Policy Number: 2013-052-v
Policy Title: Cage Labeling Requirements

Purpose: To allow for timely and unambiguous identification of research animals, cage cards are often used to convey important information amongst researcher, veterinary, and animal care staff. The UW-Madison follows the recommendations as outlined in the 8th ed. of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals in regard to what information is to be included on the cage cards.


To ensure that communication is open and that animals receive appropriate and timely care, the following information is required on an animal’s cage card:

  • Name of the responsible investigator
  • Current name(s) and contact information for research personnel in case of emergency
  • Approved protocol number

The following additional information is strongly recommended to be included on the cage card:

  • Pertinent dates (date of birth, date of arrival)
  • Source of the animal (e.g., name of commercial vendor or institution, breeding colony)
  • Strain or stock of animal (if known)
  • Any biohazards, toxic substances, or radioactivity the animal has been exposed to

A card must be placed on all individual rodent cages, unless there is an approved protocol exception or as directed by veterinary staff or facility supervisor.

The cage cards/ identification for species that may tend to chew or damage the cards may be kept in a nearby location, such as a room logbook, or posted on a door or wall.

For animals lacking a permanent physical identification (i.e., tattoo) and for which the cage cards are not directly placed on their cages, a method must be in place and readily accessible to vets and husbandry staff for linking these animals to their identifying information and records (e.g., room diagram of animal(s) location or a description of individual animals).

Investigators/ animal care units may develop any style of cage card as long as the above information is provided on the card. Card templates are available from RARC trainers.

Unidentified animals will be transferred to an established holding protocol and may be euthanized at the discretion of the senior program veterinarian or designee.

Reference: Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 8th ed.

Author: RARC veterinary unit
ePublication Date: 2/22/2013