these two policies: Euthanasia Policy, Guidelines and Procedures; Housing Policy: Mouse

Below is the relevant section from the Euthanasia Policy:

4414.4 Euthanasia Requests to YARC or VCS

Investigators may request that YARC euthanize mice and rats that are no longer needed.  Investigators, however, must comply with the following requirements:

  • A legibly completed and signed euthanasia cage card must be placed on each cage of animals to be euthanized.
  • Age appropriate access to food and water must be available to all animals in the cage.
  • Cages tagged for euthanasia must comply with the current IACUC Housing: Mice and Housing: Rats policies until they are euthanized.
  • Animals from different housing cages cannot be combined into a single cage when placed on the euthanasia racks.
  • Pre-weanling pups must remain with their dam and the entire cage will be euthanized.

The laboratory is responsible for euthanizing mice and rats requiring immediate euthanasia, including pre-weanling pups without a dam and animals deemed a humane concern. Humane concerns and pups without a dam may NOT be sent to YARC for euthanasia.