Standard on Acclimation Period for Animals Received/Transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill from Outside Vendors/Animal Facilities

Summary

The standards and procedures described in this document provide guidance to all researchers and animal handlers for the acclimation period for received animal transfer/shipments.

Body

Title

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) Standard on Acclimation Period for Animals Received/Transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill from outside vendors/Animal Facilities

Introduction

Purpose

The standards and procedures described below provide guidance to all researchers and animal handlers for the acclimation period for animals received from sources external to UNC-Chapel Hill.  It does not apply to animals that go through Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) Quarantine – in those cases the quarantine period also serves for acclimation. Animals need a period of time for physiological, psychological, and nutritional stabilization to occur. An acclimation period allows animals time to stabilize in a new environment and promotes both animal welfare and reproducible experimental results. The length of time for acclimation will depend upon the type and duration of animal transportation, the species involved, and the intended use of the animals.

Scope

This Standard applies to all personnel involved with animal research at UNC-Chapel Hill who receive transferred animals.

The UNC-Chapel Hill Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) expects that anyone involved in animal work at the University will comply with this Standard. Requests for exceptions to this Standard must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC.

Standard

Newly received laboratory animals should be held for a minimum period of time without undergoing any experimental or other manipulation. The following table provides acclimation periods for various species.

Table 1. Minimum acclimation period
Species Hours required for acclimation prior to survival procedures Hours required for acclimation prior to terminal procedures
Non-mammalian vertebrates 72 hours (3 days) 48 hours (2 days)
Rats and Mice 72 hours (3 days) 0 hours
Hamsters and Gerbils 72 hours (3 days) 48 hours (2 days)
Rabbits 72 hours (3 days) 48 hours (2 days)
Other USDA species 72 hours (3 days) 48 hours (2 days)

Contact a DCM veterinarian for discussion if an acclimatization period cannot be utilized for experimental procedures involving newly received animals.

Ensure that all pertinent information in regards to animal transfers and post-shipments is included within the appropriate Animal Care Applications. All animal transfers must be approved by DCM (including those between UNC animal facilities).

See Animal Transport and Biosecurity Policy for more information.

Exceptions

Requests for exceptions to this Standard must be reviewed and approved by the IACUC.

Definitions

Acclimation: Physiological adjustment by an organism to environmental change

Acclimatization: The process in which an individual organism adjusts to a gradual change in its environment (such as a change in temperature, humidity, photoperiod, or pH), allowing it to maintain performance across a range of environmental conditions. Acclimation occurs in a short period of time, and within the organism's lifetime.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: p111

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

University Policy on the Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals for Research, Training, and Teaching Purposes

For more detailed guidance, please refer to the University Policy on the Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals for Research, Training and Teaching Purposes.

Contact Information

Policy Contact

  • Name: Michael Chi
  • Title: Associate Director, Office of Animal Care and Use
  • Email: mchi@unc.edu

Subject: Animal Health

  • Contact: DCM Vet Services
  • Telephone: 919-962-5535

Subject: Office of Animal Care and Use

Important Dates

  • Effective Date and title of Approver: 11/08/2013; UNC IACUC
  • Revision and Review Dates, Change notes, title of Reviewer or Approver: 11/08/2013; revised 02/2018; revised 4/2023

Details

Details

Article ID: 132188
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:25 PM
Modified
Thu 6/13/24 4:26 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Research-Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Vice Chancellor
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
04/17/2025 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
04/17/2024 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
04/10/2023 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
10/21/2020 12:00 AM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
08/30/2019 12:00 AM