Procedures for Sheep Quarantine and Conditioning

Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine
Mar 1, 2018 12:00 am

To define the standard operating procedures for housing, quarantine, and preventative health care of sheep housed in a vivarium at the University of Michigan for use in research.

  • Responsibility

    1. Husbandry Staff: Responsible to check the delivery schedule daily to know when new sheep will arrive.
    2. Veterinary Technicians: Responsible to receive all sheep within 2 business days according to the Procedures for Large Animal Receiving document.
    3. Veterinary Residents: Responsible to examine all sheep within 2 business days of arrival.
  • Glossary Definitions

    Classification of sheep by duration of use at the University of Michigan:

    Acute Use

    Animal involved in a study at the University of Michigan, which has a terminal endpoint within seven days of their arrival.

    Chronic Use

    Animal expected to remain at the University of Michigan facility for longer than seven days.

    Acclimation Period

    The time period provided to an animal after shipment to allow physiological and psychological stabilization prior to any experimental manipulation.

  • Procedures

    1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    1. Wear all PPE as listed for the housing area.
    2. Additional PPE is required due to the risk of exposure when working with sheep with orf lesions or increased risk of Q fever transmission. Refer to Protective Equipment for Working with Animals and Procedures to Reduce Human Exposure to Orf and Q Fever for further information.

    2. Housing

    1. Due to space constraints within our facilities, individual animals may not undergo a true quarantine period during which the animals are physically separated from all other animals. However, efforts will be made to separate animals as much as possible.
    2. Sheep should undergo a 48 hour acclimation period since they may have become infected with one of the causative agents of a respiratory illness during shipment, or were latent carriers of one of these agents with disease expression stimulated by the stress of transport.
      1. Sheep arriving together from the same vendor should be housed separately from other sheep at the University during the 48 hour acclimation period.
      2. Any outbreak of disease may necessitate a longer acclimation period.
      3. The clinical veterinarian is responsible for releasing any previously ill sheep from quarantine upon completion of the acclimation period.

    3. Sheep Processing

    1. Physical Examination: Sheep are given a complete physical examination within 2 business days of arrival by the veterinary residents.
      1. Quarantine: Sheep suspected of having infectious disease should be relocated to an isolated area so that other animals in the shipment may be protected. The veterinary staff will determine how to best isolate and treat potentially infectious sheep.
    2. Parasite Control:
      1. Sheep are dewormed by the vendor prior to arrival. A McMasters fecal exam will be submitted by the veterinary technicians approximately 10 days after arrival.
      2. Sheep with a positive test result will be treated at the discretion of the veterinary staff with the appropriate antiparasitic.
        1. A follow-up McMasters fecal exam should be submitted by the veterinary technicians approximately 10 days after treatment.
        2. Sheep with negative fecal exams at the time of recheck should be reevaluated every 4 months for intestinal parasites.
      3. Any sheep diagnosed with ectoparasitism will be treated as necessary by the veterinary staff.
    3. Blood Work:
      1. Blood samples will be obtained from all sheep that are intended for use in chronic studies, regardless of source status.
      2. The blood will be assayed for packed cell volume (PCV) and total protein (TP). The results will be emailed to the area veterinary staff and recorded in the medical record. Additional testing will be performed as deemed necessary by the veterinary staff.
      3. Sheep intended for acute procedures do not need blood work. However, such procedures can be done for investigators if requested. Any expenses incurred from this will be charged to the investigator.

    4. Contract Sheep Farms

    1. Investigators have the option to house conditioned or SPF purpose-bred sheep that are in long-term projects at contract farms. These farms are approved by the IACUC and have been visited as part of the University's accreditation by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International. Per-diem cost are lower for these locations. However, access and conditions for experimental procedures are more difficult.
    2. Sheep housed at these locations are typically purchased from other sources, brought to the University of Michigan, and then processed as described in this document.
    3. After experimental manipulation, the sheep are transferred to the contract farm where they are housed until the experimental time point that requires shipment back to the University of Michigan.
    4. Medical Care: University sheep housed at the contract farms are the medical responsibility of the ULAM veterinary staff. In general, preventive medical diagnostic and treatment procedures described in this document apply to sheep housed at contract farms. However, due to the unique considerations of providing preventative care and treating animals within a herd (as opposed to individual animals), some procedures may differ. Sheep housed at the contract farm facilities may be subjected to their herd health management program.
    5. Re-acclimation: When sheep are transferred to the University of Michigan after long-term housing at the contract farm, they should be housed separately from other sheep for 48 hours. This is so that these sheep can be monitored closely for illnesses secondary to shipping stress and so that they have an opportunity to recover from transit prior to experimentation.

    5. Costs

    1. In general, the Principal Investigator (PI) pays for the cost of treatments. Also see Standard Charging Procedures for Veterinary Services.
    2. If the lab requests deworming of their sheep upon arrival, there will be a charge for this service.
    3. Any additional tests beyond standard diagnostics (i.e. PCV/TP and fecal exams) requested by the lab will incur charges.

    6. Permission for Treatment

    1. The investigator must be contacted prior to treatments to obtain permission for all non-emergency treatments.
Species: Sheep

Questions or concerns about the content of this document should be directed to the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM) at (734) 764-0277 or