et al. 2008), while cotton nestlets may lead to conjunctivitis (Bazille et al. 2001). Bedding can also influence mucosal immunity (Sanford et al. 2002) and endocytosis (Buddaraju and Van Dyke 2003).
Softwood beddings have been used, but the use of untreated softwood shavings and chips is contraindicated for some protocols because they can affect metabolism (Vesell 1967; Vesell et al. 1973, 1976). Cedar shavings are not recommended because they emit aromatic hydrocarbons that induce hepatic microsomal enzymes and cytotoxicity (Torronen et al. 1989; Weichbrod et al. 1986, 1988) and have been reported to increase the incidence of cancer (Jacobs and Dieter 1978; Vlahakis 1977). Prior treatment with high heat (kiln drying or autoclaving) may, depending on the material and the concentration of aromatic hydrocarbon constituents, reduce the concentration of volatile organic compounds, but the amounts remaining may be sufficient to affect specific protocols (Cunliffe-Beamer et al. 1981; Nevalainen and Vartiainen 1996).
The purchase of bedding products should take into consideration vendors’ manufacturing, monitoring, and storage methods. Bedding may be contaminated with toxins and other substances, bacteria, fungi, and vermin. It should be transported and stored off the floor on pallets, racks, or carts in a fashion consistent with maintenance of quality and avoidance of contamination. Bags should be stored sufficiently away from walls to facilitate cleaning. During autoclaving, bedding can absorb moisture and as a result lose absorbency and support the growth of microorganisms. Therefore, appropriate drying times and storage conditions should be used or, alternatively, gamma-irradiated materials if sterile bedding is indicated.
Bedding should be used in amounts sufficient to keep animals dry between cage changes, and, in the case of small laboratory animals, it should be kept from coming into contact with sipper tubes as such contact could cause leakage of water into the cage.
Sanitation Sanitation—the maintenance of environmental conditions conducive to health and well-being—involves bedding change (as appropriate), cleaning, and disinfection. Cleaning removes excessive amounts of excrement, dirt, and debris, and disinfection reduces or eliminates unacceptable concentrations of microorganisms. The goal of any sanitation program is to maintain sufficiently clean and dry bedding, adequate air quality, and clean cage surfaces and accessories.
The frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfection should depend on what is necessary to provide a healthy environment for an animal. Methods and frequencies of sanitation will vary with many factors, including the normal physiologic and behavioral characteristics of the animals; the type, physical characteristics, and size of the enclosure; the type, number, size, age, and reproductive status of the animals; the use and type of bedding materials; temperature and relative humidity; the nature of the materials that