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IACUC [Animal Care] Veterinary Care Experiment Guidelines Surgery
Euthanasia Safety Training
Animal Ordering

Protocol Transfers



Per diems

Cage space

Animal Handling

Routine Animal Care

Rodent Breeding Information




Barcoded Cage Cards

Research Activities


Special Services



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Animal Care Services

Animal Ordering

IACUC approval

Before animals can be ordered the intended use must be described in an Animal Care and Use Protocol (ACUP) Form and approved by the IACUC. The IACUC protocol number must be provided when the order is placed. The number of animals ordered is automatically deducted from the total number approved. If an investigator uses up their animal quota prior to completion of the experiment, they must seek IACUC approval for additional animals and describe why the original number requested did not suffice.

Maintenance of Animals Associated with an Expired IACUC Protocol

The University's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) would like researchers who work with animals to take a moment to review the policy regarding how animals associated with an expired IACUC protocol will be handled. This policy can be found here.

Setting up an account

RAR will bill the cost of the animals to a account string number provided by the investigator. The investigator is also asked to provide a "billing name" that will appear on the animals' cage card. Investigators may use more than one billing account if desired. However, investigators are still responsible for using funds approved for the specific use for which the animals were purchased.

Placing the order

Orders are placed by calling the Business Office at 612-624-6169 or by ordering online through RAR's Web-based animal ordering system. Investigators must authorize individuals to order animals; the order can be placed online; and the RAR business staff will process as for phone orders. For online ordering access information view the Privacy Policy for Research Animal Resources and Request for Online RAR Animal Ordering Form located on the RAR Forms Page. The person placing the order will be asked to provide the protocol number and billing account to be used for the purchase. The name and number of a contact person for the animals is also needed. Full details of the animal request must be provided, including the following:
  • Species, Strain, Sex
  • Age or weight
  • Vendor
  • Requested housing area and housing type (SPF, conventional, autoclaved housing)
  • Desired date of arrival
  • Any special requests, such as timed pregnancy, specific health requirements, etc.

The order is confirmed and an order number is given. This number should be used for all communications related to that order. All animal orders are assessed an Animal Ordering Charge.  Additional fees will be invoiced if the order is cancelled by the investigative group after RAR has placed the order with the vendor.  


Order lead time

There is a specific lead time that must be allowed for all animal purchases. These times should be consulted when planning the experiment and prior to placing the order. Late orders will incur additional fees.


The price of the animal may not include shipping costs.  RAR can provide an estimate of this cost at the time the order is placed.  Vendor catalogs can provide this information as well.  If animals are obtained from other institutions the cost is normally negotiated between the investigator and the supplier. 

Dog, Cat, Nonhuman Primate Standard Charges


The final price will be vendor cost of the animal, plus vendor delivery charge, if applicable, plus the current Animal Ordering Charge per order, plus additional fees as needed for business office administrative time.

Charges for Additional Services (Nonstandard Orders)

Our procurement specialists will work with investigators to try to optimize the balance between cost and availability.  Rodent Orders from non-commercial vendors (eg. other universities) will incur additional costs.

Animal receipt

When animals are received the Business Office staff check to make sure the shipping information matches the order information. The animals themselves are checked in by animal care or veterinary staff. If there is a problem the investigator will be contacted. Once animals are housed the animal care staff will contact the investigator to notify them that the order was received. They will indicate the order number and the details of the order. Investigators should verify that the order meets their requirements as credits can normally only be arranged within the first few days of receipt.

Animal  Protocol Transfers

Submitting Animal Protocol Transfer Requests - Download forms HERE

Investigators may request to have animals transferred from one protocol to another or to another institution. These transfers must be approved by an RAR veterinarian or the IACUC. Submit forms to the RAR Business Office. If the transfer results in housing of the animal in the new area, the animal may not be transferred until the RAR Supervisor of the recipient area has approved the transfer.

Submitting Protocol Transfer Requests

Whenever an animal needs to be transferred from one protocol to another (change of investigator, move from a breeding protocol to a research/teaching protocol, renewal of an expiring protocol, etc.) a transfer form must be completed and submitted to Research Animal Resources to officially track the animals and their approved use.

