THE VETERINARIAN AND THE ANIMAL CARE PROGRAM
Under the Animal Welfare Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requires that all persons who use animals in research or for exhibition, sell them at the wholesale level, or transport them in commerce provide these animals with adequate veterinary care and animal husbandry. Toward this end, APHIS requires the owner of each licensed and registered facility to establish a formal program of veterinary care and to employ an attending veterinarian to oversee the care afforded the animals.
B. THE ROLE OF THE ATTENDING VETERINARIAN
- CWU employs its veterinarian under formal arrangements on a consulting basis.
- The veterinarian delegates direct authority and responsibility to prepare a written program of veterinary care and implement the PHS Policy on a daily basis to the animal care facilities managers . They schedule regular visits by the attending veterinarian as needed. The attending veterinarian is responsible for reviewing the facility's veterinary care program at least twice a year.
- The veterinarian has authority to ensure adequate veterinary care for the animals.
- The veterinarian is involved in the review and approval of all animal care and use in the institutional program. This includes advising on the design and performance of experiments using animals as related to model selection, collection and analysis of samples and data from animals, and methods and techniques proposed or in use. This responsibility is shared with investigators and the IACUC.
See Appendix D for more complete description of the veterinarian's responsibilities in the animal care program.
C. ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF THE VETERINARY CARE PROGRAM
APHIS has established the following as essential components of a veterinary program that should be assessed at least once a year:
- Appropriate facilities, personnel, equipment, and services to provide adequate veterinary care.
- Use of appropriate methods to prevent, control, diagnose, and treat diseases and injuries.
- Availability of emergency, weekend, and holiday care for animals.
- Daily observation of all animals by employees or trained technicians to assess the animals' health and well-being.
- Direct and frequent communication between the facility and attending veterinarian on any veterinary care concerns.
- Adequate guidance and training of personnel who care for animals regarding handling, immobilization, anesthesia, analgesia, tranquilization, and euthanasia.
- Provisions for adequate preprocedural and postprocedural care in accordance with established veterinary medical and nursing procedures.
- Other related topics that may arise.