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Physical Restraint

"Physical restraint is the use of manual or mechanical means to limit some or all of an animal's normal movement for the purpose of examination, collection of samples, drug administration, therapy or experimental manipulation." ILAR Guide, 1996.

Prolonged (lasting longer than 15 minutes) restraint should be used only if essential for achieving research objectives and requires prior approval by the IACUC. Less-restrictive systems that do not limit an animal's ability to make normal postural adjustments, such as a tether system for caged animals and stanchions for farm animals, are recommended when compatible with protocol objectives.

The period of restraint must be the minimum necessary to accomplish research objectives. Animals should be adapted to the restraint equipment and personnel prior to the start of the experimental period. Restraint devices should also be designed to prevent injury to animals or personnel. Animals must be monitored and if restrained for more than 3 hours, allowed access to food and water at appropriate intervals (these intervals must be clearly stated in the experimental protocol). Unless scientifically justified and approved by the IACUC, animals should be released from restraint devices periodically and allowed unrestrained activity to help prevent lesions or illnesses associated with restraint.

Investigators must provide sufficient information in their protocol form (submitted for IACUC approval) to allow the IACUC to determine if the guidelines outlined above have been achieved in planning prolonged restraint procedures. See Penn State IACUC Guidelines for the Use of Physical Restraint of Research Animals for further information.