A frequent problem noticed by RAR is that when investigators renew a protocol (approval is for three years maximum), it is assumed that animals housed under the old or expired protocol will be automatically transferred to the renewal protocol. That is not the case. Investigators must submit a protocol transfer to have animals placed onto new protocols. In addition, the renewal protocol must have animal numbers listed in the "Transferred" column on the Animal Request Table or else the animals transferred from the expiring protocol will be deducted from the number of animals that have been approved for purchase.


Housing assignment

Investigators may request that their animals be housed in a specific area when the order is placed. However, all requests are subject to approval pending available space and the needs of the facility. If there is a problem accommodating an investigator's request, the area supervisor will contact the investigator to discuss options. An RAR veterinarian should be consulted for information on the location and general availability of specific types of housing.

Investigator access to facilities

Investigators are allowed unlimited access to the facilities in which their animals are housed with the following caveats:

  • Orientation and training are required prior to access to RAR animal facilities.
  • The access to most RAR facilities is controlled through U-card readers. Research staff must possess a current U-card and submit a request to RAR by downloading the appropriate access form from the RAR website Forms section to have their card added to the access control for their housing area.
  • Keys for animal room doors are requested by downloading the "RAR Key Request Form" from the RAR website Forms section . The form must be signed by the RAR Area Supervisor or an RAR Veterinarian and the employees' Principal Investigator.
  • RAR has established animal care and room sanitation schedules that are posted in each room. RAR's needs have priority during these times.
  • Most facilities are locked after hours (normal animal care hours start between 6:00 - 7:00 a.m. and end at 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 7:00 a.m. until 10-11am or later on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Visitor access

  • Because of the possibility of introducing infection into animal colonies and the potential of exposing visitors to physical, chemical, or biological hazards, no unauthorized personnel or tours are allowed in animal facilities administered by Research Animal Resources. Some exceptions to this policy may be made by the Director, e.g. site visitors, collaborative studies, conferences and visiting scientists. 
  • Children under 13 are not allowed in the animal facilities without prior approval of the Director.  
  • Should you observe any unauthorized person in the animal facilities contact either your supervisor, the manager or one of the veterinarians immediately.


Transport of Animals Within and Between Research Facilities on the Twin Cities campuses at the University of Minnesota

Within buildings:

Research animals should be transported by hand or cart in covered containers that visually obscure the animals from passers by and physically contain animal wastes. Animals should not be transported on public elevators or corridors. RAR may be consulted for advice on the best routes for your needs.

Between buildings:

RAR must be contacted for transportation of animals between disconnected buildings. The use of personally owned vehicles or public transportation to transport laboratory animals presents a risk of contamination of the vehicle and exposure of family members and other non-research personnel to pathogens. A dedicated vehicle which can be sanitized after use should be used to transport research animals. There is no charge for this service if the animals are being transferred from one RAR holding area to another RAR holding area and advance notification of 5 full business days is received. Complete the Animal Move to a Different Location form found HERE.

Transport of Animals to Other Institutions

RAR is responsible for transporting animals to other institutions to ensure that regulatory requirements are met. These include proper transport cages, monitoring of environmental conditions, and preparation of health reports and other documentation. Animal transport should be arranged with the RAR Business office by calling 4-6169. A transfer request form must be completed and returned to RAR. 

RAR Animal Transport Services

No Charge
  • Initial delivery of any animals to an RAR facility where the order was placed with the required lead time. This includes both the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses. 
  • A transfer coming from a RAR holding area and going to another RAR holding area, if advance notification of 5 full business days is received. Complete the Animal Move to a Different Location form found HERE.
  • A canceled animal transport order if cancellation notice is received prior to loading the animal or animals onto the truck. 
Fee-Based Charges
  • When the initial animal delivery is made and the driver incurs additional time or effort beyond the designated entrance, the driver will charge assistance time. An example of an additional charge-item is delivery of the animal to the investigator's laboratory or to and from Nils Hasselmo Hall (NHH) which is a non-animal holding facility.
  • There is a $20 charge if an animal order is cancelled and the driver has already loaded the animals. There is a $40 charge if an animal order is cancelled and the driver has already left the loading area. This charge will be billed through Special Services.
  • For transfers not providing the minimum 5 full business days’ notice, additional fees will be billed through Special Services by the Business Office.
  • For transport of animals to the Minneapolis VA facility, there is a fee which includes 1 hour of technical assistance. The fee must be paid by the shipping principal investigator, not the VA. This charge will be billed through Special Services by the St. Paul supervisor.
  • For transport of animals from the Minneapolis VA facility, there is a fee which includes the current Animal Order Charge (AOC), 1 hour technical assistance for pickup/delivery, 1 hour business office assistance time, and a charge for the facility health review by a veterinarian. These charges will be billed by the Business Office on the Request for Animal Purchase.  

