Rodent Housing Procedures & Practices

The following information is available as a reference for writing ACS SOPs for the use of Chemical Hazards in rodents. Contact EH&S and ACS with regard to SOPs for chemical use in other types of animals. Animal work at the University of Florida covers a wide variety of disciplines and it is the responsibility of the Investigator to ensure that their studies are conducted safely, including the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and proper Engineering Controls (i.e. hoods) for study staff and animal husbandry staff.

General PPE Requirements

Required when working with chemicals in lab or animal housing areas and it is outlined in the UF EH&S Lab Safety Manual.

  • Full coverage shoes constructed of sturdy material. No open toe shoes, sandals, etc.
  • Long pants and long sleeved shirts are the norm. Shorts and t-shirts are allowed as long as lab coats are worn when handling chemicals, biologicals, radioactive materials, and animals.
  • Tie back long hair.
  • Loose or dangling clothing, accessories, or jewelry should be avoided.
  • For procedures that may generate splash: ANSI Z-87 compliant eyewear that provides chemical splash protection is required at all times.
    • Persons who wear contact lenses must wear chemical safety goggles.
  • For changing cages, animal handling during or post inoculation (prior to clear date):
    • Staff wearing contact lenses: chemical safety goggles
    • Staff NOT wearing contact lenses: disposable face shield or ANSI Z-87 compliant eyewear.
  • Not all gloves are appropriate for use with all chemicals.
  • Glove compatibility charts must be checked prior to starting work to ensure the gloves being used provide adequate protection.
  • This information will be written into the IACUC protocol.
  • Glove compatibility charts are available on the EH&S website here: http://www.ehs.ufl.edu/programs/lab/chp/gloves/

ACS Standards

  • Project-dependent deviations from these standards may be specified by EHS or ACS and will be documented on the IACUC.
  • Standard rodent housing is also appropriate for Specific Pathogen Free rodents.

Administrative Controls  

  • All projects must be approved by the IACUC prior to beginning work.
  • All staff are enrolled in the Animal Contact Program and listed on the IACUC protocol.

Housing/Handling/Engineering Controls

  • Micro isolator cages on positive pressure ventilated racks.
  • Cages handled in Animal Transfer Station (ATS) for cage changing and animal manipulations. 
  • When handling animals, chemical (anesthetic) restraint or physical restraint devices should be used when feasible.
  • Husbandry staff will move animals with forceps when moving animals between cages.
  • Sharps containers are used for needles and other sharps; “safe sharps” are used when feasible.

Disinfectants

  • Disinfectants used in animal and procedure rooms are Virkon-S (peroxygen)1% followed by 70% isopropyl alcohol.
  • Work surfaces are disinfected before and after use.
  • Any deviations from this will be communicated to ACS staff in section 21.4 of the IACUC protocol.

Required PPE for animal housing and procedure rooms

  • Disposable cloth shoe covers
  • Disposable yellow gown (non-fluid resistant)
  • Fluid resistant sleeve covers
  • 1 pair nitrile or latex gloves

Hands are washed after removing gloves and before leaving the animal area.

Soiled caging is transported by research or ACS staff to centralized cage wash (sometimes in another facility) where cages are dumped into a Matrix vacuum system and placed in a tunnel washer. Soiled caging and equipment is not autoclaved in advance. 

Required PPE for dumping cages in cage wash area:

  • Facility dedicated scrub suits – washed by ACS
  • Yellow gown (not fluid resistant)
  • Water resistant shoe covers
  • Nitrile or latex gloves
  • N-95 Respirator when dumping cages
  • Hearing protection
  • Face shield

Administrative Controls  

  • All projects must be approved by the IACUC prior to beginning work.
  • All staff are enrolled in the Animal Contact Program and listed on the IACUC protocol.

Housing/handling/Engineering Controls 

  • Static micro isolator cages or negative ventilated microisolator cages in either a negative pressure room, or a negative pressure cubicle in a negative pressure room.
  • All manipulations involving animals, as well as all potentially infectious and/or infectious materials, are performed in a biosafety cabinet (Class II Type A2 or Class II Type B2) within the animal housing room.
  • Animals housed in the ABSL-2 areas cannot be moved into the ABSL-1 housing areas without permission of the ACS Veterinarian and EH&S.
  • When handling animals, chemical (anesthetic) restraint or physical restraint devices will be used when feasible.
  • Husbandry staff will move animals with tongs when moving animals between cages.
  • Sharps containers are used for needles and other sharps; “safe sharps” are used when feasible.

