Acclimation Periods  | Biohazardous Materials in Animals  | Campus Transport of Animals  | Rodent Import/Export 


Animal Purchasing and Transportation

Procedures for Obtaining Animals for Use in Research or Teaching

All purchases or other shipments of (live) animals to be housed in Animal Resource Program (ARP) facilities must be processed through the ARP officeInvestigators are not allowed to order animals through their departments using purchase orders. An Animal Care Request Form  must be filled out and submitted to the ARP to order animals from approved commercial suppliers.  Gnotobiotic mice may be purchased using the gnotobiotic mouse order form. Investigators who would like to import animals from an academic institution or other non-approved supplier must follow the procedures outlined below under Importation of Animals from Other Research Facilities. Investigators who want to purchase or import strains or other genetically modified animals not listed on their current IACUC protocol must submit a modification form and obtain IACUC approval before ordering/importing such animals. Please see the ORP website for more information.

    Departmental purchasing staff who have questions about purchase orders should contact the ARP office. For example, purchase orders that include any of the following terms may indicate live animals are included in the order:

    • Microinjection
    • Pronuclear injection
    • Transgenic
    • Knock-out or knock-in
    • Targeted mutant
    • KOMP (Knock out mouse project)


    Approved Animal Sources

    The following commercial vendors are approved animal suppliers:

    • Charles River
    • Envigo
    • Taconic
    • Jackson Laboratories (production facilities)


    Non-approved Animal Sources

    These include all commercial sources not listed above and laboratory animal facilities associated with academic institutions and private companies. All laboratory animals arriving on the Penn State University Park campus from non-approved animal sources must undergo a period of quarantine in a protected area of the animal facility. This period allows the animal(s) to recover from the stress of shipment and to be screened for clinical health problems and infection with pathogenic organisms to prevent introduction of disease to the animal facility. The quarantine period will be dependent on the animal species, source and health status. See Importation of Animals from Other Research Facilities (below) for more information.

    Cryopreservation Resources for Transgenic Rodents

    To protect unique and valuable transgenic rodents from unexpected loss consider long term cryopreservation or donation to a repository. A number of commercial laboratories offer cryopreservation services. Several are listed below along with a mutant mouse repository.

    Charles River Laboratories Mouse & Rat Cryopreservation Services

    Taconic Biosciences Cryopreservation and Cryorecovery

    The Jackson Lab Mouse Cryopreservation

    Mutant Mouse Resource & Research Centers (MMRRC) NIH funded Repository for mutant mice


    Acclimation Period

    Please remember to allow sufficient time for animals to acclimate to their new surroundings after arrival at Penn State before starting any experimental work. The shipping process is stressful for animals and results in a disruption of their normal environment. In the interest of animal welfare and experimental accuracy, ARP recommends that rodents not be used for any experimental procedures for at least 5 days after their arrival at the University Park animal facilities. Other species may require longer periods to acclimate after arrival. Please consult with an ARP veterinarian for more information.


    Importation of Animals from Other Research Facilities

    The following procedures must be completed before research animals imported from non-approved sources may be housed in ARP facilities.

    Investigators who want to purchase or import mutant or transgenic animals not listed on their current IACUC protocol must submit a modification form and obtain IACUC approval before ordering/importing such animals. Please see the ORP website for more information.

