Skip to content

2020 Laboratory Animal Medicine Handbook

The Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine is a 36-month program recognized by the American College of Laboratory Medicine (ACLAM). The program combines clinical and professional experience in laboratory animal medicine with advanced study leading to a Master of Science degree in Laboratory Animal Medicine.

This format meets the basic requirements of the ACLAM standards for training programs, providing more than 2,000 hours of supervised practice of laboratory animal medicine, approximately 500 hours of didactic teaching, and a mentored research component in the form of a thesis research project for the Master of Science degree.

The general plan is one that provides a broad, basic foundation upon which the individual can build a career in teaching, research, and/or in the professional direction of research animal facilities.

Jump to topic


General Information

About the Residency Program Expand answer

The goal of the residency program is to provide a broad base of training and experience in all aspects of an animal care and use program and to meet the required 2,000 hours of supervised practice of laboratory animal medicine specified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.

The practice of laboratory animal medicine includes clinical care of research animals, preventive medicine, preoperative and postoperative care of surgically–manipulated animals, diagnosis of laboratory animal diseases, regulatory compliance and facility management.

The residency program is a joint effort between the student and the faculty, although primary responsibility for the diagnostic and clinical service rest with the assigned faculty member. The assigned faculty member, in turn, is responsible for involving the resident in those activities with educational benefit.

As an employee of the College of Medicine, the resident provides professional service in the form of veterinary care for the animal care and use program which may involve a significant portion of the work day. Meeting clinical/professional responsibilities and academic work will likely require working beyond normal business hours. Due to the major commitment that an intensive three–year training program entails, residents may not hold part–time employment or devote significant portions of their time to activities unrelated to the training program.

Residents are assigned clinical responsibilities on a rotating basis each quarter. The rotations are Central Animal Quarters (CAQ), Animal Research Farm (ARF), Barrier Facilities (ARF and HCAR), and Surgical Service.

Residents are responsible for any necropsy and pathology work-up originating from their assigned area and this work must be completed promptly (see the Necropsy/Pathology Responsibilities section of this handbook). Residents may be asked to assist in providing professional service in any of the other areas if needed.

Additional details are provided in the Residents’ Clinical and Service Responsibilities section of this handbook.

Other Information Expand answer

It is important for Department of Comparative Medicine faculty and administration to know each resident’s general whereabouts in case of an emergency. Residents should let office personnel know where they can be reached if they are leaving the area. Residents must wear their assigned pager and have it turned on at all times. Pagers must be set to vibrate when worn in animal housing areas.

A shared workstation is provided in CAQ CG726 as office-type space for resident convenience. In addition, student cubicles are provided in ARF 171.

To preserve the condition of these spaces for future students, residents are requested to observe the following:

  • Do not use thumbtacks, nails, screws, etc., to affix anything to the woodwork or walls.
  • If items are displayed by using tape or some other type of adhesive, use a type that will not leave any residual marks.
  • Cubicles or work areas should be kept neat and orderly at all times.

Academic Requirements: Master of Science Degree

Overview Expand answer

The academic program is research-oriented and requires a basic knowledge of laboratory animal medicine. This information is presented in a core curriculum of lectures and active learning sessions, which are designed to review and update fundamental concepts; provide new information; and guide the student to the pertinent literature.

The curriculum is framed theoretically and practically from the perspective of active learning. For example, diagnostic cases, group discussion, and laboratory exercises may be used to emphasize concepts or develop technical skills.

Conferences, seminars, and informal discussions also supplement the program.

This approach to graduate education demands the coordinated effort of both the student and faculty. The relative success of your training will be a direct extension of your efforts. We expect this to be a major commitment in your life, and it will require a maximum effort and dedication during your tenure with us.

Coursework Expand answer

Students must earn a minimum of 30 credits for the master’s degree (see Course Schedule section of this handbook).

The required courses include:

  • Laws, Regulations and Guidelines, CMED 597 (3 credits)
  • Biology and Care of Laboratory Animals, CMED 501 (3 credits)
  • Laboratory Animal Genetics, CMED 503 (3 credits)
  • Techniques of Animal Experimentation, CMED 507 (3 credits)
  • Experimental Surgery of Laboratory Animals, CMED 515 (3 credits)
  • Diseases of Laboratory Animals I, CMED 530 (3 credits)
  • Diseases of Laboratory Animals II, CMED 531 (3 credits)
  • Thesis Research, CMED 600 (minimum 9 credits)

In addition, students must complete three to six semesters of Colloquium, CMED 590 (1 credit) and Ethics in the Life Sciences, BMS 591 (1 credit).