Disinfectants

  • Disinfectants used in animal and procedure rooms are Virkon-S (peroxygen) 1% followed by 70% isopropyl alcohol.
  • Work surfaces are disinfected before and after use.
  • Efficacy against pathogen in use must be confirmed by EH&S prior to start of work.  

PPE for housing and procedure rooms

  • Disposable fluid resistant shoe covers
  • Disposable yellow gown (non- fluid resistant)
  • Fluid resistant sleeve covers
  • 1 pair nitrile or latex gloves
  • Surgical mask
  • Bouffant

Hands are washed after removing gloves and before leaving the animal area.

Soiled Caging/Waste: Cages are broken down** by trained ACS/research staff inside the biosafety cabinet, packaged as biohazardous waste, removed from the cabinet, and transported for autoclaving on either a gravity or vacuum cycle with the following minimum parameters: 120 C, 20 psi, and 60 min sterilization time.

               **Broken down cages denotes the following:

  • Food is removed from the cage and collected and double bagged in small red autoclavable biohazard bags.
  • Complete cages are neatly stacked with lids in place into red autoclavable biohazard bags (no more than 3 cages to a bag). Bottoms only cages are nested no more than 5 high with a lid on top cage and placed into a red autoclavable biohazard bag.
  • Water from the water bottles is collected into a carboy in the biosafety cabinet and treated with household bleach. After 30 mins, the amount of free chlorine is tested and if the amount is greater than 800 ppm, the treated water is dumped down the sink.
  • Empty water bottles are collected in water bottle crates and bagged in an autoclavable bag.

Bagged waste/Cages are transported to the nearest autoclave on a cart that is covered or in a secondary container (for liquids) on a cart.

All waste, caging, and discarded PPE from the ABSL-2 area is autoclaved for a minimum of 60 min at 20-30 psi then placed into biohazard boxes for disposal by a contacted biomedical waste hauler (Stericycle).

Once autoclaved, decontaminated caging and equipment is taken to cage wash and handled by cage wash staff using the same procedures and PPE as outlined in the ABSL-1 section.

Available Hoods in ACS Summary Table

  • Description: Provides personnel protection by pulling air away from the user, through the work surface and out of the facility either through its own exhaust system or ducted into the facility exhaust.
    • No air is recirculated into the room.
    • Annual testing by outside contractor tests for a calculated average velocity of 50-100 fpm (11).
  • Chemical Safety Application: use with chemicals that volatilize or release vapor such as formaldehyde/paraformaldehyde. These units provide no splash protection.
  • Common Use: necropsies and perfusion procedures.
  • Found In: Available for use in the Communicore and Biomedical Sciences animal housing facilities.
  • Description: Air is passed through a HEPA filter, over the work surface, and either exhausts straight out toward the user or pulled into a grate in the front of the work surface.
    • Units that pull air in through the grate provide some personnel protection but are not sufficient for use with biological or chemical hazards.
  • Chemical Safety Application: Since units only provide product protection and do not provide any or sufficient personnel protection, horizontal laminar flow hoods are not safe for use with any chemicals.
  • Common Use: where a clean air environment is needed for smaller items such as particle sensitive electronic devices or in pharmaceutical sterile compounding.
  • Found In:  Only a few of these units remain in use in ACS facilities. They are used in animal housing rooms to provide protection to small animals from outside contaminants.

Horizontal Laminar Flow Hoods

Exhausts Toward User Exhausts into Grate
hlfhexhaustsuser hlfhexhaustsgrate

https://www.terrauniversal.com/laminar-flow-hoods/qq-clean-benches.php

  • Description: ATS are essentially laminar flow hoods designed to protect research animals from contaminants and provide allergen control for personnel protection.
    • Offers Iso Class 4 protection for research animals from environmental contaminants.
  • Chemical Safety Application: Not safe to use with volatile anesthetics or chemicals. Injectable solutions pre-loaded into syringes may be used..
  • Common Use: cage changing procedures, animal manipulations and sample collection, health checks and veterinary treatments.
  • Found In: found in almost all rodent housing rooms in ACS facilities.

