Need to transport animals?

ACAPAC Policy Number: 2015-055
Policy Title: Acclimation After Transport

Transportation unavoidably causes stress in animals. Utilizing animals for research prior to their stabilization from shipping stress may have unintended or detrimental effects on research results. The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals strongly recommends that newly received animals be given a period for physiologic and behavioral acclimation before their use. This policy sets forth the required minimal time that animals should be allowed to acclimate prior to research use. For some species or strains of animals longer times may be required to allow for return to normal parameters.

POLICY: All vertebrate animal species will be allowed a minimum of 48 hours to stabilize and acclimate to animal housing facilities and to recover from shipping stress prior to use in any procedure. Shorter acclimation periods may be used with scientific justification and approval from your IACUC or with approval from an RARC or WNPRC research animal veterinarian.

An RARC veterinarian in their professional judgment may extend the acclimation period or deny the use of an animal for any medical reason.

Animals intended for use after intra-campus transport or in non-survival surgeries/ terminal use protocols are not required to have a minimum acclimation period. However, it is strongly recommended that they receive at least 48 hours acclimation prior to utilization in a research protocol.

For bio-security purposes, animals placed in quarantine require veterinary approval for use during the entire quarantine period.


  • Institute for Laboratory Animal Resources (U.S.) 2011. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.
  • Obernier JA, and Baldwin RL. Establishing an Appropriate Period of Acclimatization Following Transportation of Laboratory Animals. ILAR Journal 47(4), 2006.
  • Conour LA Preparation of Animals for Research – Issues to Consider for Rodents and Rabbits. ILAR Journal 47(4), 2006.

C. Patten Jr., RARC veterinary unit
ePublication Date: 2/2015
History: Original 2/2015