Students may also elect to complete an independent study in a selected topic (CMED 596) or other courses with the approval of the Training Program Director.

Each student must complete a hypothesis-driven research project which includes submission of a written thesis, and a final presentation of their research work to their thesis committee, fellow residents and department faculty.

Research may earn 9 to 12 credits (CMED 600) and is given an “R” grade. A 3.00 average or better must be maintained to remain in the program. Course work receiving an “R” grade is not calculated in the cumulative average.

Because of the 36-month limitation to the training program and commitment to the professional veterinary service mission of the department, there is no guarantee that opportunities to make up deficient academic work will be available. Circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis with the program director, department chair and Associate Dean for Graduate Education.

Other coursework may be taken if approved in advance by the chair of the Department of Comparative Medicine and, if necessary, the course director or director of the respective program. Available courses are not limited to the College of Medicine, but may also be taken at Penn State Harrisburg, University Park, or other Commonwealth campuses of Penn State or the World Campus.

In some cases there may be prerequisite requirements and additional tuition expenses. Travel arrangements to other campuses will be the responsibility of the student.

The Graduate School requires all graduate students to complete an online training ethics module during their first year, and participate in a minimum of 5 hours of discipline-specific ethics discussion before graduation. An overview of the program can be found here.

Additional details are provided during the orientation for new graduate students.

Thesis Research Expand answer

An original research project that utilizes the scientific method and will result in a manuscript that meets the first-author publication requirements for credentialing by ACLAM is required for completion of the degree. The resident is encouraged to attend the faculty and graduate student research retreat and graduate student research days (as applicable) to identify a research subject of interest and a potential mentor.

Given the shortened period of time in which to conduct research, projects should be selected that can be completed in 9 to 12 months. No formal laboratory rotation is required, but the student is advised to work with their research mentor to begin discussion and planning of research projects early in the first year.

The training program director will approve the proposed research project and assist the student in selecting members of the thesis committee.

Residents are reminded that completion of the thesis research is required to complete the training program and the master’s degree requirements.

The research work culminates in a written thesis, approved by at least two-thirds of the members of the thesis committee, submitted to The Graduate School (see the section of this handbook titled Thesis Research Project Timeline).

Acceptance of a written thesis by the Graduate School is required for completion of the training program.

A final presentation of the research work is made to the thesis committee, department faculty, residents and staff. Submission of a manuscript based on the research before the end of the training period is highly encouraged, but not a requirement for completion of the Master of Science degree. However, to apply to take the ACLAM board examination, acceptance of a first author publication is required (see the ACLAM website for additional information).

Residents should use their target journal format for their thesis or thesis sections to assist in preparation of the final manuscript and follow the optional journal format permitted by The Graduate School.

Briefly, to meet the requirements of the alternative journal format, the thesis must consist of the research work summarized in a manuscript with an extensive literature review placed in the appendix along with any tables, figures or information that is important to the thesis project, but not relevant for the manuscript. The resident and their thesis committee will determine the appropriate journal for the research. The student is encouraged to use the “instructions to authors” from their target journal as a guideline.

Copies of completed theses of past residents are available in Room CG724 (CAQ Conference room) for reference.

Master's Degree Committee Expand answer

The master’s committee will consists of three or more faculty members of the university (one committee member can be from outside the institution). At least one member of the committee must be a member of The Graduate Faculty.

One member of the committee must be a member of the Department of Comparative Medicine and will serve as the chair of the thesis committee. The role of the chair is to ensure the committee addresses the overall goals of the training program.

One committee member will serve as the thesis advisor and provide guidance to the student in the research. Thus, the thesis advisor should be the “expert” in the subject of the thesis. The thesis advisor may be a faculty member outside the department. The chair of the committee and the thesis advisor may be the same individual if appropriate. The training program director should be listed on the signatory page of the thesis but does not need to be a member of the committee.

One committee member can be from outside the institution if their expertise suits the project. The Training Program Director should be listed on the signatory page of the thesis but does not need to be a member of the committee.

The responsibilities of the master’s degree committee are to provide general guidance for the student and to ensure successful completion of the thesis research.

The committee will meet with the student a minimum of three times. The first meeting will be during the spring semester of the student’s first year to review and approve the student’s thesis research proposal. The second meeting will occur during the student’s second year to assess the progress of the research. A third meeting is held in the spring semester of the student’s third year to again assess the progress of the research and approve the final master’s thesis. The third meeting should occur no later than four weeks prior to the spring semester deadline for thesis submission.

