Office of Veterinary Resources
The New York University, Washington Square Campus, Office of Veterinary Resources (OVR) in conjunction with the University Animal Welfare Committee (UAWC) provides facilities, services, information, and training to ensure animal welfare and to facilitate effective research using laboratory animals. The employees of OVR are committed to working together in a positive, supportive manner to achieve and maintain a program of excellence. This program includes: providing humane care and use of animals promoted through veterinary oversight, continuing education and training; facilitating campus research and educational programs through collaboration, consultation and professional services; assuring compliance with applicable federal and state regulations; supporting the University in achieving its academic mission and commitment to public service.
The University Animal Welfare Committee (UAWC) is responsible for supervising the use of animals at NYU and has authorized the attending veterinarian to oversee all procedures. Veterinary supervision is provided by the OVR Director. OVR animal technicians conduct daily husbandry rounds at which time any abnormalities are noted and entered in a facility daily observation journal in addition to being reported to the veterinarian and OVR Manager. All problems are addressed immediately. Inspection of physical plant and clinical rounds of all animals is carried out weekly by the OVR Manager and Veterinarian. Routine inspections are made of sites where surgical procedures are conducted. The veterinarian must have access to all animals to ensure that daily observations of the animals are performed by qualified individuals. The UAWC is required to stop any research project wherein non-compliance is suspected. After regular work hours, the Veterinarian, OVR Manager and Facility Supervisor are available by cell phone for emergencies.
Daily activity sheets are posted in each room and include all husbandry activities, and environmental parameters. At the end of each month, the daily activity sheets and census sheets are filed in the facility office. Individual clinical records are maintained in the facility office for all USDA covered species. Observations, clinical laboratory findings, diagnosis, treatment and progress notes are entered by the OVR staff, and research staff. The date and name of any procedure performed on rodents is noted on the front of the cage cards. The USDA requires that a log of intra- and post-operative monitoring be maintained for all USDA covered species and that these records be available for review during unannounced government inspections and during semi-annual UAWC inspections. Forms to be used for intra-operative monitoring are also available from the OVR technicians. The veterinarian routinely monitors these records for adequacy of anesthesia/analgesia and post-operative practices.
Anesthesia Monitoring Form
The USDA and UAWC require that intra-operative records are kept for all covered species (lagomorphs and above) undergoing either survival or non-survival surgery. These records are used to document an adequate plane of anesthesia for the surgery being performed and to provide evidence that the support procedures are consistent with "current veterinary practice." Corneal or palpebral reflexes should be obtained prior to beginning the procedure and baseline heart rate and/or respiratory rate should be recorded. Redosing of anesthetic agents may be required during prolonged procedures. Overdosage may lead to cardiopulmonary arrest. Thus, the depth of anesthesia must be monitored frequently, approximately every 15 minutes, using appropriate methods, during the entire course of the procedure. The data from this monitoring must be entered on the anesthesia monitoring form. Records of the pre-anesthetics and anesthetics employed, the use of IV therapy, respirator use, extubation time, etc., would assist the veterinarian in determining appropriate therapy in the event of a problem with the animal. It is important to remember that this form is subject to Federal, State, and institutional review during an unannounced inspection. For some types of non-survival surgery the recording interval may be longer than the 15 minutes noted above. Deviations from the 15 minute rule must be approved by the UAWC.
Post-Operative Record Keeping
Post-operative care as specified in the research protocol must be documented on the Post-operative Record Form. It is important that each aspect of post-operative care be adequately recorded. Thus, for example, if the protocol specifies three days of post-operative analgesia, then the administration of at least three days of analgesics must be documented. Likewise, general observations, special tests, wound care, etc., must be recorded. On covered species, these records are subject to review during unannounced inspections by Federal, State, and institutional inspectors. It is important to remember the rule used by most inspectors, "if it is not written down, it was never done." In addition, the veterinarian and veterinary technicians are better able to evaluate the status of an animal if they are aware of treatments that have been provided by the investigator or his/her staff. The OVR Post-Operative Record Keeping Form should be used to record treatments.
It is the responsibility of the Principle Investigator to provide and maintain records of use for all scheduled drugs in accordance with DEA requirements. OVR does not provide scheduled drugs for investigator use.
Muscle relaxants (e.g., succinylcholine or other curariform drugs) are not anesthetics. They must never be used alone for surgical restraint, although they can be used in conjunction with drugs known to produce anesthesia and analgesia. It is strongly recommended that the investigator consult the veterinarian prior to initiation of a study employing muscle relaxants.
Anesthetic, Analgesic, and Tranquilizer Requirements
Federal law requires that appropriate anesthetics or analgesic drugs be used in animal experiments involving more than momentary pain and distress. Each proposed animal project is reviewed by the UAWC and the description of the project must list the analgesic and anesthetic agent, including the method for inducing and maintaining anesthesia. There are specific record keeping and monitoring requirements when anesthetics are employed in a study. Investigators are referred to the publications of the American Veterinary Medical Association for anesthesia guidelines. These documents are available on request from OVR. The veterinarian is available to assist in the determination of appropriate anesthesia or analgesia.
Reporting Violations or Abuse (Whistleblower Policy)
Any individual observing or having knowledge of a violation of Federal regulations or University Policy regarding the care or use of vertebrate animals or observes or has knowledge of mistreatment of a research animal should report this information in writing to the Chair of the UAWC (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone to the NYU Compliance Line at 1-877-360-7626. Written complaints should be directed to the UAWC Administrator, Mail Code 7311. While anonymous reports will be accepted, it is preferred that the informant be identified so he/she may be contacted in the event additional information is required. All complaints made in good faith will be promptly addressed and resolved by the University Animal Welfare Committee. No action or reprisal may be taken against any individual as a result of any such complaint made in good faith.