Animal Resources

Animal Resources

Billy D. Howard, DVM

Director - Animal Resource Core facility

Marshall University is registered as a Research Facility with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The animal facilities maintained by the DAR are inspected periodically by USDA/APHIS/REAC veterinary medical officers and have been found to be in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and USDA regulations.

The Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW), an NIH agency, has accepted Marshall University’s description of the animal care and use program as well as the animal welfare assurance statement. This assurance describes the commitment of this university to comply with the Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and with the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals” (NIH).

Accreditation of the Marshall University program for the care and use of animals by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International has been maintained since 1986. Site visits are conducted every 3 years.
All aspects of the Marshall University animal care and use program are reviewed semiannually by the University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). A letter summarizing the findings is sent to the Marshall University Institutional Official (Animal Welfare Act) who is appointed by the Marshall University President.

Mission Statement


The mission of the Division of Animal Resources (DAR) is to provide professional animal support services to the faculty, staff and students at Marshall University.

The use of animals for teaching and research is a fundamental part of biology and medicine. Suitable animals are required for investigative and teaching purposes. Proper care and management of these animals is both a scientific necessity and a legal requirement.

Animals are sentient beings. This principle entails that the minimization of distress, pain and suffering is a moral imperative. Unless the contrary is established, investigators should consider that procedures that cause pain or distress in humans may cause pain or distress in other sentient animals. Animal use is a privilege granted to the scientific community by the public and its policy making institutions. Along with this privilege goes the ethical responsibility for their humane care and proper use. The University, the individual investigator and each staff member must share in this partnership of responsibility.


Animal Use Policy

Marshall University recognizes that animals are needed in order to fulfill its research mission and to attain its goal of excellence in teaching. The use of animals enhances the educational experience and training afforded medical, graduate, and undergraduate students, leads to improvements of the health care of humans and animals alike, and heightens the understanding and appreciation of the relationship between humans and animals in nature. Marshall University supports the use of animals in research and education as both necessary and desirable, while concomitantly exercising concern for the welfare of the animals used in such research and education.

At Marshall University, all uses of animals must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). This committee is comprised of faculty, administrators, a veterinarian, and two community representatives. State and federal regulations, including those of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) are fully supported by a comprehensive, conscientious, and committed institutional effort. This effort includes: Requiring the approval of the IACUC before an animal may be used in research or education: Every research protocol that calls for the use of animals is reviewed annually on the basis of such factors as animal housing, level of investigation or instructor training and preparation, availability of suitable non-animal alternatives, the number and species of animals employed, animal handling procedures, level of discomfort (including stress and pain) experienced by the animals, alleviation of distress or pain and proper means of euthanasia.

Projects must be resubmitted for full review to the University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee after three years. Maintaining the registration for Marshall University as a research facility under the Animal Welfare Act with the USDA and submitting to unannounced inspection of the facilities by veterinary officers. Complying with all provisions of Public Health Service guidelines for the care and use of animals as attested by the National Institutes of Health. Maintaining full accreditation by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), an independent organization that evaluates and accredits all aspects of institutional animal care and use programs upon request. Continually updating and ensuring the optimum training and safety of students, faculty, and technical personnel working with the animals.

The humane use of animals in research and education is a primary commitment of Marshall University. Those faculty, staff, and students involved in this important function accept as their duty the establishment and maintenance of the public trust in this area of substantial societal concern. Members of the community may visit the University's animal facilities or gain further information on this matter through requests addressed to the Office of University Relations.

Since most users of laboratory animals at Marshall University are faculty members of the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine the DAR is administratively integrated into the School of Medicine. The director of the DAR reports to the Vice Dean for Basic Sciences, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, to the Marshall University Vice President and Dean of the School of Medicine, and the Vice President for Research Marshall University in matters concerning the care and use of animals.

The DAR maintains a central animal facility located in the Byrd Biotechnology Science Center (BBSC) containing eleven (11) animal rooms with areas reserved for such service functions as equipment washing, storage, animal receiving, veterinary services, administration, and personnel services. In the BBSC there are also four special procedure laboratories maintained to support research and teaching endeavors.

The success of the DAR to support the teaching and research program at Marshall University is dependent on people: the teachers, the researchers, the technicians, and the laboratory animal care personnel. Communication and cooperation regarding project goals, special requirements, matters pertaining to animal health, and use of resources must be maintained between all groups involved. Beginning with the protocol of an experiment and continuing to the completion of a study, careful planning and clear communication are essential to create and maintain an orderly and efficient interface between the animal facility and the research and teaching laboratories.

The primary aim of personnel in the DAR is the continual upgrading of the research and teaching programs at Marshall University through proper care and use of laboratory animals. The DAR encourages comments regarding improvement of services provided by this department.

