Procedures for Feline Quarantine and Conditioning

Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine
Mar 10, 2023 12:00 am

To define the standard operating procedures for processing, quarantine, and maintenance of cats for use in research.

  • Responsibility

    1. Husbandry and Veterinary Personnel: Responsible for all quarantine procedures of newly arrived cats (unless previous arrangements have been made with the laboratory). This includes provision of all husbandry care and medical procedures (e.g., physical examinations and any diagnostic tests).
    2. ULAM Animal Ordering Services: Responsible to ensure that all requests for feline acquisitions be reviewed and approved by the ULAM veterinary and husbandry personnel prior to placing the order.

    Purpose-Bred Cat (Class A Dealers)

    A cat bred by USDA-licensed dealers specifically for research. Such animals have a clearly defined health, pedigree, and vaccination status. They are free from disease and from any antibodies related to feline infectious diseases.

    Random Source Cat (Class B Dealers)

    Class B Cats are no longer used by the University of Michigan except under specific circumstances. In the event that they are used, a veterinarian will be consulted to determine which specific quarantine, conditioning, and handling procedures will be followed. Note: additional attention may be required for parasite control, vaccinations, and housing when dealing with Class B Cats.

  • Procedures

    1. Arrival and Processing

    1. Initial Examination
      1. Incoming cats are examined cage-side upon arrival by a veterinary technician. Any cat which appears systemically ill upon arrival might be rejected at the dock after consultation with the Principal Investigator or other authorized laboratory personnel. Some signs that might indicate systemic illness in cats can include respiratory difficulty, lameness, severe diarrhea, severe skin lesions, severe lethargy, etc.
        1. Animals rejected will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and returned according to agreements with vendors.
      2. Any animal with mild or localized signs of disease not warranting immediate rejection may be accepted at the dock after contacting the investigator to determine if the identified condition will be treated or if such treatment will interfere with the planned study.
        1. If treatment is not authorized by the investigator, the cat is rejected and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and returned according to agreements with vendors.
        2. If treatment is approved by the investigator, the animal is accepted and an Animal Treatment Report (ATR) must be generated for that cat. A clinical veterinarian is notified and performs a thorough clinical examination within 24 hours, then institutes appropriate treatment for the condition.
        3. Authorized treatment, including veterinary technician time, supplies and medications will be performed at the expense of the investigator.
        4. Close monitoring by the veterinary staff and appropriate communication with the investigator is recommended for these animals, as conditions for replacement or refund vary by vendor after initial acceptance.
      3. Any cat found to be aggressive toward people or cage-mates within the allowable return period and before any experimental manipulation has occurred will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and returned according to agreements with vendors.
      4. The veterinary technician files all medical records received from the vendor in the cat’s permanent record.
        1. A copy of the USDA paperwork is filed in the cat’s permanent record and the original is sent to IACUC for filing.
      5. NOTE: Mildly ill cats need to be monitored closely. Channels of communication between the investigator and the veterinary technicians will be maintained so as to quickly determine the best course of action in the event that a cat does not respond to treatment and/or a more serious illness develops.
    2. Identification
      1. Refer to Cat Husbandry SOP.
    3. Physical Examinations
      1. Refer to Procedures for Large Animal Receiving.
      2. All cats are given a brief cage-side examination prior to transfer to the housing room and assigned a clinical number by the veterinary technician upon arrival. The veterinary technician will create a record including a physical exam form. They will notify the resident that a physical must be conducted within 7 business days.
      3. Within seven business days after arrival, a veterinarian performs a physical examination on all newly received cats. At this time the veterinarian reviews all medical records received from the dealer to ensure that all minimum requirements have been met.
      4. Cats intended for short-term (within seven business days), non-survival procedures may not receive a complete physical examination by a veterinarian unless requested by the investigator.
      5. After initial intake, refer to Animal Care Identification and Communication Procedures for appropriate procedures for any ill animal.
    4. Quarantine, Housing and Acclimation
      1. Cats can be housed immediately in their permanent room and no official quarantine period is required. However, these animals should not be used in experiments for 48 hours in order to provide an appropriate acclimation period for recovery from transportation.

    2. Costs

    1. In general, the principal investigator pays for the cost of treatments. See Standard Charging Procedures for Veterinary Services for further information.

    3. Medical Treatments

    1. After initial routine receiving and processing, permission of the investigator is required for all treatments. If possible, an understanding of treatment possibilities for the animals belonging to a given investigator should be achieved beforehand (i.e: upon arrival). This will enable prompt care of the animals belonging to that investigator, especially on the weekends and holidays. The investigator must also be informed that he or she is responsible for the cost of any medical treatments, including technician time. Move cats to be treated to individual cages if necessary.
    2. For cats intended for acute use, if it is determined that a mild or moderate illness warrants treatment, the veterinary technician or clinical veterinary resident must notify the investigator of the animal's condition and encourage treatment or use of the cat within 24 hours. If the animal cannot be used experimentally, the investigator must elect treatment or euthanasia.
      1. Exception: In the event that a mildly ill animal is observed on a weekend - the laboratory will be given 24 hours from the time of contact or until Monday afternoon whichever is later to respond with regard to the options of treatment, animal use, or euthanasia. Palliative treatments may be instituted over the weekend without investigator approval if deemed medically necessary by a veterinarian.
    3. If mild injury or illness occurs, the animal's condition and examination findings are discussed with the investigator (or authorized laboratory personnel) prior to initiation of treatment. Based on veterinary recommendation and potential for study interference, the investigator may then elect treatment or euthanasia.
    4. If severe injury or illness occurs, the animal's condition and examination findings are discussed with the investigator (or authorized laboratory personnel). The options of treatment or terminal experimental use or harvest within 24 hours may be offered if appropriate, but immediate euthanasia may be required if it is deemed necessary for welfare purposes by a veterinarian.
  • References

Species: Cats

If you have questions or comments about this document, contact ULAM Veterinary Staff (email