Surgery — In most localities, dedicated space is required for conducting major survival surgical procedures on nonrodent mammalian species.4,12 Typically, this should be a surgical suite. The design of the surgery suite will depend on the species, number, and complexity of procedures likely to be performed. In addition to operating rooms, the surgery suite should include rooms, or areas within in a room or rooms, for preparation and storage of sterile supplies, surgeon preparation, animal preparation, immediate postsurgical recovery, and equipment and supply storage. Ideally, these are separate rooms, but at a minimum, it is essential to limit activities in the surgery room to those required to conduct the surgical procedure, and to separate "clean" and "dirty" activities. Depending on the size of the surgery suite, office space for veterinary technicians and veterinarians may be required. Ideally, the surgery suite should be located near where the nonrodent mammalian species are likely to be housed and arranged to preclude unnecessary traffic through it. See Hessler13 for a detailed sample program description of a surgery facility. Standards for conducting survival surgical procedures on rodents may be less stringent in some localities in that a dedicated space is not required. Even then, aseptic procedures are required. If it is anticipated that a large number of rodent surgical procedures will be conducted, a surgical room located near the rodent housing areas should be provided. It need not necessarily be part of the surgery suite or even be dedicated to this purpose, but it should be designed so that it can readily be sanitized prior to use as a surgery room. See Cunliff-Beamer14 and Brown15 for a description of surgical facilities and management procedures for rodents.

Diagnostic Laboratories and Necropsy — Diagnostic laboratory facilities are an essential component of an adequate veterinary care program. The size and complexity of the laboratory space may vary from a simple wet laboratory used to process samples for delivery to a comprehensive diagnostic laboratory, or may be adequate to support a comprehensive diagnostic laboratory, or anything in between. It is efficient and convenient for diagnostic laboratory space to be immediately adjacent to or a part of the Administrative and Training suite. A necropsy laboratory is required in most facilities by veterinary and investigative staffs. Ideally, this should be located in a relatively isolated area adjacent to refrigerated space used for storing animal carcasses.

Imaging and Special Research Support Facilities — An adequate veterinary care program may require imaging equipment such as x-ray and ultrasound. In addition, MRI, CT scanners, PET scanners, and rodent whole-body irradiators are also often used as animal research tools. Diagnostic imaging for larger animals is typically located inside the surgery suite. Imaging of transgenic mice with MRI, CT scanners, and micro-PET scanners, etc., is rapidly becoming an essential research tool. If such equipment is to be used with animals housed in a barrier facility, consideration should be given to including space for the equipment inside the barrier because many rodent barriers are managed such that animals are not returned once removed. An even more useful arrangement would be to locate the imaging suite so that it can be directly accessible from inside as well as outside the barrier. Properly managed, this arrangement would increase access to the equipment without compromising the barrier. In addition to imaging equipment, a whole-body irradiator for small rodents is a frequently required research tool that should be located either inside the rodent barrier or even better, in a location directly accessible from inside and outside the barrier.

Animal Procedure Laboratories — Research animal facilities have increasingly become more active extensions of the research laboratory with most if not all survival animal procedures being conducted inside the animal facility. The primary drivers for this change are human health issues raised by taking the animals out of the facility, and animal health issues raised by returning animals to the animal facility once removed. Other concerns relate to security and public relation issues, and the biological effects that the transport and change of environment has on the animal, potentially confounding the research data derived from the animals. For these reasons and others, an increasing percentage of animal facility space is being devoted to animal procedure space. For most nonrodent species, shared animal procedure laboratories are useful. A procedure room for every four to eight animal rooms works well. These rooms are equipped with procedures lights and examinations and other amenities that facilitate performing animal procedures. Shared procedure rooms for use with "clean" mice and rats are not advised because of the increased potential for spreading infectious agents from room to room. For these animals, most procedures are performed in the animal room or in dedicated animal procedure space adjacent to each room housing rodents. In rooms housing rodents in microisolation cages, animal procedures are performed in mobile clean benches or biosafety cabinets, referred to here as "animal transfer cabinets" that are primarily used for changing cages. Even though most routine procedures on rodents can be performed in the animal transfer cabinets in the animal room, rodent facilities require a considerable amount of procedure space for performing more complex procedures than can practically be performed in the animal room, including ones that involve extensive equipment. Examples of animal procedure space that may be required in a rodent barrier facility include surgery laboratories, laboratories for diagnostic and experimental imaging, a laboratory for whole body irradiation, and a transgenic and knockout (TG/KO) animal procedure laboratory. See Hessler13 for detailed sample program descriptions and layouts of various types of animal procedure space.

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