Rodent Facility Designation

RARC assigns a number designation to all facilities that house rodents. Designations are based on several factors, including the facility's known rodent pathogen status, sentinel rodent testing strategy, and quarantine capability/disease response plan.

Level 1 Facilities (Specific Pathogen Free)

  • Level 1-SPF facilities only allow imports of rodents from approved vendors or require rederivation.
  • Rodents that leave these facilities cannot return to main colony rooms and must be housed in containment rooms.
  • Quarterly sentinel testing is conducted to ensure that pathogens on the exclusion list are not present in the rodent colonies.

Level 2 Facilities (Standard)

  • These facilities house rodents with some enzootic rodent pathogen presence.
  • Exact health status (i.e. pathogen presence) can vary between different Level 2 facilities.
  • Importation of rodents is dependent upon veterinary discretion, facility need, and facility capability.
  • For most Level 2 facilities, rodents can be imported after successfully completing quarantine.
  • Quarterly testing is conducted to ensure that pathogens on the exclusion list are not present in the rodent colonies.

Level 3 Facilities (Endemic)

  • These facilities house rodents with known enzootic rodent pathogen presence.
  • Exact health status (i.e. pathogen presence) can vary between different Level 3 facilities.
  • Importation of rodents is dependent upon veterinary discretion, facility need, and facility capability.
  • For most Level 3 facilities, rodents can be imported after successfully completing quarantine.
  • At least twice a year testing is conducted to ensure that pathogens on the individual facility exclusion list are not present in the rodent colonies.
  • Zoonotic rodent pathogens are excluded unless they are part of an approved animal-use protocol and used with appropriate safety measures for personnel.
  • Collaboration with colleagues may be difficult with rodents housed in Level 3 facilities due to the endemic disease status of the rodents.

Excluded Pathogens

If pathogens on the facility's exclusion list are found in any rodent colonies, one of the following occurs:

  • Animals are moved to a facility that allows the pathogen.
  • Treatment/burnout is conducted in situ (if feasible).
  • Colony animals are tested and culled.

Movement

Movement of rodents between facilities must always be pre-approved by an RARC veterinarian.

Movement of personnel is to be in a 1-2-3 direction; movement in a different sequence, such as from a 2 to a 1 facility can occur if necessary, but only if staff takes appropriate measures such as showering or changing clothes. RARC veterinary staff must determine which measures are required for individual facilities.