The Vivarium is a service department of the School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD). The director of the Vivarium reports to the dean for research of the SMD. 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.
Vivarium animal housing areas are centralized in the Annex, SMD, and KMRB. Facilities are available to investigators for major surgery, post-operative care, radiology, and necropsy. The Vivarium also provides housing and care for animals in studies using radioisotopes, infectious agents up to ABSL III level, chemical carcinogens and other hazardous substances. Specialized resources include a human xenograft facility, a transgenic core facility, and a hazardous substance laboratory.
The facilities and programs for animal care at the U of R comply with state and federal laws and NIH policies. The entire Animal Resource program is accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC).
The School has been continuously accredited by AAALAC since 1966, and was the 10th institution in the United States to be so accredited.
The Vivarium is responsible for routine animal care services, which include animal procurement, housing, provision of diets and water, daily observation of animals, reporting of abnormal conditions to the veterinary staff, carcass disposal, sanitization of rooms, cages, racks, and other equipment.
The Vivarium also offers special services upon request. These include:
- Feeding non-standard diets
- Providing medication or treated liquids
- Setting up special cages (e.g., metabolism cages)
- Withholding food or water
- Specialized observations
- Restraining animals
- Pairing, weaning, sexing rodents
- Euthanasia of rodents