Students are encouraged to schedule additional committee meetings to assure appropriate progress and seek guidance when needed.

The student will give three presentations related to their research. A presentation of the proposed research will occur during the spring semester of the first year. The presentation of the student’s research progress to date will occur during the spring semester of the second year. A final presentation will be given during the spring semester of the third year. The presentations are generally scheduled as part of Colloquium (CMED 590A). The final presentation is not required to be a defense for the master’s degree.

External Rotations Expand answer

External rotations may be possible with approval of the program director and department chair. Residents are responsible for scheduling the dates and other details of the rotations, in consultation with the program director.

Course Schedule Expand answer
Thesis Research Project Timeline Expand answer

Departmental Standards

Attendance Expand answer
  • All residents/graduate students are expected to be in attendance at least eight hours a day on all regular working days during normal business hours. The department’s hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents are expected to be present during normal business hours. Time off for local errands may be requested if they cannot be accomplished during the regular lunch hour period (noon to 1 p.m.) or after business hours.
  • Veterinary residents are considered essential personnel during emergency situations. An emergency contact system (communication tree) will be utilized to share information and plans for veterinary medical care of animals during times of crisis. Residents should report to the director about their status and ability to safely work as the situation dictates and at the request of the director and chair.
  • Attendance at Grand Rounds, Comparative Pathology Conference, department seminars and other department events is expected.
  • Absences for illness must be reported to 717-531-8460 no later than 8:30 a.m. on the day of absence.
  • Absences for other than illness must be approved in advance of the departure date. Requests for such absences must be in writing and submitted to the program director. Depending upon the situation, all or part of the absence may need to be taken as vacation time. All faculty affected by the absence of the student must be notified of the intended absence via email prior to submission of requests. Requests may not be approved if they interfere with class schedules or other assignments.
Vacation Expand answer

The resident may take up to two weeks (10 work days) as vacation time per year.

A written request (email is acceptable) for vacation time must be submitted to the training program director.

Vacation days must be used within the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) and cannot be carried over.

New Parent Leave Expand answer

Residents are eligible for up to six weeks of paid leave in the event that they become parents, as defined in Penn State Guidelines for Graduate Assistant Paid Leave.

Residents requiring new parent leave must submit an online request as soon as the date of adoption or anticipated birth is known.

Faculty will work with the resident to make up didactic work, as circumstances allow.

Travel Expand answer

Each resident will be eligible for supported travel to one regional or national meeting during each year in the program. Residents are expected to submit an abstract for a poster presentation to the meeting of their choice. Residents are also expected to arrange for coverage of their clinical work while they attend meetings.

The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • First-year residents will attend one of two local AALAS branch meetings after the completion of spring semester (AALAS Tribranch meeting, typically held in early June in Atlantic City, N.J.; AALAS QUAD meeting, typically held in early May in Uncasville, Conn.)
  • Second-year residents will attend the AVMA national convention, typically held in mid- July to early August.
  • Third-year residents will attend the AALAS national meeting, typically held in late October to early November.
  • Residents are expected to submit an abstract for a poster or platform presentation for the meetings they are attending. Faculty members provide support and mentorship for all aspects of this process.
  • Residents may be eligible for additional support for attendance of local meetings, depending on location and availability of funds. (Locally offered IACUC 101 courses and PRIM&R meeting are examples).
  • Note that local, state and national restrictions of travel due to disease outbreaks or natural or human-made disasters may prevent some or all conference attendance. Virtual attendance will be supported, when available.
Dress Code Expand answer

Residents are expected to dress in a manner consistent with a positive professional image. The program recognizes that clothes do not make a person. However, one must remember that it is not uncommon for our department to interact with members of the senior administration, outside organizations and the general public. Open-toed shoes or spiked heels are not acceptable for safety reasons. T-shirts and shorts are not appropriate dress during business hours.

Three lab coats are provided by the department. On-site laundering may be arranged. (Contact the program manager for additional information at 717-531-8465). If additional lab coats are required, they may be purchased online from Linen Services (internal network access only; Penn State Health ePass login required).

Confidentiality and Proprietary Information Expand answer

Research, by its very nature, involves techniques, methods and information which must be protected until published in the public domain.

Examples of protected information include:

  • details of ongoing research
  • information included in protocols and grant applications
  • information shared in different venues such as IACUC meetings

You should never post confidential or proprietary information on social media. Use good ethical judgment and do not post pictures you may take of research animals, whether with your cell phone or a camera.

On-campus users can refer to the Animal Facility Photography Policy 19.8 and Use of Electronic Devices Policy 19.9 for details (Penn State Health ePass login required).

