Last Updated: August 24, 2020

Principal investigators should carefully evaluate ongoing and planned animal activities given the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation.

For detailed instructions, please go to Animal Care and Use COVID-19 Guidance FAQ page.

Guidelines for Ramping Up

Note: Space continues to be a critical issue for our WashU animal facilities, and animal holding should be restricted to active research projects only.

We recommend that Researchers:

  • Scale up breeding colonies or purchases to return to your pre-pandemic census (or less) gradually over the next 3 months. This will give DCM time to recruit and train replacement caretakers.
  • If you cryopreserved lines that will not be needed for your research for at least 2 years, please take those colonies off the shelf. Continue the effort to cryopreserve both critical mouse lines and lines that are no longer needed on the shelf. These services are available from two WashU cores. See the detailed instructions link above for contact information
  • Continue to prioritize experiments based on available laboratory staff and resources. COVID-19 restrictions will continue to affect availability of working space in holding rooms and animal procedure rooms. If you have trouble accessing your animals, speak with the facility supervisor or manager. Possible options may include: implementation of sign-up sheets or electronic reservations for resources; scheduling DCM change activities for a different day or time; changing to a 14:10 light cycle to extend the working day in your holding room.
  • Pay close attention to posted signs about PPE in the animal facility. PPE guidance may change frequently. Availability of PPE continues to be an issue due to supply chain disruption. DCM will be substituting or in some cases eliminating the requirement for certain items of PPE, and we expect this situation to remain fluid for at least 10 more months.
  • If you have been out of the lab, please carefully check expiration dates on any animal drugs. Label and segregate any expired drugs and then contact DCM for disposal of controlled substances or EHS for disposal of other drugs.
  • If you have an isoflurane vaporizer, please check the certification date. The IACUC has granted a six month extension (e.g. if you were due in March, your new due date is in September). If your vaporizer needs to be certified, please contact Dr. Jenny Kalishman.
  • If you reactivated a satellite housing facility, be sure to notify the IACUC by emailing iacuc@wustl.edu.

Resources

In the event that a ramp-down becomes necessary:

  • Delay new projects and refrain from setting up new breeding cages
  • Develop plans to scale back your breeding colonies
  • Cryopreserve critical mouse lines. These services are available from two WashU cores. See the detailed instructions link above for contact information
  • When possible, conclude experiments at an earlier time point to collect essential data
  • Continually determine if ongoing experiments can be continued with the available lab staff
  • Prioritize experiments based on available laboratory staff and resources
  • Create an emergency contact list for your research staff to ensure communication within your group
  • DCM staff may need to contact you about the care of your animals. Please update your IACUC protocol in the LAMPS system to ensure DCM staff have access to your contact information
  • Notify the DCM Business office to reschedule animal orders if planned experiments are canceled or delayed. Some vendors are waiving cancellation fees
  • How to Care for animals if research staff have limited access to campus:
  • The Department of Comparative Medicine, which oversees animal care, has continuity plans in place to continue to provide routine care (food, water, sanitation, health checks) and routine veterinary care. DCM staff will continue to have access to campus
  • DCM is currently well stocked on essential items for animal care
  • If you have a satellite facility, in the event of a shut-down, you must make arrangements with DCM for interim care of your colony. Contact your facility supervisor about your options.