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Related Information
Policy Number: 2015-056-v
Policy Title: Maintenance of Animal (Rodent or Smaller) Guillotines
Purpose: This policy is intended to provide guidelines, which meet regulatory requirements, for the maintenance and record keeping of guillotines used for euthanasia of rodents and smaller animals.
Policy: Animals must be euthanized by trained personnel using appropriate techniques and equipment. The AVMA Panel on Euthanasia recommends that guillotines be in good working order and serviced on a regular basis to ensure sharpness of the blades; The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals states that methods of euthanasia should be consistent with the AVMA’s recommendations.
  1. Before use, the guillotine should be inspected to insure that it is in good working condition, is free of rust, and has a smooth action. Any problems with the device should be reported to the PI who is ultimately responsible for the guillotine.
  2. Personnel using a guillotine are responsible for its proper cleaning after use. Suggested methods include rinsing the device after use in running water with a final rinse with 70% alcohol to promote drying. Guillotines should also be periodically lubricated (a silicone-spray product is suggested for lubrication).
  3. Guillotines must be inspected at a minimum of every twelve months and should be sharpened as often as needed. The frequency of sharpening will depend on the animal species involved and volume of use. The responsibility to resharpen the guillotine rests with the PI.
  4. Checking to ensure that the guillotine blades are sufficiently sharp is up to the individual lab. A suggested method includes using a fresh carcass of an animal that has been euthanized by a different protocol-approved method of euthanasia.
  5. PIs or their designee(s) must document the dates on which the guillotine was sharpened and tested. It is strongly recommended that each use of the guillotine also be documented. Evidence of maintenance (e.g., a written log) will be inspected on a semiannual basis by the IACUC.
  6. Blade sharpening can be done any reputable blade sharpening company such as those that sharpen surgical instruments. For help in identifying a balde sharpening company contact an RARC veterinarian or the RARC training staff.
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