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URMC / Animal Resource / FAQs


What is the Vivarium and What Services Does it Offer?

The University of Rochester's Animal Resource consists of the Vivarium and the Division of Comparative Medicine. The Vivarium is a service department of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. The staff of the department includes full time administrative, supervisory and clerical personnel, as well as laboratory animal care technicians and support persons. The Vivarium provides for the procurement, housing and care of the laboratory animals. The animal care programs provided by the Vivarium complement the professional programs and services provided by DCM.

What is a Per Diem Rate?
A per diem rate is the cost to maintain one animal for one day. It is generated from expenses such as animal feed, bedding, room labor, cage wash supplies, uniform cleaning, and facility administrative salary and benefits. Per diem rates are distributed to investigators by means of an annual per diem memo which includes projected rates for three years. View a list of the current per diem rates.
How are my Animal Care Expenses Generated?
We use a census method for billing and program management. There is a perpetual inventory sheet for each account number. Each month, a new inventory sheet for each investigator is placed in binders posted adjacent to each animal room door. Ending animal totals for the previous month are carried forward as beginning totals for the current month. Both animal care staff and investigators note animal additions and subtractions. The recording must be performed faithfully and timely for an accurate census. Monthly, the vivarium staff verifies the census by physically counting the animals for each investigator and tracking account numbers.
A computerized billing program calculates daily totals for each month's inventory sheet to give "Total Animal Care Days". Monthly charges are calculated by multiplying "Total Animal Care Days" by the appropriate per diem rate. Investigators receive a monthly statement for each account separated by species and room.
How do I Order Animals?
Animals can be ordered in one of three ways:
  • Submit your via Topaz Elements.
  • If Topaz cannot be accessed form
  • Call the Animal Resource Purchasing Coordinator at 275-2654.
All these options are described on the Animal Purchases web page of this site. You will be requested to provide:
  • Your name
  • Investigator name
  • Species, strain, sex, age or weight, and quantity needed
  • Animal vendor
  • UCAR and account numbers
  • Contact phone number and box number
  • Animal housing room
  • Husbandry strategy (e.g., MicroIsolator or Standard Isolation)
  • Number of animals per cage
  • 1-way or 2-way room
  • Arrival date desired
Typically, animal ordering is a very smooth process. You may encounter problems if your protocol is no longer active or does not include the kind of animal you intend to order, or the number of animals requested exceeds the UCAR approved number. Any of these situations will require you to contact the UCAR office at (585) 275-1693 for assistance.
**The Vivarium deadline for ordering animals from approved vendors is 4:00 p.m. Wednesday for animals to arrive the following week.
How do I Request Additional Supplies for my Animal Room?
Contact the Animal Resource Office at 275-2651 to order additional room supplies like gloves, shoe covers, cages, cage tags, water bottles, etc. The office staff will notify an animal care technician to deliver the supplies to the room as soon as possible.
What is DCM and What Services Does it Offer?
The University of Rochester's Animal Resource consists of the Division of Comparative Medicine and the Vivarium. The Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) is an academic Division of the Medical School. DCM provides programs of veterinary care, which include training, preventive medicine, clinical and diagnostic professional services. The professional programs and services provided by DCM complement the animal care programs provided by the Vivarium.
For a list of DCM services and charges see DCM Services.
If I have an Animal Emergency, How do I Contact a Veterinarian?
During normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 a.m.), contact the Animal Resource Office at (585) 275-2651 and immediately report the emergency, location of the animal and your contact phone number (if available). The secretary will notify the veterinarian to respond to the emergency.
For all after-hours veterinary emergencies, call the pager number 220-5596. If you receive no response within fifteen minutes, redial the number. An emergency veterinarian is on-call at all times. If you still do not receive a response, page the Vivarium supervisor at 220-0637. He will return your call and contact a veterinarian.