    1. The Investigator must obtain IACUC approval before ordering/importing rodent strains or stocks not listed on their IACUC protocol.
    2. The investigator must complete and submit an ARP Import Request form.
    3. Personnel from the Animal Resource Program office will then contact the animal care department at the exporting institution to obtain relevant health surveillance reports.
    4. Upon receipt of health surveillance reports from the exporting institution an ARP veterinarian will evaluate the health status of incoming animals to determine where they can be housed during the post-shipping quarantine period at Penn State.
    5. After veterinary review is complete, ARP will authorize the exporting institution to ship and provide the appropriate (Penn State) shipping address to the exporting institution's animal care department.
    6. Animals will be delivered to the CBL and received by Animal Resource Program personnel. The animals are unpacked in a designated quarantine room. Research staff access to the animals while they are in quarantine is limited and will depend on their health status. Breeding and experimental manipulations are not allowed during the quarantine period.
    7. The animals are quarantined until their current health status can be confirmed by testing. Note: If animals will not need to be housed after arrival, (i.e. all animals will be euthanized on arrival for experimental purposes) confirmatory health surveillance testing may not be necessary.
    8. Animals will be released from quarantine after their health status has been confirmed. Animal Resource Program personnel will then transport them to their assigned animal holding room.


    Exportation of Animals to Other Institutions

    Investigators who wish to export research animals from Penn State to another research facility must complete an Animal Export form and submit it to the ARP. Most research facilities require Penn State to provide relevant health surveillance documents prior to allowing animals to be shipped to their facilties. It is important that you provide the ARP with the name and phone number or email address of the appropriate contact person at the receiving animal facility.

    Transportation of Laboratory Animals on Campus

    Transfer of Animals Between Investigators or Facilities on Campus by ARP Personnel

    Penn State investigators wishing to transfer animals between Penn State animal facilities or to another investigator's approved Penn State IACUC protocol must complete an ARP animal transfer request form prior to movement of the animals. The ARP facilities manager will notify the investigator when approval for the transfer is granted and ARP technicians will move the animals.Transport of animals between ARP animal housing facilities will be performed by ARP personnel using temperature controlled ARP vehicles.

    Investigator Transport of Animals on Campus

    Investigators may transport animals from animal housing facilities to their laboratories and procedure areas located outside ARP managed facilities. Alternatively, investigators may request ARP delivery. The following guidelines apply:

    • Animals should be transported within their home cages covered by the filter cage top.
    • Individual mice being transported to the laboratory for immediate euthanasia may be placed in disposable ventilated transport containers available in the ARP animal facility for such use. No more than one mouse may be placed in each container and mice may not be kept in the containers for longer than one hour.
    • Unfamiliar animals should not be combined in cages or other containers as this is distressful and can lead to fighting and injury.

    When animals are transported outside to another building, cages should be placed within an insulated secondary container such as a cooler with holes drilled in the sides/top to provide ventilation. Animals may be moved in temperature-controlled vehicles or hand carried from the animal facility if within walking distance.

    • Rolling carts should not be used to transport animals outside of buildings.
    • Containers with animals may not be allowed to sit in direct sunlight.


    Transportation within Buildings

    When transporting within enclosed building spaces, cages should be transported in such a manner as to minimize the potential for animal escape and injury (a cart is recommended when two or more cages will be transported by one person).  Cages transported on rolling carts should be covered with filter tops while moving through the building to reduce the spread of allergenic dust and animal pathogens. Cages should also be covered with cloth or paper material such as a clean towel or gown to reduce animal stress during transport.


    Use of Biohazardous Materials and Biological Products in Research Animals

    The use of pathogenic organisms, radioisotopes, carcinogens or other materials that may be hazardous to animals or humans should be clearly indicated on the Animal Care Request (ACR) form. The Institutional Biosafety Committee must approve experimental procedures involving biohazardous material prior to IACUC approval and ACR form submission. The University Isotopes Committee must approve the use of radioisotopes prior to IACUC approval and ACR form submission. Information on working with biohazardous materials within PSU animal facilities may be found on the ARP website.

    Biological products are a potential source of microorganisms, especially pathogenic viruses that may infect laboratory animals. All biological products (tumors, blood, serum or other products of animal origin) must be screened for pathogen contamination before introduction into animals. If documentation of testing of the product you wish to use is available, please submit this to ARP with the Animal Care Request form. If no or incomplete documentation is available, appropriate testing must be performed before animal experimentation can begin. Please contact ARP at least 2 weeks prior to starting any animal experimentation to allow time for testing.