Sentinels

In experimental facilities it is often not possible to sample animals directly from the experiments, and therefore, health monitoring is performed on animals placed in the unit only for health monitoring purposes, so-called sentinels.132 These animals are sampled and replaced at regular intervals and subjected to a range of tests in the same way as it is done on animals from breeding facilities. To facilitate the occurrence of the same infections in these animals as in the experimental animals, these animals should be of the same species. Certain precautions in relation to age and genetics of the sentinels may have to be considered specifically for the infections to be monitored.26 They should be placed on the lower shelves. Furthermore, it is a general principle to supply these animals with some bedding sampled from the dirty bedding of the other animals in the room. This might spread some but certainly not all infections to the sentinels, e.g., it is a safe technique for mouse hepatitis virus252 but unsafe for Sendai virus.147 It is probably also unsafe for pinworm infestation, but for such infections, the diagnosis may be made directly on fecal samples from the experimental animals.

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