RAR Policy on Animal Transportation - For more information on RAR's guidelines and expectations related to animal transport.and shipping, vendor deliveries, moves within building complexes, transportation between buildings, and exports.click HERE.


RAR recovers the cost of the administration, animal care services, facility maintenance, and monitoring activities through an assessment of per diem rates for various species. These per diem charges are reviewed and revised annually. Per diem rates are based upon principles in the Cost Analysis and Rate Setting Manual for Animal Resource Facilities sponsored by the Division of Research Resources, National Institutes of Health. Per diem rates incorporate costs of animal care as well as unique costs associated with specialized husbandry, such as in quarantine or hazard containment (Biosafety Level-2) facilities for infectious agents or hazardous chemicals.

RAR per diems for mice and rats cover the following:

- use of standard cages and water bottles

- bedding material

- standard rodent chow

- nesting material

- cage changing (once weekly for static cages, once every two weeks for ventilated cages, spot change once weekly if needed)

- room sanitation and maintenance procedures

- unpacking and housing of new animals

- daily animal observation by the animal husbandry staff

- weekly to daily animal health checks by veterinary staff (veterinarians and/or veterinary technicians)

- examination and assessment of animal health problems by a veterinarian

- CO2 euthanasia (unless requested at a specific time and/or research staff must be present to collect tissues or other data, in which case there will be a special service charge)

- internal transfers between facilities requested five business days in advance

- exam gloves, protective sleeves, masks and bonnets required to perform microisolator technique in SPF areas

Barcoded Cage Cards

Barcoded cage cards and the automatic per diem billing system.

The Basics:

RAR has implemented a system of automatic per diem billing for research and teaching animals. It is based on the University Store's demurrage system - daily charges begin automatically upon receipt of the animal and continue until the billing unit (cage, animal, etc.) is actively discontinued. When an animal order is received by the Business Office, cage cards with barcoded information containing the PI name, budget, species, housing, and per diem rate are automatically generated. Animal rooms are regularly scanned to verify the automatic census and billing. Investigators can deactivate a billing unit by placing the barcoded cage card in an Area Out Box. 


  • Per diem charges for cage cards are billed twice monthly and are initially assigned to the same account string designated on the original animal purchase, or, in the case of breeding cage cards, to the account string designated on the breeding card request form.
  • Charges can be viewed in EFS reporting twice monthly, the next business day after RAR billing occurs. Click HERE to go to RAR’s billing activity in EFS.  Go to <Reporting Tools>, then <Query Viewer>.  Enter the query name <UM_FAP_RAR>. choose the first report <RAR Activity by Invoice Date>.  
  • Per diem charges can be viewed by date of service, by account string, by customer or PI#, room code, by protocol or study #, or by large animal #.
  • EFS reporting offers an up-to-date inventory of animals housed in RAR, and the associated charges.
Research Team Responsibilities:
  • Cage cards must be returned to RAR to turn off the per diem billing.
  • Research Teams will be responsible for barcoding their cage cards in the event of Breeding expansion or Separation of cage occupants.
Returning the Cage Cards to RAR:
  • There is an "Out Box" for all cage cards in each animal holding facility
  • The Out Box is emptied daily and returned to the RAR business office.
  • The day the barcoded card is placed in the Out Box will be the last day of billing charges.
Sales Orders:
  • All new animals coming in from vendors will have bar codes on their cage cards.
Breeding Cards:
  • Applicable for Breeding Animals and Timed Pregnancies
  • Two part Card- One goes on the new cage the other gets dated and returned to the business office by placement in the Out Box.
  • These will be pre-printed for your convenience.
Temporary Cards:
  • These are used if rodents need to be separated into more cages for any reason
  • Two part card: one goes on cage the other returned to business office by placement in the Out Box. A new bar coded card will be routed to you through the Area Supervisor.
Euthanasia Cards:
  • Fill out the Card, and place on cage then put the original cage card in the Out Box and RAR will take care of the rest.  NOTE: if the animals are sick and need immediate euthanasia, you must contact RAR directly and not simply leave a euthanasia card on the cage. 
No you will not be billed forever if you don't return the cage card:
  • If you lose the cage card, you will not be billed forever.
  • On a biweekly basis RAR will scan the cards to validate animal inventories. If your card is not scanned twice in a row, the per diem billing will be turned off retroactively to the first no-scan.
Helpful Information:

Routine Animal Care


Animal care staff and Supervisors

Animal facilities are staffed with trained laboratory animal care staff. Each group of technicians is supervised by a Laboratory Animal Technician Specialist (Area Supervisor) with specific training and/or many years of experience in the care of laboratory animals. Supervisors assign specific responsibilities to animal care personnel to provide routine husbandry and care for animals. 

Daily care

Standard RAR procedures are detailed in the Procedures of Animal Care Manual. Routine care includes:
  • Feeding standard diets and providing fresh water
  • Changing cages and bedding
  • Sanitizing rooms, cages, racks, water bottles and other equipment
  • Observing animals and reporting on animals' condition to veterinary staff
  • Removing dead animals from cages; identifying and placing them in carcass coolers; and notifying the research staff. 

Housing conditions

Animal housing conditions are specified in great detail in the USDA Animal Welfare Act Regulations and in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. RAR's animal care program is designed to ensure that these standards are met. Special housing or feeding requests must be arranged with the RAR Area Supervisor. If these requests do not comply with regulatory housing standards they must be approved by the IACUC. A summary of housing requirements is available here. The main issues for animal housing include:
  • Monitoring- animals must be monitored daily for adequate environmental conditions and general health
  • Facilities- facility construction, ventilation, lighting and sanitation must meet regulatory standards
  • Housing- cages must be appropriately constructed, sizes must be appropriate to the needs of the animals, cages must be sanitized at appropriate intervals, adequate socialization and environmental enrichment must be provided
  • Food and Water- must be of adequate quality and provided at appropriate intervals
  • Special Diets / Water - Animals on special diets or additives in the drinking water that are given by the research staff instead of RAR employees, the feed, water and supplies must be maintained on an ongoing basis. If animal cages are observed without sufficient supply of the special diet or water or if RAR cannot determine when the animals were last fed or watered, RAR employees will try to contact the research staff. If the research staff cannot be contacted within a reasonable amount of time ("reasonable amount of time" varies with the species involved), RAR employees will provide standard food and water to the animals. This applies equally to cages or pens which have been marked by the research staff as "do not feed (or water)" or "investigator will feed (or water)". If you have questions about this, please contact your Area Veterinarian to discuss your concerns.

Animal identification

Animals must be identified at all times.
  • Dogs and cats must have permanent identification such as a collar and tag or a tattoo and have a cage card
  • Other larger animals typically have ear tags, tattoos or other individual identifiers and have a cage card
  • Rodents, rabbits and non-mammals may be identified at the room level if all identification information is identical for all animals in the room, at the cage level (cage card) or at the individual level (ear tags, tattoos, ear punches, etc.)
  • Toe clipping is not acceptable without justification to, and approval from, the IACUC. Review the IACUC guidelines and the NIH intramural policy on toe clipping for more information.
  • IACUC Policy on Identification of Animals Used in Research or Teaching Activities
Cage cards or room postings must include the following information:
  • IACUC protocol number
  • Investigator name, department, billing account and phone number
  • Animal species, strain, sex, age, date of birth, date of arrival

RAR provides all required identification for animals when they arrive in the facility, including cage cards, ear tags for large animals and ID tags for dogs and cats. Additional identification such as tattooing can be provided as a special service.

