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Addressing Required Point 3 of the Vertebrate Animals Section (VAS) for NIH Proposals

When animal work is identified in a proposal, NIH requires the Vertebrate Animals section to be completed in the application, more specifically to address 5 points, as described in the NIH Checklist at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/VASchecklist.pdf

The narrative below was created to cover point 3, "information on the veterinary care of the animals involved", and is provided to the Dartmouth research community to be used in the Vertebrate Animals section of the proposal.

 

1.) General Information

• Research animal at Dartmouth are housed in a facility that meets all institutional, local, state and federal (USDA) guidelines that has been continuously AAALAC certified for 35 years. This state-of-the art facility, which has full barrier and transgenic capabilities, is under the direction of 3 veterinarians (one board-certified laboratory animal medicine /ACLAM). The Animal care and Use program has a full-time administrative and husbandry staff of 22. All housing and animal care conforms to the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals” and the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

• The Dartmouth College Animal Care and Use Program (ACUP) operates three on-campus animal facilities and oversees the Veterans Administration Hospital, White River Junction, VT, Research Animal Facility. The Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center animal facility, located in the Borwell Research Building occupies approximately 18,146 net square feet. A rodent barrier was constructed in 2005 within the Borwell facility. The Geisel School of Medicine Vail Building facility (Hanover campus) occupies approximately 14,325 net square feet. Ventilated racks are utilized for mouse housing in Borwell and Vail. A third Dartmouth College facility is located in the Moore Building (Hanover Campus). The Moore facility houses research animals for the Psychology and Brain Science Department. The facility encompasses 2,148 net square feet.

• The White River, VT Junction Veterans Administration Hospital Animal research facility houses primary rodents, is overseen by the Dartmouth College ACUP attending veterinarian and encompasses 5, 174 square feet. This facility is an independently accredited AAALAC institution.

2.) A brief account of veterinary staff and their availability.

• The facility is staffed by 2.5 FTE veterinarians who provide 24/7 coverage

• Dr. P. Jack Hoopes, Animal Care and Use Program (ACUP) Director has direct authority and oversight of the ACUP program. Dr. Michele Martino, Board Certified in Laboratory Animal Medicine, is the Attending Veterinarian. She has the primary, day to day clinical responsibilities for all ACUP associated research and teaching. Dr Martino is also the attending veterinarians for the VA research animals program. Dr. Karen Moodie, Assistant Professor of Medicine, is a medical researcher and part time ACUP employee who assists with emergency ARC coverage and advising /facility researcher in surgical and imaging procedures.

• All animal based research activities at Dartmouth College and the associated VA medical Center have been approved by the respective IACUCs and are directly over-seen the veterinary staff.

3.) The regular schedule of monitoring of animals by veterinary staff.

• An ACUP veterinarian is physically present in the facilities daily during normal work hours and on call evenings and weekends 24/7. All research animals are observed and monitored daily by the husbandry staff. All USDA covered species that have had recent procedures are monitored daily by the veterinary staff. All illness and health concerns are reported promptly to the veterinary staff.

4.) Any additional monitoring and veterinary support that may be required to ensure humane care, if relevant to the procedures proposed (e.g., post-surgical).

• Daily health records are required for all USDA covered species. These records, which are monitored by the veterinary staff daily, are utilized to follow and document the post-procedural recovery of all covered animals. Although the investigative staff is responsible for primary post-procedure monitoring (according to the study protocol) the veterinary staff provides daily oversight.

5.) Indicators for veterinary intervention to alleviate discomfort, distress or pain, if relevant.

• All investigators must follow IACUC based protocol procedures and policies regarding the alleviation of animal pain and distress. The veterinary staff, in consultation with the principle investigator will assesses the effectiveness of the pain/discomfort alleviation procedures and, if necessary, will recommend changes in the treatment plan.

Last Updated: 4/9/12