Animal Transfer Station

ATS Airflow Diagram
ats  atsairflow

http://www.nuaire.com/products/allergard-es-energy-saver-nu-619-dual-access-animal-transfer-station.html
http://www.labconco.com/images/cms/large/oaairflow25.jpg

  • Description: BSCs are designed to provide personnel, environmental, and product protection from biologicals when appropriate practices and procedures are followed (12). The HEPA filters within protect personnel and environment from particulate hazards. There are three kinds of BSCs, but UF only has Class II and Class III types.

Class II Type A2:

  • Description: Supply air is brought in through a HEPA filter, passed vertically over the work surface, collected in the front and back air grates, and either passed through the exhaust HEPA and recirculated back into the animal room (30%) or passed back through the supply HEPA and recirculated within the BSC. Units may be canopy connected to facility exhaust system to capture exhaust and facilitate its removal from the room.
  • Chemical Safety Application: like the ATS, the Class II Type A2 BSC is safe to use with injectable solutions pre-loaded into syringes only. Not safe to use with volatile anesthetics or chemicals because HEPA filters do not capture volatile vapors. Also, the majority of the air within the cabinet is continuously recirculated, allowing vapors to build.
  • Common Use: cage changing procedures, animal manipulations and sample collection, health checks and veterinary treatments where biohazards are a concern.
  • Found In: found in ABSL-2 small animal housing rooms, some procedure rooms.

BSC Class II Type A2

BSC Airflow Diagram
bsca2 bsca2airflow

http://www.nuaire.com/products/labgard-es-energy-saver-nu-677-animal-handling-class-ii-type-a2-biological-safety-cabinet.html
http://oregonstate.edu/ehs/LVSG-BSC-type

Class II Type B2:

  • Description: Supply air is brought in through a HEPA filter, passed vertically over the work surface, collected in the front and back air grates, then passed through the exhaust HEPA. 100% of the air is exhausted. These units are directly connected to the facility exhaust system for discharge of all exhaust outside.
  • Chemical Safety Application: since the cabinet is 100% exhausted and directly connected to the facility exhaust system, these units are safe to use with volatile anesthetics and other vapor producing chemicals.
  • Common Use: cage changing procedures, animal manipulations and sample collection, health checks and veterinary treatments.
  • Found In: A limited number of animal rooms in the Biomedical Sciences, Cancer Genetics, and Communicore buildings.

BSC Class II Type B2

BSC Airflow Diagram
bscb2 bscb2airflow

http://www.nuaire.com/products/labgard-es-energy-saver-nu-430-class-ii-type-b2-biosafety-cabinet.html
http://www.nuaire.com/products/biological-safety-cabinets/how-class-two-bsc-work.html

Class III BSC:

  • Description: Class III hoods are gas-tight, essentially a sealed glovebox. Supply air is brought in through a HEPA filter then passed through two exhaust HEPA filters in series. 100% of the air is exhausted. These units are directly connected to the facility exhaust system.
  • Chemical Safety Application: since the cabinet is 100% exhausted and directly connected to the facility exhaust system, these units are safe to use with volatile anesthetics and other vapor producing chemicals.
  • Common Use: for work with RG-3 and RG-4 pathogens.
  • Found In: Class III hoods are only available in the BSL-3/ABSL-3 facilities on campus.
  • Description: Intended to remove vapors, gases, and dusts of toxic, flammable, corrosive, or otherwise dangerous materials.
  • Chemical Safety Application: designed to work with all types of chemicals.
  • Common Use: any procedure that uses a chemical that releases vapor, gas, or toxins. More information on the various types can be found at http://www.ehs.ufl.edu/programs/lab/fumehood/
  • Found In: While common in research laboratories, chemical fume hoods are extremely rare in the animal housing facilities. The Communicore animal housing facility has one in the ABSL-2 housing area.

Chemical Fume Hood

Hood Airflow Diagram
cfh cfhairflow

http://img.medicalexpo.com/images_me/photo-g/75366-4967531.jpg
http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/158137/file-5071697-jpg/images/fume-hood-air-flow.jpg