Special Cage Monitoring Cards: RAR uses colored and printer stock cards to flag animal cages in need of special monitoring or attention by either the animal care or research staff. Information about those cards can be found HERE.


RAR can provide breeding services for investigators. This includes mating, weaning and separation of sibs. RAR will maintain breeding records as requested by the investigator and will follow whatever breeding scheme that is requested. Investigators are billed for the technician's time. Requests should be made to the area supervisor. Additional information on breeding rats and mice can be found HERE.

Exercise and Enrichment

Information about the RAR Enrichment Programs are outlined below and also can be found HERENote: Housing of social animals in pairs or groups is routine. Please review the IACUC Guidelines on Social Housing.  If you need an exception to social housing, contact the IACUC at iacuc@umn.edu.

RAR has enrichment procedures for most species of animals under its care. The primary aim of environmental enrichment is to enhance animal well-being by providing animals with sensory and motor stimulation, through structures and resources that facilitate the expression of species-typical behaviors and promote psychological well-being through physical exercise, manipulative activities, and cognitive challenges according to species-specific characteristics. Investigators are expected to cooperate with these programs unless there are experiment-related reasons animals cannot participate. Exemptions may only be granted by an RAR veterinarian or the IACUC.

Dogs and cats

Enrichment can include group housing or other opportunities to socialize such as visual, tactile or olfactory contact with other animals, human interaction, exercise opportunities, nesting material, digging or chewing substrates, food enrichment or other activities that result in a positive psychological state for the animals.

Dogs and cats are normally provided exercise outside of their cages in same sex compatible groups on a daily basis for at least 15 minutes during normal work days. There are some exceptions to this general rule. Animals in the post-operative care program, animals that are ill or animals on which procedures have been performed for which exercise is contraindicated (e.g. cardiovascular or orthopedic procedures) are normally exempted. Aggressive animals will not be released for exercise with other animals. Exemptions are normally noted on the cage card and are also maintained in a log by RAR. Animals less than 12 weeks of age may not be exercised with adult animals other than their parents. If animals are housed in a pen with at lease twice the required floor space, or if they are group housed, they will only be exercised daily if time permits. At a minimum they will be exercised 3 days per week for 20 minutes.

The following requirements apply to all dogs exercised at all RAR facilities: 

  1. When possible, dogs will be exercised in compatible groups to provide social interaction. Such groups will include only one sex at a time. A member of RAR staff will be present during group exercise to verify animal compatibility and provide additional information.
  2. All dogs will wear identification collars during all exercise periods, or they will carry permanent identification.
  3. When procedures are planned in conflict with the exercise schedule, it will be the responsibility of the principal investigator to notify RAR so that the dog is available and/or rested. Requests for exemption from exercise will be handled through the RAR veterinarian in a similar manner.
  4. Exercise is to be documented for all dogs not housed in pairs or runs. A notation of exercise dates will be made on the census sheet for each room.

Nonhuman Primates

Nonhuman primates have extremely complex social and foraging behaviors. They require significantly more enrichment than other species. RAR's enrichment program consists of the following components:
  1. Housing of nonhuman primates in social settings (pairs or groups) is required by the USDA and the NIH's Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare. Requests for single housing exception must be in the ACUP, based on strong scientific justification, and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
  2. Opportunities for social interaction may also include visual contact with other nonhuman primates and socialization with the animal care staff and veterinary technician.
  3. Provision of:  a) Foraging opportunities, such as provision of special "food treats", use of puzzle feeders and foraging boards; b) Environmental manipulanda, such as toys, chew sticks, perches, swings and an exercise cage; and c) Visual and auditory stimuli through videos and television.

Enrichment procedures are varied regularly with nonhuman primates to ensure that the activity is novel. Investigators are encouraged to participate in the enrichment program. However, they should consult with the veterinary staff to ensure that efforts are coordinated and that animals do not receive articles that may be dangerous or excessive amounts of "treats" that could interfere with their normal diet. 

Rodents, Rabbits, Nonmammals

Enrichment for rodents is provided through use of contact bedding and nesting material (provides for normal burrowing and exploratory behaviors) and social housing. Rodents may not be housed on wire-bottom cages if they have litters or if their weight exceeds 600 g. This is to protect them from foot lesions and hypothermia, as well as to provide enrichment. Food treats may be provided to rodents providing they do not significantly reduce the consumption of the normal diet.

