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If automatic watering systems are used, some mechanism to ensure that microorganisms and debris do not build up in the watering devices is recommended. The mechanism can be periodic flushing with large volumes of water or appropriate chemical agents followed by a thorough rinsing. Constant-recirculation loops that use properly maintained filters, ultraviolet lights, or other devices to sterilize recirculated water are also effective.
Conventional methods of cleaning and disinfection are adequate for most animal care equipment. However, if pathogenic microorganisms are present or if animals with highly defined microbiologic flora or compromised immune systems are maintained, it might be necessary to sterilize caging and associated equipment after cleaning and disinfection. Sterilizers should be regularly calibrated and monitored to ensure their safety and effectiveness.
Cleaning and Disinfection of Secondary Enclosures
All components of the animal facility, including animal rooms and support spaces (such as storage areas, cage-washing facilities, corridors, and procedure rooms) should be cleaned regularly and disinfected as appropriate to the circumstances and at a frequency based on the use of the area and the nature of likely contamination.
Cleaning utensils should be assigned to specific areas and should not be transported between areas that pose different risks of contamination. Cleaning utensils themselves should be cleaned regularly and should be constructed of materials that resist corrosion. Worn items should be replaced regularly. The utensils should be stored in a neat, organized fashion that facilitates drying and minimizes contamination.
Assessing the Effectiveness of Sanitation
Monitoring of sanitation practices should be appropriate to the process and materials being cleaned; it can include visual inspection of the materials, monitoring of water temperatures, or microbiologic monitoring. The intensity of animal odors, particularly that of ammonia, should not be used as the sole means of assessing the effectiveness of the sanitation program. A decision to alter the frequency of cage-bedding changes or cage-washing should be based on such factors as the concentration of ammonia, the appearance of the cage, the condition of the bedding and the number and size of animals housed in the cage.
Conventional, biologic, and hazardous waste should be removed and disposed of regularly and safely (NSC 1979). There are several options for effective waste disposal. Contracts with licensed commercial waste-disposal firms usually