When there is a legitimate need to take photos (research or necropsies), residents should use a department camera, not connected to a cloud server.

Student Services

Departmental Library Expand answer

In addition to the Harrell Health Sciences Library, students have free access to the limited books in the departmental library (CAQ CG724). Books should not be removed from the department nless they have been properly checked out with the clerical personnel.

Supplies Expand answer

Pens, pencils and paper will be provided for business use only. Learner’s portfolio materials will be provided to residents. File folders and other items for personal use must be purchased by the student.

Pagers Expand answer

A pager is issued to each resident and must be used during normal business hours and when on-call. Pagers should be set on vibrate when worn in animal housing areas.

No cell phones, MP3 players, or other electronic devices are permitted in animal housing areas.

On-campus users can refer to the Use of Electronic Devices Policy 19.9 for details (Penn State Health ePass login required).

Computers Expand answer

Four computers are available for Comparative Medicine student use at the residents’ workstation in Room CG726 (CAQ). Additional work stations are available in Room 171 in the ARF and in the receiving room (ARF 180).

The computers used by the clerical staff are for their use only.

Computers are also available for student use in the Harrell Health Sciences Library (first floor).

Technical and Clerical Services Expand answer

The services of technical and clerical personnel are, in general, not available to students, except for special circumstances pre-approved by the department chair.

Financial Assistance

Salary and Tuition Expand answer

Department of Comparative Medicine residents are appointed as half-time graduate assistants to assist in the provision of clinical care and professional services.

As graduate assistants, residents receive financial support, and tuition is covered by the College of Medicine.

For other students, financial assistance may be provided in the form of a research fellowship, or military pay and allowances.

Students appointed as graduate assistants must maintain a 3.0 grade point average to retain their eligibility.

Students receiving any form of financial assistance from any source may not engage in part-time employment.

Clinical Responsibilities and Requirements

Residents' Clinical and Service Responsibilities Expand answer

Resident assignments alternate quarterly between the following areas:

  • Animal Research Farm (ARF)
  • ARF Barrier Wing and Hershey Center for Applied Research (HCAR) Animal Facility
  • Central Animal Quarters (CAQ)
  • Surgical rotation, ARF Large Animal Wing and Gro-Mor Barn

The resident is expected to make an inspection of their assigned area beginning no later than 8 a.m. each morning (10:30 a.m. for the CAQ rotation). The purpose of these “rounds” is to study normal, as well as abnormal, behavioral patterns of the animals and provide clinical care for new and ongoing cases.

The resident is responsible for the initial assessment of every animal problem identified by the animal care staff or research personnel.

The resident will then present their assessment of the case to the clinical veterinarian assigned to the area. The clinical veterinarian and resident will determine the appropriate diagnostic and treatment options and communicate their findings and plans to the principal investigator or research staff. The clinical veterinarian may delegate additional follow-up to the resident.

Every postsurgical animal should be observed at least twice a day. An animal which is believed to be abnormal will be given a complete physical examination after determining its history. All relevant findings should be made in writing in the animal’s clinical record or on the Animal Observation Notification (AON) card, as applicable.

These findings, as well as recommended diagnostic tests, differential diagnoses, therapies or other management strategies must be presented and discussed with the clinical veterinarian responsible for that area. This will normally be done immediately following morning rounds.

Presentations of case materials and results of diagnostic tests should be discussed with the clinical veterinarian as soon as possible.

The faculty mentor”s name should be placed in the space marked “Requested by” on all diagnostic request slips and initiated by both the faculty mentor and resident. The faculty mentor will discuss the results with the resident as soon as possible after receipt from the diagnostic laboratory.

Any dead or euthanized animals submitted for necropsy will be the responsibility of the resident assigned to the area in which the animals were housed. The resident assigned to the surgical rotation will assist with scheduled surgeries and any necessary pre- and post-procedural care. However, any resident is welcomed and encouraged to participate in these activities if their schedule permits.

This schedule does not preclude the resident and/or faculty members from responsibility at any other time should an emergency arrive. An emergency is defined as a situation which is potentially life-threatening or one in which immediate attention is required. In this case, the resident or faculty member will contact the other. In order for this to function, it is necessary that the faculty members and students inform each other, as well as the assigned area’s administrative assistants, where they can be reached. They also must wear their assigned pagers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week.