Enrichment for rabbits consists of providing them with various "toys" and food treats such as fresh produce and shredded wheat.


Chinchillas are provided with a "dust bath" once weekly which allows for the normal expression of rolling behavior and serves as a grooming aid.

While there are no specific enrichment programs for non-mammals, group housing, use of perches and provision of nesting or hiding places are all husbandry practices that can enhance the animals living environment.

Research Activities

Use of RAR facilities

RAR animal rooms are primarily intended for animal housing. Certain minor procedures may be performed in the rooms, such as injections, blood collection and weighing. Surgery or post-mortem examination may not be performed in the animal rooms to prevent stress to the other animals. Any procedures performed in the animal rooms must be scheduled around RAR's daily care activities.

Many RAR facilities have associated procedure rooms. These rooms must be scheduled by investigators, usually through a sign-up sheet on the room door. There is no charge for the use of these rooms.


RAR does not provide storage area in housing or procedure rooms. Investigators should bring a cart or box with needed equipment and supplies to the anima use area.

RAR performs basic room cleaning procedures once a day. Investigators are responsible for cleaning up after they have worked in an RAR room. If rooms are not cleaned RAR will clean them and bill the investigator for their time.

Removal of animals to laboratories

Investigators may transport animals within the same general area; transport between major facilities (e.g. Minneapolis to St. Paul, from the Health Center complex to satellite areas, movement of large animals) should be performed or supervised by RAR. 

Animals may only be removed to laboratories for periods of less than 12 hours for USDA regulated species (hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, etc.) or for less than 24 hours for rats, mice, amphibians, fish, etc.).  If animals are to be held for longer times investigators must have special permission granted from the IACUC with justification for housing the animals in the laboratory. A description of the care and monitoring of the animals must be provided. 


Food and water must be available to the animals when they are maintained in a laboratory and animals must be properly identified

Care must be taken to prevent escape of animals during transport and contamination of personnel with animal or experimental hazards. Therefore, the animals must be transported in a cage. The cage should be filter covered if hazardous agents are present in the animal, food or bedding. Public corridors should be avoided whenever possible. Traffic flow guidelines should be observed to prevent rodent disease contamination.  See also the information on animal transportation


In most cases animals are euthanized at the end of their studies. If animals are not euthanized, the final disposition must be indicated in the Animal Usage Form. Euthanasia must be performed using methods approved by the IACUC. 

RAR will euthanize rodents at no charge for investigators; euthanasia of non-rodents will be charged time and materials.  These euthanasias are performed on RAR's schedule.  If investigators wish to schedule euthanasia for a specific time and/or wish to be present to collect tissues or other experimental data, RAR will charge for that as a veterinary special service.  RAR provides carbon dioxide euthanasia chambers in most of its animal facilities.  Investigators should be familiar with the use of these chambers.


Carcass disposal

Animals that have died or are euthanized can be disposed of via RAR’s carcass coolers. It is essential that all animals be carefully examined to determine that they are dead prior to placing them in the carcass cooler.

Appropriate disposal varies by type of materials associated with the animal.

a) Animals contaminated with chemical hazards go into yellow bags in yellow barrels.

b) Animals with implants, tags, devices, suture, etc. that cannot be removed go in yellow bags in yellow barrels.

c) All other animals (whether exposed to biohazard agents or not) must be placed in digestible pink bags. These go in matching pink bags in red barrels.

Carcass coolers are located in or near all animal facilities, and some are large enough to hold barrels. Place your bag on a shelf or in the appropriate barrel, NOT on the floor. All barrels have a 50 pound weight limit, so larger carcasses must be sectioned before they can be placed in barrels .

Please also note that the death of any dog or cat must be reported to the RAR office (624-6169) for Federal record keeping purposes. Death of primates, pigs and sheep should be reported to Post-op at 625-0904.

If RAR finds a dead animal, the investigator will be notified. The animal death is recorded on the cage card. The bag will be marked and placed in the "save" side of the cooler. Saved carcasses are held for 48 hours and are disposed of if not claimed by the investigator.

