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Housing of Laboratory Animals


We strive to maintain a high quality animal care program and to exceed the standards for facilities housing animals are described in the Animal Welfare Act regulations [1], the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide) and the Guide for the GuidesCare and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching. These standards cover daily husbandry, space requirements, environmental control (i.e. light, temperature, humidity, noise, ventilation), social environment, sanitation, waste management, security, facility design and construction, veterinary medical care, water quality, pest control and animal identification and records. For a more detailed discussion of each of these subjects contact the University Veterinarian or a Laboratory Animal Resources veterinarian. 

Remember that all animals must be checked daily. A documentation of the daily checks and husbandry must be kept. For indoor housed animals a log of the daily temperature and humidity ranges must also be kept.
 

Animals Dry-bulb Temperature Relative Humidity (%)
Mouse, rat, hamster, gerbil, guinea pig 18-26 ° C 64-79 ° F 30-70
Rabbit 16-22 ° C 61-72 ° F 30-70
Cat, dog 18-29 ° C 64-84 ° F 30-70
Farm animals and poultry 16-27 ° C 61-81 ° F 30-70
Reference:  Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, NRC, NAP, Washington, DC 1996, p32

According to the Guide, housing facilities should maximize specifies-specific behaviors, minimize stress-induced behaviors, and facilitate health and well-being of animals. The primary enclosures (e.g. pen, stall, cage) should allow the animals to be safely and comfortably contained. Group housed animals must be compatible; and, opportunities for escape or protection must also be provided for submissive animals.  There should be sufficient ventilation to remove thermal load, waste gases and particulate contaminates; supply adequate oxygen and adjust moisture content of room air. Animals that are housed outdoors must be protected from extremes in temperature or other harsh weather conditions.

The recommended space for commonly used laboratory animals at Colorado State University are presented in the next two tables. Professional judgment of the institutional veterinarians may be required to ensure that performance and other standards are met. For further clarifications contact the University Veterinarian or Laboratory Animal Resources.


Animals Weight g Floor area/animal, in2 Height, in
Mice < 0 6 5
  Up to 15 8 5
  Up to 25 12 5
  > 25 > 15 5
Rat < 100 17 7
  Up to 200 23 7
  Up to 300 29 7
  Up to 400 40 7
  Up to 500 60 7
  > 500 > 70 7
Hamsters < 60 10 6
  Up to 80 13 6
  Up to 100 16 6
  > 100 > 19 6
Guinea pigs < 350 60 7
  > 350 > 101 7
Reference: Guide for the Care and Use of laboratory Animals, NRC, NAP, Washington, DC 1996, p27.

Animals Weight kg Floor area/animal, ft2 Height, in
Rabbits < 2 1.5 14
  Up to 4 3.0 14
  Up to 5.4 4.0 14
  > 5.4 > 5.0 14
Cats < 4 3.0 24
  > 4 > 4.0 24
Dogs < 15 8 -
  Up to 30 12.0 -
  > 30 > 24.0 -
Chicken < 0.25 0.25 -
  Up to 0.5 0.50 -
  Up to 1.5 1.00 -
  Up to 3.0 2.00 -
  > 3.0 > 3.00 -
Reference: Guide for the Care and Use of laboratory Animals, NRC, NAP, Washington, DC 1996, p28

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[1] 9 CFR Chapter 1, Subchapter A, parts 1, 2, and 3

[2] Dogs must be provided with space equal at least to: (length of dog in inches +6) x (length of dog + 6) sq inches; divide by 144 to get space in sq feet. Length of the dog is measured from the tip of its noes to the base of the tail.

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Last updated April 22, 2014