How do I Obtain Forms?
All commonly used Animal Resource forms may be obtained on our Forms page or from the Animal Resource Office.
How do I Acquire Animals from Another University or Non-approved Vendor?
You need to submit an Animal Import Form. The form must be filled out completely to facilitate the ordering process. The sending institution must wait for our department's approval before they may ship the animals. The average approval time for acquiring rodents is 3-6 weeks. For more information, go the Animal Import section of the Animal Procurement page or contact the Animal Ordering and Receiving Clerk at 275-2654.
How do I Send my Animals to Another Institution?
You need to submit an Animal Shipment from U of R Form to the Animal Resource Office. The form must be filled out completely to facilitate the ordering process. Our department must wait for the receiving institution's approval before we may ship the animals. For more information, click on Animal Procurement or contact the Animal Ordering and Receiving Clerk at 275-2654.
A Macaque Scratched or Bit me, What Should I do?
A macaque scratch or bite, no matter how minor, is considered to be a potential exposure to Herpes simiae and should be taken seriously. Please refer to our Monkey/Bite Scratch SOP at Non-human Primate Exposure Protocol for other examples of nonhuman primate exposures, health risks and post-exposure instructions.
What is the Process for Activating my ID Card for Access to the Vivarium?
The following criteria must be met in order for the Animal Resource Office to activate an ID card:
  • The employee must have attended an Animal Resource Orientation session (mandatory for all animal users).
  • The employee must be listed on any of his/her investigator's protocol(s) that he/she will be working on.
  • The employee must be enrolled in UHS Occupational Health Program for animal users with substantial contact if working with nonhuman primates, bats and/or pregnant sheep.
  • The employee must view the Nonhuman Primate Safety training videos and return the sign-off sheet if working with Nonhuman Primates.
When ALL criteria have been met, visit the Animal Resource Office to activate your card. Please bring your ID or student number. Please note that if a student is requesting access, his/her student number is required to activate the badge, as it is the only number associated with the student.
If you would like to sign up for any of the department's training programs, click on Training Programs.
What do I Need to do if I have an Approved Hazardous Substance Protocol and I am Ready to Administer it to my Animals?
Please visit our hazards page for details on ABSL1, ABSL2, Chemical and Radioactive hazards.
How do I Transfer Some of my Animals to a Colleague at this Institution?
  • The original PI submits a completed Animal Transfer Form.
  • The Ordering and Receiving Clerk will create new cage cards to place on the cages.
  • Once the transfer has been completed and approved, the Animal Resource staff will notify the original investigator. A lab representative must pick up the new cage cards from the Animal Resource Office and place them on the cages being transferred.
How do I Move my Animals to Another Room?
  • Submit a completed Animal Movement Proposal Form to the Animal Resource Office. The cages that are to be moved must be marked with a flag labeled "Move" or "Move to."
  • Once approved by the Animal Resource Management, you can either move the cages yourself or the Vivarium will provide this service for you.
Please note: If you are planning on moving the animals yourself, you must submit a move form. However, the cages do not have to be marked. Once the move form has been approved, the Animal Resource Office will call you to inform you that the move may take place. Once the move has been completed, please call the office at (585) 275-2651 to inform the staff that the move has been completed.
How do I Get a Necropsy Performed on One of my Animals?
Place the animal carcass in the SMD necropsy cooler (basement corridor). Submit a completed "Necropsy Request Form" to the Animal Resource Office. To obtain one, click on Forms or go to the Animal Resource Office. DCM will perform a necropsy and inform you of the results. Diagnostic necropsies evaluating colony health are performed at no charge.
How do I Know Which Rodent Room to Enter First?
The Vivarium maintains a list of which rooms are to be entered in which order. In general, MicroIsolator Technology rooms are entered prior to Standard Isolation rooms each day. One-way rooms are entered prior to two-way rooms. If you have questions about the order in which to enter our rooms, contact one of the Vivarium supervisors or DCM veterinarians at (585) 275-2651.