Please also refer to the Department of Environmental Health and Safety's Animal Waste Handling Procedures website for carcass disposal procedures.

Special Services

All requests for special services must be arranged directly with RAR. Normally, housing and feeding requests are arranged with the area supervisor. Euthanasia is arranged with the Business Office as described above. Medical procedures are arranged with the area veterinary technician.


RAR can identify animals for investigators by tattooing, ear punching or ear tagging. This is billed as a veterinary special service.

Tattooing may cause more than momentary pain or distress, depending on the species of animal and the method(s) used to restrain and tattoo the animal. An investigator's planned tattooing method should be outlined in the applicable IACUC protocol, as anesthesia may be required.

Special diets

Special diets or watering requests can be provided by RAR. Charges for alternate nutritional diets are pro-rated with the cost of RAR's "standard" diet subtracted from the special diet cost and a 35% handling fee assessed. Research diets are not prorated. If investigators request a drug or compound be added to the drinking water investigators are billed the cost of the drug plus the technician's time in preparing the water.

When animals are on special diets or additives to the drinking water that are given by the research staff instead of RAR employees, the feed, water and supplies must be maintained on an ongoing basis. If animal cages are observed without sufficient supply of the special diet or water or if RAR cannot determine when the animals were last fed or watered, RAR employees will try to contact the research staff. If the research staff cannot be contacted within a reasonable amount of time, RAR employees will provide standard food and water to the animals.

Special husbandry

Investigators are billed for time and materials for special husbandry requests.

If investigators require their own room and a room is available they will be charged a minimum room charge to be determined based on the specifics of the situation.


Additional charges for cage sanitation are incurred if investigators require a higher than normal frequency of cage changing, use metabolic equipment or other specialized caging, or if the equipment being sanitized is not RAR's inventory. This is billed at the hourly rate listed above.

Fasting requests

RAR will fast animals prior to anesthesia if requested by investigators. There is no charge for this service. Investigators must post the room or cage with a fast request sign that indicates the animal ID, the investigator name and contact phone, the date and time the fast is to begin and the date the anesthesia will be performed. If anesthesia is not performed on the scheduled date, the animal must be given at least one meal before another fast request can be placed.  Placing a fast sign on the cage is the responsibility of the group and must be placed the day before the procedure no later than 2 pm M-F.  If the fasting sign is placed after 2 pm, it is the responsibility of the group to remove the remaining food from the cage. For fasting an animal on a weekend or holiday, the group must speak to the Area Supervisor, Veterinarian, or Veterinary Technician about the plan for fasting no later than 2 pm on the prior business day. Leaving a voice mail or sending an email is not adequate notification unless an acknowledgment is received. 

Other Considerations


  • Fasting = removing food containers.  Water is not removed unless specifically requested.  Loose food in the bottom of nonhuman primate cages is not removed.
  • Rodents, rabbits and other small herbivores do not need to be fasted. Mice, rats, and rabbits cannot vomit.
  • The ideal pre-surgical fast is 5 to 8 hours long (i.e. overnight).
  • Dogs, cats and nonhuman primates may be fasted for up to 24 hours. 
  • Ruminants (sheep, goats, calves) may be fasted for up to 48 hours
  • Neonates should never be fasted
  • Juvenile animals (dogs and cats less than 4 months, pigs less than 2 months, monkeys less than 2 years) should not be fasted more than 4 hours..
  • Fasts longer than 48 hours for ruminants or 24 hours for all other large animals must be approved by the IACUC.
  • If the animal is group housed, it must be separated for fasting, unless the fast is 12 hours or less (overnight).
  • Fast signs with incomplete information will NOT be honored.  In fact, our staff is instructed to always feed and water animals unless complete and specific instructions for fasting are received.
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    The information contained in this site is intended as a reference for University of Minnesota investigators, and animal husbandry and veterinary staff. Drug information and dosages are derived from a variety of sources and do not necessarily guarantee safety or efficacy. Information obtained through this site should not be relied upon as professional veterinary advice. Any medications administered or procedures performed on animals should only be performed by or under order of a qualified, licensed veterinarian.