Table of Services

Laboratory Animal Health Facility

Function

The primary services provided by the Laboratory Animal Health Facility (LAHF) include the following: health monitoring, maintenance of an SPF rodent colony, diagnostic services, teaching, and training for investigators and their technicians, consultation with investigators, and technical services.

The health of the research animals is maintained through an established disease elimination program, strict quarantine procedures, and constant surveillance of the animals for evidence of disease. Animals are imported in the order in which the request for importation is received. Imported rodents, from collaborators, that are to be maintained at Fox Chase in either Barrier Facility are rederived by the LAHF, in conjunction with the Transgenic Mouse Facility, to eliminate any possible pathogens. This is necessary to safeguard the large number of immune-deficient mice used in this part of the animal colony. Mice obtained from other institutions may harbor potential pathogens such as Helicobacter and Pneumocystis carinii. All animals from collaborators are quarantined and rederived before entering the facility.

Rodents from commercial production colonies with extensive health monitoring indicating that the rodents are free of pathogens are imported directly into the colony. Helicobacter hepaticus and bilis, which have recently been identified as pathogens in laboratory animal medicine, have been identified in a few colonies of mice at Fox Chase. The presence of Helicobacter is something that should be eliminated in a true SPF colony, so there are plans underway to rederive the lines harboring Helicobacter. The only exceptions to SPF animals are the frogs, ducks, and wild-caught woodchucks, which are housed in separate rooms.

The LAHF maintains a sentinel animal program. Sentinel animals, known to be free of murine pathogens, are housed in all rodent rooms. These animals are regularly sampled to detect the presence of infectious agents. Overt disease states as well as latent diseases can seriously affect research. The LAHF attempts to identify and control all potential pathogens to safeguard the animals and prevent interference with experimental results. In this way, potential problem areas can be identified and measures taken to eliminate the pathogen and prevent dissemination through the colony.

Each animal at Fox Chase is also observed daily for any evidence of abnormalities. The animal caretakers submit an animal health report for each room when it is changed that identifies any animal showing any abnormalities. Such animals are examined by the LAHF and when a possible health problem is identified in the colony, animals are selected for diagnostic work. This diagnostic work includes bacteriologic cultures, serology, PCR for selected pathogens, and necropsy.

The LAHF staff also provides technical services. These services include animal surgery, antibody production in rabbits, mice, and rats, collecting samples from animals, tumor line maintenance, necropsies, tumor and cell culture screening, and microbiological/serological testing.

Description:

The LAHF maintains an animal health laboratory used for animal diagnostic services. The following equipment is contained within the LAHF:

  • Unitron ZSB No. 800141 Dissecting Microscope and Fiberoptic Light Source;
  • Nikon Binocular Microscope, 100X, 400X, 1000X, Phase option;
  • Leitz Binocular Microscope;
  • Lab-Line, No. 120 Incubator;
  • Blue M, Dry Type Bacteriological Incubator;
  • Damon/IEC MB Micro Hematocrit Centrifuge;
  • IEC Clinical Centrifuge;
  • Mettler H80 Balance;
  • Adams-Dynac Centrifuge;
  • Hybaid Omni gene PCR machine;
  • E-G 105 Electrophoresis power supply;
  • Hermle Labnet Z233 MH Centrifuge;
  • Fisher Biotech Transilluminator (FBTI-614);
  • Photo-Documentation Camera and Hood.