Health care for experimental animals at Einstein is provided by the veterinarians and veterinary technicians of the Institute for Animal Studies (IAS). All animals are checked daily by animal caretakers, veterinary technicians and/or veterinarians, 365 days per year. Almost all of the animals used at Einstein are bred for research, with the exception of lesser-used species like Xenopus frogs. Only bred-for-research dogs and cats are used, since Einstein policy precludes the use of dogs and cats obtained from pounds. More than 95% of the animals used for research at Einstein are rats and mice, and each animal is used only under an animal use protocol approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
Every effort is made to keep animals healthy, however, some animals show signs which could be due to disease. Sick animals are reported by animal caretakers to the veterinarians by use of the yellow sick cards. The animal caretaker fills out the 2-part card, places one half on the animal’s cage. The other half goes to the veterinarian or veterinary technician, who then checks the animal. If the animal appears sick or needs attention, the veterinarian or the veterinary technician then contacts the faculty member or his/her collaborators to make a treatment plan.
If investigators or collaborators wish to have their animals examined by a veterinarian, they may fill out and turn in a yellow sick card, or they may contact a veterinarian as listed below:
Investigators are notified of dead animals by using a 3-part green card. When an animal caretaker finds a dead rodent, one part is put on the dead animal’s cage, one part is sent to our office, and one part is used to tag the animal carcass. Animal carcasses are refrigerated for 48 hours in room 617 Chanin, room 1008 Ullmann or in the refrigerator in Kennedy Center, then the carcasses are discarded. If you notice an excessive number of dead animals among your colony, please contact a veterinarian as noted above. Veterinarians are notified directly if a non-rodent is sick or dead. If you have unanswered questions regarding veterinary services or animal health, contact Dr. Lawrence Herbst at 718.839.7135.
Quality Assurance for Rodents. We have an extensive program to protect and monitor the health of animals residing on-campus. This includes monitoring each animal population (room or cubicle) by the use of “sentinel” animals. Sentinel animals are exposed to animals in the population by contact or by soiled bedding, then they are monitored for evidence of infection with agents which infect humans and animals on a pre-scheduled basis. Sentinel animals have pink cage cards with white labels.
Rodent Barrier Procedures. Many rodents need special protective procedures to exclude infection and infestation by animal pathogens.
Animal rooms within each building and between buildings should be entered in a “clean - to - dirty” order.