Personnel who work with research animals are responsible for ensuring their health and welfare. Research animals must be treated with respect and dignity, and personnel may only use experimental techniques and other procedures that have been approved for their IACUC protocol. Staff and students working in animal facilities are also expected to follow facility security and disease prevention instructions, clean up after themselves and dispose of waste appropriately. ARP staff are available to assist if there are questions about appropriate procedures.

Although Animal Resource Program (ARP) staff observe all animals daily and report animal health concerns to the ARP veterinary technician or attending veterinarian, research personnel must monitor and observe their research animals as often as needed to comply with humane endpoints and ensure animal health and welfare. Animals with unexpected illness or injury must be reported to the ARP veterinary staff. ARP personnel who find sick or injured animals will place a health alert card on the cage cardholder indicating that a sick animal report has been filed with the attending veterinarian. The veterinary technician and/or veterinarian will examine the animal(s) and initiate a medical record for that animal. A reasonable attempt will be made to contact the investigator before medical treatment is started or euthanasia performed.

Investigators must make arrangements for alternative contacts that have the authority to make decisions regarding the disposition of animals requiring immediate care in the event the investigator cannot be reached. Investigators who know they will be unavailable for an extended time period may wish to make prior arrangements with the ARP for treatment of sick or injured animals. If the investigator or an alternative contact cannot be reached within a reasonable amount of time, treatment or euthanasia will proceed at the discretion of the attending veterinarian. If judged appropriate by the attending veterinarian, animals may be removed from a study and treated or euthanized to relieve unwarranted pain and/or distress.

What do I need to do before working with animals at PSU?

For all IACUC protocols:

  1. Get IACUC approval

Anyone working with vertebrate animals must be listed on an approved PSU IACUC protocol. Either a new IACUC application or a modification to add personnel must be submitted to the IACUC for review and approval.

  1. Complete IACUC training

All personnel working with animals at PSU must complete the appropriate online IACUC training (CITI).

  1. Complete Occupational Health Assessment for Animal Care Personnel

PSU Occupational Medicine will identify health conditions that could be affected by exposure to animals.


For protocols that include rodent surgical procedures:

  1. Complete the Aseptic Technique training videos available online.

There are a total of eight short online videos to watch.

  1. Complete the ARP Rodent Surgery Training Tutorial

Online surgery training specific for PSU that includes a quiz for submission.


For all laboratory animal protocols:

  1. Complete ARP Facility Orientation

Completion of an ARP Facility Orientation training session is required to enter and work in a PSU laboratory animal facility. Contact ARP to schedule.

  1. Additional training from ARP:

    1. Mouse and Rat Biomethodology
    2. Aseptic Technique and General Surgery
    3. Hamster Biomethodology
    4. Mouse Colony Management
    5. Other training as needed

ARP offers training for a wide range of animal procedures. This training is voluntary and may be completed any time after IACUC approval. Contact ARP for more information.


Training for Research Personnel

Education and training in laboratory, husbandry and clinical procedures are available to all Penn State staff and students working with animals in research and teaching.

Well trained staff and students are the best way to ensure research accuracy and validity while providing humane treatment of animals. ARP offers small group seminars and classes, internet tutorials and other web-based information in addition to one-on-one training for specific procedures to Penn State research investigators. More information on specific training classes is listed below. 

Follow instructions below to complete the Mouse Biomethodology class. Go here to complete the Rat Biomethodology class. If you experience technical difficulties with the presentations or forms, please contact ARP at

If, after completing a class, you would like hands-on training in a specific procedure, please contact the ARP (865-1495) or an ARP veterinary technician or veterinarian. We can schedule individual or pair training sessions to meet your needs.

Mouse Biomethodology Class

Partipants in the Mouse Biomethodology class must complete both the online and in-person parts for attendance to be recorded. After viewing the three online presentations (found on this webpage) complete the online form to sign up for the in-person part of the training class. In-person sessions include practice in mouse handling and restraint using live mice. This training is intended for PSU faculty, staff and students listed on currently approved IACUC protocols using rodents. The information presented here 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 note that presentation format is best viewed full screen but hyperlinks will not work in full screen mode unless you right click on the link and open it in a new window.

Part 1: Introduction to Mice and the Facilities

Part 2: Health, Welfare and Handling of Mice

Part 3: Experimental Procedures

Please complete the following mouse biomethodology form to sign up to attend an in-person training session. Documentation of training is recorded only after completion of an in-person training session. A copy of the skills assessment checklist may be downloaded here. Please contact ARP at if you have questions.

Rat Biomethodology Class

The rat biomethodology currently remains an online only class with three sections (presentations). Please complete them in numerical order (i.e., 1, 2, 3) and submit your completed quiz at the end. A score of at least 80% is required to pass the quiz and be recorded as having completed the training. If you experience technical difficulties with the presentations or quiz, please contact ARP at

Please note that presentation format is best viewed full screen but hyperlinks will not work in full screen mode unless you right click on the link and open it in a new window. The information presented here 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. 

Part 1: Working With Lab Animals and Humane Endpoints

Part 2: Health, Welfare and Handling of Rats; Euthanasia

Part 3: Blood Collection and Substance Administration

Please complete the rat biomethodology quiz so your participation may be recorded.

Rodent Breeding

The ARP provides an online training seminar for PSU research personnel, Mouse Breeding Colony Management.

Aseptic Technique and General Surgery Training Class

Online training intended for beginning surgeons or those who need a refresher before starting surgical procedures. Please note: This online surgery training class is not the same as the PSU IACUC-required online Rodent Surgery Training tutorial.

IACUC Rodent Surgery Tutorial

All personnel listed on a PSU IACUC protocol that includes rodent surgery must complete the training steps listed below prior to performing surgery at PSU. This includes on online tutorial followed by a short quiz that must be submitted to the Office for Research Protections to document completion of training.

  • Read the IACUC Rodent Surgery Guidelines
  • Complete the RAT Procedures With Care Aseptic Technique training videos. There are 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.
  • Complete the IACUC Rodent Surgery Training tutorial.
  • Obtain additional specific procedural training from ARP or other qualified and experienced personnel.


Rodent Training Videos

Video demonstrations of common laboratory procedures in rodents are available online through the ARP website.

Veterinary and Diagnostic Services

A wide variety of veterinary diagnostic and technical services, including pre-IACUC review of experimental protocols, clinical pathology and health surveillance services, are available to Penn State investigators through the Animal Resource Program. Diagnostic services may be utilized for clinical as well as research applications for many different animal species. Fees are charged for some diagnostic services.