TABLE 4-6 Recommendations for Shipment of Research Animals Between Institutions
when shipping animals to a colleague. Recommendations for shipment of animals between research institutions can be found in Table 4-6.
Most small-animal vendors have designed shipping containers that incorporate spun polypropylene filters to provide a physical barrier to the transfer of microbial contaminants into or out of each container, thus protecting research animals, colonies, and animal handlers from pathogen exposure during transportation. For gnotobiotic animals (animals whose microfauna and microflora are known in their entirety) and immuno-compromised animals, microisolation shipping containers are also available. Although the sturdy construction of the vendor containers may tempt researchers to reuse them to transfer research animals to other researchers, this practice is not recommended. Most vendors sterilize or disinfect the animal containers, food, and water before loading animals. Once a container has been opened at the recipient’s facility, its sterility has been compromised. Some facilities autoclave shipping containers for reuse; however, this may increase the air resistance of the polypropylene filters, restricting air flow (White, 2004). Until it can be established that autoclaving does not restrict air flow below acceptable levels, the committee suggests that the prudent course of action is to avoid autoclaving shipping containers for reuse. To ensure the biosafety of their animals,