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Guide for the Care and use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition
Depending on the health status of the colony animals and consistent with the animal biosecurity program in place, rodents or other animals being moved outside an animal facility for procedures (e.g., imaging or behavioral testing) may need to be held separately from their colony of origin until their health status is evaluated.
Regardless of whether the animals are quarantined, newly received animals should be given a period for physiologic, behavioral, and nutritional acclimation before their use (Obernier and Baldwin 2006). The length of time for acclimation will depend on the type and duration of animal transportation, the species, and the intended use of the animals. For animals not typically housed in research settings, consideration should be given to providing means to assist with their acclimation (e.g., shearing sheep before they are brought indoors). The need for an acclimation period has been demonstrated in mice, rats, guinea pigs, nonhuman primates, and goats, and time for acclimation is likely important for other species as well (Capitanio et al. 2006; Conour et al. 2006; Kagira et al. 2007; Landi et al. 1982; Prasad et al. 1978; Sanhouri et al. 1989; Tuli et al. 1995).
Separation by Health Status and Species
Physical separation of animals by species is recommended to prevent interspecies disease transmission and to eliminate the potential for anxiety and physiologic and behavioral changes due to interspecies conflict (Arndt et al. 2010). Such separation is usually accomplished by housing different species in separate rooms, but in some instances it may be possible with cubicles, laminar flow units, cages that have filtered air or separate ventilation, or isolators. It may also be acceptable to house different species in the same room—for example, two species that have a similar pathogen status and are behaviorally compatible (Pritchett-Corning et al. 2009), or aquatic species, as long as nets and other animal handling devices remain separate between systems.
In some species subclinical or latent infections can cause clinical disease if transmitted to another species. A few examples may serve as a guide in determining the need for separate housing by species:
Helicobacter bilis can infect rats and mice and may induce clinical disease in both species (Haines et al. 1998; Jacoby and Lindsey 1998; Maggio-Price et al. 2002).
As a rule, New World (South and Central American), Old World African, and Old World Asian species of nonhuman primates should be housed in separate rooms. Simian hemorrhagic fever (Renquist 1990) and simian immunodeficiency virus (Hirsch et al. 1991; Murphey-Corb et al. 1986), for example, cause only subclinical