In all cases, appropriate loading and unloading facilities should be provided for the safe and secure transfer of animals at an institution. Facilities and procedures should be in place to help ensure that the environment at the site does not pose risks to animal well-being or personnel safety. During times of extreme temperatures animal transport may be detrimental to animal well-being and therefore may not be possible unless an appropriately heated or cooled means of transportation is available (Robertshaw 2004; Schrama et al. 1996).
Disease prevention is an essential component of comprehensive veterinary medical care and biosecurity programs. Effective preventive medicine enhances the research value of animals by maintaining healthy animals and minimizing nonprotocol sources of variation associated with disease and inapparent infection, thus minimizing animal waste and potential effects on well-being. Preventive medicine programs consist of various combinations of policies, procedures, and equipment related to quarantine and stabilization and the separation of animals by species, source, and health status.
Animal biosecurity refers to all measures taken to identify, contain, prevent, and eradicate known or unknown infections that may cause clinical disease or alter physiologic and behavioral responses or otherwise make the animals unsuitable for research. Animal biosecurity practices should be applied to all species, but they are most important when housing large numbers of animals in intensive housing conditions (e.g., laboratory rodents). Limiting exposure of animals to infectious disease agents requires consideration of physical plant layout and operational practices. Separation of clean and soiled caging and equipment, and sometimes the associated staff, is often fundamental to success.
Animal biosecurity includes all measures to control known or unknown infections in laboratory animals.
A successful animal biosecurity program incorporates a number of elements: procedures that ensure that only animals of a desired defined health status enter the facility; personnel and materials, especially consumables, that do not serve as fomites; practices that reduce the likelihood of cross contamination if an infectious agent is inadvertently introduced; a comprehensive ongoing system for evaluating animals’ health status, including access to all animals; and containment and eradication, if desired, of