Animal Care

Cage Servicing and Sanitation — This is one of the most important spaces in the animal facility. Mobile animal cages are typically transported between animal rooms and the cage sanitation area from one to three times per week. This makes it the busiest and one of the most important areas in the facility. Where this area is located relative to the animal rooms and how it is designed and equipped has a major impact on how effectively and efficiently adequate animal care can be provided. Typically, the main portion of the cage sanitation area is divided into two sides — soiled side and clean side — separated by pass-through cage sanitation equipment and a wall (Figure 8.3). Single-room cage sanitation areas are not recommended. In addition, it is desirable, especially if dust-generating automatic bedding dispensers are used, to divide the clean side into two areas, separating the area in front of the discharge side of the sanitation and bedding dispensing equipment from the clean cage storage area. In some large rodent barrier facilities, there may be a bulk autoclave between the discharge area and the clean cage storage area. The type of cage sanitation equipment (described later) and the amount of space required in the cage sanitation area depends on the species housed, cage types, cage rack capacity of the facility, and cage sanitation program.10 Space for bulk storage of cage sanitation chemicals is also required. Often, this space is provided adjacent to the cage sanitation area, but another good location is near the facility loading dock from where it can readily be piped to the cage sanitation equipment.

Feed and Bedding Storage — Feed and bedding is typically delivered to the facility on pallets and then taken out of the storage space one bag at a time; therefore, the ideal location is not at the dock, but rather as close as possible to where it will be used, which in the case of bedding, is the clean side of the cage sanitation area (Figure 8.3). Usually, this proves to be the best location for feed storage. Of course, all circulation space and doors in the path between the dock and the storage areas must be wide

Figure 8.3 Schematic drawing of a cage sanitation area with two cage and rack washers and one tunnel washer. The area consists of the soiled side (B019), sanitation chemical storage (B021), clean side (B023), clean cage storage and cage preparation (B028), bedding storage (B031), and a small cage parts storage room (B024). It is located adjacent to a pair of elevators that connects the cage sanitation area to a corridor just outside a rodent barrier facility on the floor above. One elevator is used for transporting soiled cages (elevator lobby B020) and one for transporting clean cages (elevator lobby B026). The bedding storage has two doors: one connects to the cage sanitation area for convenient access to the automatic bedding dispenser in the clean side at the end of the tunnel washer (Figure 8.23), and the other connects to a corridor that leads to the nearby receiving dock. The floors on the soiled and clean sides slope toward grate-covered drain troughs the width of the rooms. The grate-covered drain pit on the discharge end of the rack washers spans the width of the two washers and extends out 2.4 m (8 ft) from the washers. The floor in the cage storage area gently slopes to a grate-covered drain trough in the center of the room. Immediately to the left is a containment facility (Figure 8.4).

Figure 8.3 Schematic drawing of a cage sanitation area with two cage and rack washers and one tunnel washer. The area consists of the soiled side (B019), sanitation chemical storage (B021), clean side (B023), clean cage storage and cage preparation (B028), bedding storage (B031), and a small cage parts storage room (B024). It is located adjacent to a pair of elevators that connects the cage sanitation area to a corridor just outside a rodent barrier facility on the floor above. One elevator is used for transporting soiled cages (elevator lobby B020) and one for transporting clean cages (elevator lobby B026). The bedding storage has two doors: one connects to the cage sanitation area for convenient access to the automatic bedding dispenser in the clean side at the end of the tunnel washer (Figure 8.23), and the other connects to a corridor that leads to the nearby receiving dock. The floors on the soiled and clean sides slope toward grate-covered drain troughs the width of the rooms. The grate-covered drain pit on the discharge end of the rack washers spans the width of the two washers and extends out 2.4 m (8 ft) from the washers. The floor in the cage storage area gently slopes to a grate-covered drain trough in the center of the room. Immediately to the left is a containment facility (Figure 8.4).

enough to accommodate the size pallets to be used. The maximum recommended storage temperature for natural ingredient feed is 21°C (70°F).4 Purified and chemically defined diets, though dry, are often less stable, and thus, their shelf life may be significantly less than that of natural ingredient diets unless stored at 4°C (39°F).11 Refrigerated storage space is also required for fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables. The need for food preparation capabilities ranges from none to complex, depending on the research being supported. Safety testing laboratories that administer test compounds in feed require highly specialized preparation areas that allow for safe mixing of potentially hazardous compounds with animal feed.

