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Guide for the Care and use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition
that takes into account both personnel and animals should be prepared as part of the overall safety plan for the animal facility. The colony manager or veterinarian responsible for the animals should be a member of the appropriate safety committee at the institution, an “official responder” in the institution, and a participant in the response to a disaster (Vogelweid 1998).
Identification Animal records are useful and variable, ranging from limited information on identification cards to detailed computerized records for individual animals (Field et al. 2007). Means of animal identification include room, rack, pen, stall, and cage cards with written, bar-coded, or radio frequency identification (RFID) information. Identification cards should include the source of the animal, the strain or stock, names and contact information for the responsible investigator(s), pertinent dates (e.g., arrival date, birth date, etc.), and protocol number when applicable. Genotype information, when applicable, should also be included, and consistent, unambiguous abbreviations should be used when the full genotype nomenclature (see below) is too lengthy.
In addition, the animals may wear collars, bands, plates, or tabs or be marked by colored stains, ear notches/punches and tags, tattoos, subcutaneous transponders, and freeze brands. As a method of identification of small rodents, toe-clipping should be used only when no other individual identification method is feasible. It may be the preferred method for neonatal mice up to 7 days of age as it appears to have few adverse effects on behavior and well-being at this age (Castelhano-Carlos et al. 2010; Schaefer et al. 2010), especially if toe clipping and genotyping can be combined. Under all circumstances aseptic practices should be followed. Use of anesthesia or analgesia should be commensurate with the age of the animals (Hankenson et al. 2008).
Recordkeeping Records containing basic descriptive information are essential for management of colonies of large long-lived animals and should be maintained for each animal (Dyke 1993; Field et al. 2007; NRC 1979a). These records often include species, animal identifier, sire and/or dam identifier, sex, birth or acquisition date, source, exit date, and final disposition. Such animal records are essential for genetic management and historical assessments of colonies. Records of rearing and housing histories, mating histories, and behavioral profiles are useful for the management of many species, especially nonhuman primates (NRC 1979a). Relevant recorded information should be provided when animals are transferred between institutions.
Medical records for individual animals can also be valuable, especially for dogs, cats, nonhuman primates, and agricultural animals (Suckow and Doerning 2007). They should include pertinent clinical and diagnostic information,