IACUC Rodent Surgery Training Tutorial  | Aseptic Technique and General Surgery Training Class  | Rodent and Rabbit Anesthesia  |Pain Recognition in Rodents | Analgesic Drugs and Dosages  | Surgery and Post-Operative Record Template 


Surgery, Anesthesia and Analgesia

Investigators whose protocols include surgical procedures on research animals at Penn State must meet specific requirements for the preparation and conduct of those procedures. The PSU IACUC requires completion of the online training listed below. In addition, ARP offers online and in-person training in surgery for PSU faculty, staff and students. The ARP training is not mandatory but strongly recommended. The ARP Rodent Surgery Manual is also available online and provides comprehensive information about rodent surgery for PSU researchers. Animal Resource Program veterinarians have experience with rodent surgery and are available for consultation.

Investigators must keep accurate records of anesthesia, surgery and postoperative care (including analgesic administration). Records serve as documentation that the procedures were conducted humanely and by appropriately trained individuals. Information on groups of rodents treated similarly may be entered on a single medical record. Non-rodent species require an individual record for each animal. Records must be kept in the animal room or an accessible area nearby for easy access by veterinary and IACUC personnel. ARP provides a rodent surgical and post-operative record template that may be modified to meet specific research needs.

Information on anesthesia and analgesia in laboratory animals may be found by following the links at the top of this page or in the menu on the left.

IACUC Rodent Surgery Training Requirements

Personnel must complete the following training prior to performing rodent surgical procedures at Penn State:

  1. Read the IACUC Rodent Surgery Guidelines .
  2. Complete the Research Animal Training Aseptic Technique training videos available online. There are a total of eight short videos to watch. Please note that although PSU does not require rodent surgeons to wear sterile gowns or use sterile towels to dry their hands after washing in preparation for surgery, these materials should be clean and unused.
  3. Complete the IACUC Rodent Surgery Training online tutorial with associated quiz.


It is strongly recommended that personnel obtain additional training from ARP or other qualified and experienced personnel, including but not limited to the following:


IACUC Oversight

A veterinarian representing the IACUC will review your surgical records every six months. The following points will be reviewed at the time of inspection:

  • Are the records legible?
  • Is the person listed as the surgeon authorized to conduct the procedure?
  • Is there a record of analgesic administration?
  • Is there a description of the procedure available?
  • Is there a record of daily post operative evaluation?


Recommendations for Learning a New Surgical Procedure

  • Familiarize yourself with the relevant anatomy of the species you will be using.
  • Observe an experienced surgeon perform the procedure.
  • Develop your technique first using cadaver animals.
  • If available, practice the procedure on anesthetized animals that will be euthanized before recovery from anesthesia.
  • It is not recommended that you try to obtain experimental data from practice or training animals.


ARP Aseptic Technique and General Surgery Training class

The Aseptic Technique and General Surgery Training class consists of online and in-person components. Completion of both online and in-person parts of the class are necessary for participation to be recorded. After viewing the four online presentations (found on this webpage) an online form must be completed to sign up for the in-person part of the training class. In-person sessions will last approximately 2 hours and include training in wound closure, aseptic technique and rodent pain/distress recognition. This training is intended for PSU faculty, staff and students listed on currently approved IACUC protocols using surgery.

Please note: The online surgery training class found here is not the same as the PSU IACUC-required online Rodent Surgery Training tutorial.

Read through all the online material. This class contains multiple sections (presentations) and includes hyperlinks to videos or documents that you are expected to view.  After viewing the online presentations, complete the online form to sign-up to attend an in-person training session. If, after completing this class, you need additional training in a specific surgical procedure please contact the ARP or an ARP veterinary technician or veterinarian. We will schedule training sessions to meet your needs.

The information presented on this website is intended as a resource for Pennsylvania State University research investigators. No guarantee of efficacy or safety is made nor must information obtained from this site be substituted for professional veterinary advice. Please contact the ARP at arp-help@psu.edu for additional information or if you are experiencing technical difficulties with the online training.

Presentation 1: General Principles and Aseptic Technique

Presentation 2: Wound Closure


Presentation 3: Anesthesia and Analgesia

Presentation 4: Post Operative Monitoring and Record Keeping

Please complete the following surgery training sign-up form to attend an in-person training. Documentation of training will only occur after completion of the in-person training session. A copy of the surgery skills checklist may be found here.