Housekeeping and Supply Storage — This space is required to support sanitation of animal rooms, corridors, and other support areas. These include storage rooms for sanitation supplies and equipment, including floor scrubbers, and janitorial/mop closets strategically located in corridors and self-contained areas such as the surgery suite, biocontainment, and rodent barriers.

Receiving and Shipping — For most facilities, a dedicated, strategically located, and well-designed receiving and shipping area is essential for handling the large volume of supplies, e.g., bedding, feed, sanitation chemicals and supplies, disposables, and animals routinely received into an animal facility. A nearly equal volume of materials, mostly in the form of trash, exits the facility. Ideally, a separate dock or, at least, an isolated portion of the receiving and shipping area should be provided for trash disposal. Animal shipments out of the facility are a given for animal production facilities, but it is becoming increasingly common in research facilities because of sharing transgenic animals between research institutions. At a minimum, the receiving and shipping area should include a dock, an enclosed receiving room immediately adjacent to the dock, and a room for short-term housing of animals in shipping containers until they can be delivered to an animal room or be picked up for shipment. In order to accommodate a wide variety of delivery vehicle sizes, the dock should be equipped with a scissor lift that ranges from ground level to the height of large trucks. An overhang extending at least 2 m out from dock bumper is required to protect animals and supplies from rain. Consideration should be given to fully enclosing docks that are exposed to a high volume of public traffic or that are located in cold climates. In addition to a standard hinged door for personnel entrance, automatic rollup doors equipped with flying insect air shields should be provided.

Waste Storage/Removal/Disposal — A large amount of waste material, including soiled bedding, general trash, and animal carcasses, is generated in animal facilities. It needs to be removed from the facility without being transported through common corridors or elevators outside the facility. Often, the point of exit is a dock inside the animal facility. Soiled bedding typically makes up the bulk of the waste. The most common method is to dump it into a trash container, preferably inside a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtered bedding disposal cabinet (Figure 8.4), and then manually (transport it to

Figure 8.4 Shown is a soiled bedding dumping station that uses mass air displacement to contain bedding dust, drawing it away from the operator standing in front of the cabinet, while dumping soiled bedding from a cage inside the cabinet. The air draws the dust into the back of the cabinet, where it is filtered out from the air that is first passed through a coarse filter and then a HEPA filter before being returned to the room. (Courtesy of Allentown Caging Systems Co., Inc.)

Figure 8.4 Shown is a soiled bedding dumping station that uses mass air displacement to contain bedding dust, drawing it away from the operator standing in front of the cabinet, while dumping soiled bedding from a cage inside the cabinet. The air draws the dust into the back of the cabinet, where it is filtered out from the air that is first passed through a coarse filter and then a HEPA filter before being returned to the room. (Courtesy of Allentown Caging Systems Co., Inc.)

Figure 8.5 From the view of the soiled side of a cage sanitation facility, shown is a bedding dump and disposal station that disposes of bedding directly to the sanitary sewer system. To the left of the picture is the load end of a tunnel washer. To the near side of the disposal unit is a wall-mounted stainless steel sink typical of a type often recommended for use in animal rooms. The wall and floor finish is ceramic tile with epoxy grout.

Figure 8.5 From the view of the soiled side of a cage sanitation facility, shown is a bedding dump and disposal station that disposes of bedding directly to the sanitary sewer system. To the left of the picture is the load end of a tunnel washer. To the near side of the disposal unit is a wall-mounted stainless steel sink typical of a type often recommended for use in animal rooms. The wall and floor finish is ceramic tile with epoxy grout.

a trash container outside the facility. Other methods used for disposing soiled bedding include dumping it inside the soiled side of cage sanitation either directly into the sanitary sewage system (Figure 8.5), local codes permitting, or into a vacuum system that transports it directly to a disposal container outside the facility. Similar vacuum systems may be used for transporting clean bedding into the facility. Such vacuum systems require dedicated space for the vacuum equipment, preferably outside the facility in order to contain noise and dust potentially generated by the equipment. At one time, incinerators inside the animal facility or on-site were commonly used to dispose of soiled bedding, animal carcasses, and certain hazardous wastes, but environmental protection codes often preclude using incinerators. Today, most hazardous waste and animal carcasses are packed inside the animal facility into special containers and incinerated off site, typically by commercial disposal companies. Space needs to be provided for safely packing the containers and, as was noted previously, refrigerated space is required for storing the containers, preferably near the dock, until they can be picked up for final disposal elsewhere. An alternative means for disposing of animal carcasses includes chemical digestion in specially designed equipment that prepares the carcasses for disposal through the sanitation sewerage system.

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