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Policy#: 529-271

Title: ANIMAL CARE / VIVARIA ISSUES: Authority of the Attending Veterinarian

Effective: 10/20/2021



The veterinarian responsible for supporting an institutional animal care and use program must have appropriate authority and resources to execute the duties inherent in ensuring the adequacy of veterinary care and animal well-being during all phases of an animal’s life.1-4 The purpose of this policy is to establish the Attending Veterinarian’s (AV) (and/or authorized designee) authority to provide and oversee all aspects of animal care for animals used in research and teaching.

Policy Statement

  1. The AV is responsible for the health and well-being of all research animals used at UC Riverside. The veterinarian has the authority to examine research animals at all times. Further, the veterinarian has the authority to oversee other aspects of animal care and use (e.g., husbandry, housing) to ensure that the animal care and use program complies with the Guide.
  2. The AV must have unrestricted physical access to all areas where animals are used or housed (including the vivarium, research laboratories, and research satellite/study areas), subject to health and safety restrictions.
  3. The AV is responsible for providing treatment or euthanasia to research animals or stopping a research activity for cause. The AV (and/or authorized designee) will make every reasonable attempt to consult the Principal Investigator (PI) or responsible members of the research team to solicit their input prior to taking any action.  If the PI or responsible members of the research team cannot be reached, the AV is authorized to provide treatment or euthanasia, or stop a research activity for cause without obtaining approval from the PI or research team members.
  4. In the event of an animal health emergency the veterinarian is authorized to do the following, even if there is a lack of consensus between the AV and the PI: treat the animal, remove it from the experiment, institute appropriate measures to relieve pain or distress, or perform euthanasia. In all cases where research activity is stopped, the AV will promptly notify the PI, IACUC, and the IO of the circumstances, treatment, and outcome for actions taking by the AV.


1.       ACLAM Position Statement on Adequate Veterinary Care. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, Vol 55, No 6, November 2016.

2.       National Research Council. 2011. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition. Washington, DC.

3.       The National Academies Press AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals (most current edition).

4.       9 CFR Ch 1 (Animal Welfare Regulations), Subpart C, sections 2.31(d) and 2.33(a).

5.       The Attending Veterinarian and Veterinary Care. AAALAC Position Statement.

Approved: 1/30/2012; 9/20/2021