Approved by Animal Institute Committee: 10/12/99
Dogs utilized in experimental research must be provided with the opportunity for exercise. A written plan must be submitted to the Animal Institute Committee that outlines the procedures to be followed in providing exercise for dogs. The plan must be made available to Regulatory agencies, and must comply with the following:
Dogs Housed Individually
Dogs over 12 weeks of age, with the exception of bitches with litters, must be provided the opportunity for exercise regularly if they are housed individually in cages, pens, or runs that provide less than two times the required floor space for that dog, as described below.
Dogs Housed in Groups
Dogs over 12 weeks of age housed in groups do not require additional opportunity for exercise regularly if they are maintained in cages, pens or runs that provide in total at least 100% of the required space for each dog if maintained separately.
Floor Space Requirements for Dogs
Each dog housed in a primary enclosure must be provided with a minimum amount of floor space, to be calculated as follows:
Find the mathematical square of the sum of the length of the dog (in inches), measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail, then add six inches. The calculation is: (length of dog in inches + 6) X (length of dog in inches + 6) = floor space in square inches.
Each bitch with nursing puppies must be provided with an additional amount of floor space, depending on breed and behavior. Housing must be approved by the attending veterinarian if the additional amount of floor space for each puppy is less than 5% of the minimum requirement for the bitch.
The interior height of a primary enclosure must be at least 6 inches higher than the head of the tallest dog in the enclosure when in a standing position.
The attending veterinarian is responsible for determining the frequency, method, and duration of the opportunity for exercise. The Animal Institute Committee is responsible for providing consultation with the attending veterinarian and for approving plans describing the opportunity for exercise for dogs. Physical contact with humans that encourages exercise through play or other activities should be taken into consideration when determining the plan for exercise. If a dog is housed in a facility without sensory contact with another dog, the dog must be provided with positive physical contact with humans every day.
The opportunity for exercise may be provided as follows:
- Group housing in cages, pens, or runs, that provides at least 100% of the required space for each dog if maintained separately under the minimum floor space requirements.
- Maintaining individually housed dogs in cages, pens, or runs that provide at least twice the minimum floor space requirement.
- Providing access to a run or open area at the frequency and duration prescribed by the attending veterinarian.
- Other similar activities.
Forced exercise methods or devices such as treadmills, swimming, or carousel-type devices are unacceptable.
If it is the opinion of the attending veterinarian that it is inappropriate for certain dogs to exercise because of health, condition, or well-being, the requirement for the opportunity for exercise for these dogs may be exempted. Such exemption must be documented by the attending veterinarian and reviewed every 30 days unless the basis for exemption is a permanent condition.
The requirement for the opportunity for exercise for dogs may be exempted if the Principal Investigator determines for scientific reasons that it is inappropriate for certain dogs to exercise. These reasons must be documented in the research proposal and reviewed by the Animal Institute Committee.
NOTE: Records of exemptions must be maintained and made available to USDA officials or any pertinent Regulatory agency upon request.