ensure access to food for all animals, especially if feed is restricted as part of the protocol or management routine. Food storage containers should not be transferred between areas that pose different risks of contamination without appropriate treatment, and they should be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
Management of caloric intake is an accepted practice for long-term housing of some species, such as some rodents, rabbits, and nonhuman primates, and as an adjunct to some clinical, experimental, and surgical procedures (for more discussion of food and fluid regulation as an experimental tool see Chapter 2 and NRC 2003a). Benefits of moderate caloric restriction in some species may include increased longevity and reproduction, and decreased obesity, cancer rates, and neurogenerative disorders (Ames et al. 1993; Colman et al. 2009; Keenan et al. 1994, 1996; Lawler et al. 2008; Weindruch and Walford 1988).
Under standard housing conditions, changes in biologic needs commensurate with aging should be taken into consideration. For example, there is good evidence that mice and rats with continuous access to food can become obese, with attendant metabolic and cardiovascular changes such as insulin resistance and higher blood pressure (Martin et al. 2010). These and other changes along with a more sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise increase the risk of premature death (ibid.). Caloric management, which may affect physiologic adaptations and alter metabolic responses in a species-specific manner (Leveille and Hanson 1966), can be achieved by reducing food intake or by stimulating exercise.
In some species (e.g., nonhuman primates) and on some occasions, varying nutritionally balanced diets and providing “treats,” including fresh fruit and vegetables, can be appropriate and improve well-being. Scattering food in the bedding or presenting part of the diet in ways that require the animals to work for it (e.g., puzzle feeders for nonhuman primates) gives the animals the opportunity to forage, which, in nature, normally accounts for a large proportion of their daily activity. A diet should be nutritionally balanced; it is well documented that many animals offered a choice of unbalanced or balanced foods do not select a balanced diet and become malnourished or obese through selection of high-energy, low-protein foods (Moore 1987). Abrupt changes in diet, which can be difficult to avoid at weaning, should be minimized because they can lead to digestive and metabolic disturbances; these changes occur in omnivores and carnivores, but herbivores (Eadie and Mann 1970) are especially sensitive.
Water Animals should have access to potable, uncontaminated drinking water according to their particular requirements. Water quality and the definition of potable water can vary with locality (Homberger et al. 1993). Periodic monitoring for pH, hardness, and microbial or chemical contamination may be necessary to ensure that water quality is acceptable, particularly for use in studies in which normal components of water in a given locality