Animal Care and Use

Safety/Emergency Information for Animal Research

Protective Services (314-362-HELP or 314-362-4357) should be contacted in case of any serious emergency. Steps to take in an emergency within the DCM animal facilities correspond to the overall Washington University emergency practices.

Emergency Guides

DCM Animal Facility Emergency Guide (PDF)

Emergency Support Function – Animal Care (PDF)

Safety Guides

DCM Safety Manual (PDF)

Safety Data​ Sheets (formerly called Material Safety Data Sheets)

Veterinary Emergency Contact Numbers

Contact procedure for EMERGENCIES only

Call BJC paging system at 314-454-7777

Enter the messaging ID number of the person you want to contact, followed by # sign:

  • Veterinarian On Call (any time) 100285 #
  • Veterinarian Technician on call* 200500 #
  • Animal Facility Manager* 200900 #
  • Animal Facility Supervisor* 201000 #

*Available 7 a.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Monday

Enter your call-back number, followed by a # sign. Use a number where you will available. 

Wait to hear “message accepted” and hang up.  If you don’t get a call back within 10 minutes, repeat process.

Infection control

Maintaining biosecurity within our animal facilities is important for several reasons. The integrity of the research conducted with animals relies on consistency of their health status. The presence of viral, bacterial, or parasitic agents in animals can alter research findings. Some infectious agents can prove detrimental to the health of the animals, and a small subset of these agents are potentially transmissible to humans.

DCM has implemented a number of measures to prevent entry of infectious agents into our animal populations. The first of these is animal source control. All animal acquisitions are regulated by DCM. The use of animal suppliers other than those specifically approved by DCM is not allowed unless the animals involved can be adequately quarantined and tested to ensure their health status. Once housed in DCM facilities, infection control measures such as the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) are used to help exclude infectious risks. The animal facilities also implement strict sanitation standards which are most evident in the rodent barrier facilities. The rodent facilities are also regularly monitored for the presence of infectious agents via a rodent surveillance program (see Diagno​sti​c Lab​ description under Animal Related Info). These measures protect both our animals and the people who come in contact with them.

For more information on DCM’s infection control policies and procedures, see other portions of the website or call the DCM office at 314-362-3700.

Occupational Medicine

Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) is committed to providing a safe working environment for all personnel, including individuals who have contact with animals. This includes employees who handle live animals, unpreserved animal tissues or body fluids, animal cages or animal carcasses.

A comprehensive program of occupational health is available to all personnel who work with live vertebrate animals at WUSTL. The purpose of the medical surveillance program is to identify employees with conditions that could place them at risk when working with animals. Studies have shown that the incidence of animal allergies among animal handlers may be as high as 30%. Most animal allergies are of the allergic rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis type. People who have a prior personal history or a familial history of hay fever or eczema could be more likely to develop asthma after contact with animals. Symptoms can develop in a few months or years after a person begins working with animals.

For more information on the Occupational Health Program​ for personnel who work with animals, please click on the associated link. Enrolling in the Medical Surveillance certification through Learn@Work is mandatory. Annual participation is optional for researchers working with non-hazardous rodents only.   Researchers who work with monkeys and/or other animals that potentially carry zoonotic pathogens are required to remain in the program. This course will be automatically assigned annually through Learn@Work.   DCM personnel must be enrolled and remain in the program.