ties (Carissimi et al. 2000; Reeb-Whitaker et al. 2001; Schondelmeyer et al. 2006). By design, ventilated caging systems provide direct continuous exchange of air, compared to static caging systems that depend on passive ventilation from the macroenvironment. As noted above, decreased sanitation frequency may be justified if the microenvironment in the cages, under the conditions of use (e.g., cage type and manufacturer, bedding, species, strain, age, sex, density, and experimental considerations), is not compromised (Reeb et al. 1998). Verification of microenvironmental conditions may include measurement of pollutants such as ammonia and CO2, microbiologic load, observation of the animals’ behavior and appearance, and the condition of bedding and cage surfaces.

Primary enclosures can be disinfected with chemicals, hot water, or a combination of both.2 Washing times and conditions and postwashing processing procedures (e.g., sterilization) should be sufficient to reduce levels or eliminate vegetative forms of opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria, adventitious viruses, and other organisms that are presumed to be controllable by the sanitation program. Disinfection from the use of hot water alone is the result of the combined effect of the temperature and the length of time that a given temperature (cumulative heat factor) is applied to the surface of the item. The same cumulative heat factor can be obtained by exposing organisms either to very high temperatures for short periods or to lower temperatures for longer periods (Wardrip et al. 1994, 2000). Effective disinfection can be achieved with wash and rinse water at 143-180°F or more. The traditional 82.2°C (180°F) temperature requirement for rinse water refers to the water in the tank or in the sprayer manifold. Detergents and chemical disinfectants enhance the effectiveness of hot water but should be thoroughly rinsed from surfaces before reuse of the equipment. Their use may be contraindicated for some aquatic species, as residue may be highly deleterious. Mechanical washers (e.g., cage and rack, tunnel, and bottle washers) are recommended for cleaning quantities of caging and movable equipment.

Sanitation of cages and equipment by hand with hot water and detergents or disinfectants can also be effective but requires considerable attention to detail. It is particularly important to ensure that surfaces are rinsed free of residual chemicals and that personnel have appropriate equipment to protect themselves from exposure to hot water or chemical agents used in the process.

Water bottles, sipper tubes, stoppers, feeders, and other small pieces of equipment should be washed with detergents and/or hot water and, where


Rabbits and some rodents, such as guinea pigs and hamsters, produce urine with high concentrations of proteins and minerals. These compounds often adhere to cage surfaces and necessitate treatment with acid solutions before and/or during washing.

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