Goals of the DAR

  • High standards of animal care
  • Disease prevention through sanitation practices and traffic control
  • Humane treatment of all animals used at Marshall University
  • Training in the proper use and handling of laboratory animals by students, faculty, and staff
  • Certification of DAR personnel by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS)

Services offered by the DAR

  • DAR Office
    • Procurement of animals
    • Procurement of appropriate feed, bedding, cages, other supplies and equipment
    • Invoicing for maintenance of animals
    • Coordination of the Occupational Health Program for personnel having contact with laboratory animals
    • Maintenance of registrations and accreditations
  • Animal Resources Section
    • Routine and specialized daily animal care
    • Animal breeding colony maintenance
    • Animal cage sanitation
    • Monitoring of animal room environment
    • Sanitation of animal facilities
    • Animal housing space assignment
    • Maintenance of facility and equipment
    • Waste and carcass disposal
    • Maintenance of facility security system
    • Vermin control program
  • Professional Services
    • Animal use protocol review
    • Animal health surveillance
    • Laboratory animal medicine
    • Cage and facility sanitation surveillance
    • Animal restraint
    • Animal anesthesia
    • Assistance in animal use protocol development
    • Instruction in use and handling of animals
MU ANIMAL MAINTENANCE CHARGES
SPECIES PER DIEM (EFFECTIVE, FY 2009)
Cat 4.46
Chick .27
Chicken 1.28
Dog 7.12
Ferret 2.66
Frog .07
Gerbil .38
Guinea Pig .90
Hamster .54
Mouse .16
Opossum .40
Pig 6.05
Pigeon .86
Rabbit 1.38
Rat .28
Sheep 9.78
Turtle .33

Technical Assistance: charged outside regular work hours (nights, weekends, holidays)

Veterinary Assistance: $100.00 per hour

Technical Assistance: $30.00 per hour 

All warm-blooded vertebrate animals intended to be used for teaching, research, testing, or experimentation at Marshall University must be purchased or otherwise obtained through the DAR office.

The Director of the DAR is responsible for approving the source of the animals. Since animals are an important part of the research study, it is imperative that they be of defined quality in order for the data obtained to be valid and replicable. Therefore, the major criteria for the selection of a vendor should be the suitability and quality of the animal. All scientific arguments from the user will be considered by the DAR in making the selection. The cost of the animals should be considered, but will not be the most important factor in vendor selection. Other considerations in making the decision will be:

  • The ability of the vendor to provide the animals as ordered
  • Health status of the animals ordered
  • Vendor must be a USDA licensed dealer (if applicable)
  • Transportation facilities and connections available
  • Ethical and fiscal integrity of the vendor
  • Previous vendor used if the project is a continuation or collaboration effort

The animal procurement should be discussed with the Director or the Administrative Secretary of the DAR. Because of experience and knowledge he/she will be able to assist in the selection of the most appropriate animal model; acquaint you with services available at Marshall University; apprise you of sources, availability, and costs; and help avoid untimely delays of animal orders due to lack of information.

No animals will be ordered without an approved experimental protocol. Before any animals may be ordered, the investigator must submit to the DAR office an “Application for the Use of Laboratory Animals.” The application will then be submitted to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) for review at the next meeting. The IACUC meets monthly on the first Wednesday of the month. Animal Use Protocol Applications must be submitted to the DAR office no later than two weeks prior to the scheduled IACUC meeting to be preliminarily reviewed for completeness and to be forwarded to the IACUC members.

After IACUC approval of the protocol and assignment of a protocol I.D. number, the completed form entitled “Laboratory Animal Order Form” should be forwarded to the DAR office. To avoid delays, the investigator should ensure that all pertinent information (species, number of animals needed, their weight/age, sex, and date when needed) is provided, and that the necessary original signatures are affixed.

The Administrative Secretary of the Dar will review the order and ensure the availability of vendor, space, caging, and other services for the project. The requests for animals may be submitted any time. However, to ensure timely delivery and adequate housing, requests should be made as far in advance as feasible.

Orders with rodent vendors are usually placed on Wednesday afternoons for delivery during the following week (usually on Tuesday). In order to be included in the Wednesday ordering process, the Laboratory Animal Order Form must be received in the DAR office by noon on Wednesday.

Shipping to Marshall University for rodents is generally by environmentally controlled truck.

Upon arrival, the animals are inspected by DAR personnel prior to acceptance for correct size, weight, strain, sex and apparent health. At this time the principal investigator or his designated party will be contacted by telephone to inform him/her of the animal arrival. Any abnormality detected later by the user should be promptly reported. If animals are found to be diseased or otherwise unsatisfactory, the DAR may be able to obtain restitution from the vendor. This is particularly true when it can be demonstrated by laboratory findings that the animals were diseased upon arrival or otherwise were not as ordered.

The investigator’s designated account will be charged for the cost of the animals, for freight, any handling charges, and a DAR surcharge which is calculated at 10% of the cost of the animals and shipping. Contact the DAR Administrative Secretary at 696-7373 for additional information on animal prices, air freight/trucking charges, and per diem maintenance costs.

Training new investigators - Training ARF

Research Training

The Research Staff must complete an online training program at http://www.citiprogram.org/. All new investigators, research staff, and graduate students are required to complete these courses prior to initiation of the use of animals in research. We require researchers to complete the course on Working with the IACUC. If there are any courses pertinent to the species the researcher is working with, they are also required to complete those courses, such as Working with Mice in Research Settings, Working with Rats in Research Settings, Post-Procedure Care of Mice and Rats in Research: Minimizing Pain and Distress, and Post Approval Monitoring.

In order to complete the training component you should:
1) Go to the CITI site http://www.citiprogram.org/
2) log on if you have previously used this site or register as a new user.
3) The next point is to affiliate with an institution - (Marshall University) on a pull down menu
4) Next is to select the courses:
    a. Working with the IACUC;
    b. Working with Mice or Working with Rats, and
    c. Post-Procedure Care of Mice and Rats in Research
5) If you have previously completed these courses at another institution you can link them with the Marshall University CITI program. These courses are to be updated every three years by the individual.