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Policy#: 529-347

Title: ANIMAL USE PROCEDURE: Monitoring the Effectiveness of Sanitation by Hand Washing

Effective: 11/16/2020



The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals indicates that, “The frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfection should depend on what is needed to provide a healthy environment for an animal.” The goal of this policy is to ensure that equipment and instruments used with research animals are sanitized appropriately prior to and after animal use and the efficacy of that sanitation is verified.

General Information:

·      Equipment that comes into direct contact with animals and cannot be sanitized in a cage or rack washer, such as most behavioral apparatus, must be sanitized by hand washing. 




       The Principal Investigator responsible for any equipment used with laboratory animals is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of the sanitization and disinfection of the equipment.


·       The laboratory must develop an SOP for how each type of equipment/instrumentation will be sanitized.  The SOP should include:

o   appropriate PPE and any other relevant safety procedures.

o   A description of the method used to confirm the efficacy of sanitization.

o   The cleaning agent(s) to be used and contact time. 

·       The Office of the Campus Veterinarian will  test and confirm the efficacy of sanitization for each type of equipment/apparatus. 


Behavioral Equipment:

         Behavioral equipment/chambers should be thoroughly cleaned with a disinfecting agent between individual animals.

·        Any substrate used in behavioral chambers or behavioral equipment should be changed between individual animals and replaced with fresh clean substrate.


Imaging Equipment:

·       Imaging equipment should be thoroughly cleaned with a disinfecting agent between individual animals.


Assessing the Efficacy of Sanitation:


According to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, “Whether the sanitation process is automated or manual [e.g., hand washing], regular evaluation of sanitation effectiveness should be performed.” 


Therefore, the efficacy of sanitation should be verified periodically by microbiological monitoring or other appropriate methods and the data reviewed to ensure the effectiveness of the method(s) used.


The Guide indicates that the test can be: “microbiologic culture, the use of organic material detection systems (e.g., adenosine triphosphate [ATP] bioluminescence), and/or by confirming the removal of artificial soil applied to equipment surfaces before washing.”


The efficacy of the sanitization method described in the SOP must be confirmed every three years for a specific type/model or equipment/apparatus.


If the type/model of the equipment/apparatus is changed, or the method of sanitization is changed, the efficacy must be tested again.


The Office of the Campus Veterinarian may be contacted for assistance and consultation regarding the method of sanitation.



Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition, National Research Council, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2011


Created and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee on 11/16/20.