Clinical Rotations: All Areas Expand answer

Routine responsibilities:

  • Complete daily rounds of the assigned clinical area, according to flow patterns as applicable. (See the resident rotation schedule on the network drive.)
  • Check each animal room, assessing especially those animals identified for observation (AON card). Animal room checks should also include an assessment of appropriate environmental conditions as well as identification of any other non-animal related problems.
  • Perform and document all treatments. Treatments may be performed by veterinary technicians or animal caretakers as permitted by the program manager and under the direction of the clinical veterinarian.
  • Meet with the clinical veterinarian for the assigned area and discuss the cases and develop a management plan. The clinical veterinarian will determine the appropriate follow-up. It is expected as residents gain experience, they will take on more responsibilities for follow-up on cases and communication with research staff.
  • Other diagnostic and routine procedures will be scheduled in advance in conjunction with the clinical veterinarian.
  • Diagnostic tests or procedures on animals whose lives are in danger will be done as soon as possible. Non-life-threatening situations may be scheduled in advance.
  • Quarantine/Acclimation:
    • Refer to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual for the appropriate quarantine/acclimation period for each species.
    • Generally, rodents (purchased from approved vendors) are acclimated in the room in which they will be permanently housed and released from acclimation on the Monday following receipt.
    • Any medical problems or unexpected deaths during quarantine or acclimation should be reported immediately to the clinical veterinarian and the research resource specialist (ARF 185) to qualify for possible replacement or credit.
    • Any animal that becomes ill or dies while in quarantine or acclimation must be necropsied.
    • Animals cannot be used for experimentation while in quarantine or under acclimation, or released early from quarantine/acclimation without the approval of the director of the Animal Resource Program (Dr. Ronald Wilson).
  • In general, necropsies should be completed for all dead or euthanized animals, especially if there is unexpected morbidity or mortality. Residents should work in close communication with the clinical veterinarian and pathologist to determine whether a necropsy should be performed (see Necropsy/Pathology Responsibilities section of this handbook).
ARF Barrier Wing and HCAR Animal Facility Expand answer
  • Complete rounds daily in the HCAR Animal Facility and the ARF Barrier Wing following the prescribed traffic flow pattern.
  • Assure that routine treatments are completed and documented on the AON card. All residents are responsible for performing routine treatments (teeth trims, nail trims, medication administration) and/or assuring that treatments have been performed (researchers may elect to be trained to perform their own treatments and some animal care givers may be authorized to do some treatments like teeth trims).
  • Evaluate cages that have been flagged with red overcrowded cards and communicate with researchers to address the overcrowding, if necessary.
  • Participation in the sentinel animal health monitoring program, including collection of tissue and samples for testing, as directed by the clinical veterinarian.
ARF Small Animal Wings Expand answer
  • Make round of the small animal wings daily, following the prescribed traffic flow pattern.
  • Assure that routine treatments are completed and documented in the clinical record for rabbits and guinea pigs or on the AON card for rodents.
  • Check any animals in Quarantine (ARF 104) that are identified by the animal care staff as requiring veterinary attention. Note: This room is to be entered only after entering all other animal rooms at ARF or CAQ for the day, except for ARF 144 with known contaminated mice for rederivation.
  • Assist with termination, collection of samples, necropsy, and processing of samples from sentinel animals in ARF 104 quarantine.
  • Evaluate cages that have been flagged with red overcrowded cards and communicate with researchers to address the overcrowding, if necessary.
  • Assist with tracking the USDA census of rabbits.
  • Residents may occasionally be asked to assist veterinary technicians with toenail trimming and weight monitoring.
Central Animal Quarters Expand answer
  • Make rounds of all areas daily, following the prescribed traffic flow pattern.
  • Perform weekly rounds of the Zebrafish Core (CG746) and satellite rooms that are actively housing animals.
  • Assure that routine treatments are completed and documented on the AON card. All residents are responsible for performing routine treatments (teeth trims, nail trims, medication administration) and/or assuring that treatments have been performed (researchers may elect to be trained to perform their own treatments, a veterinary technician may be available to perform treatments and some animal care staff may be authorized to do some treatments like initial teeth trims).
  • Evaluate cages that have been flagged with red overcrowded cards and communicate with researchers to address the overcrowding, if necessary.
  • Assist with the sentinel animal health monitoring program, including the collection of tissue and samples for testing.
Surgical Rotation, Large Animal Wing and Gro-Mor Barn Expand answer
  • Make rounds of the Large Animal Wing and Gro-Mor Barn daily.
  • Calves, sheep and pigs should be examined upon arrival from the vendor, including a complete physical examination, which is to be documented in the clinical record. If circumstances prevent an examination upon receipt of the animal, the examination must be within 24 hours of receipt from the vendor.
  • Discuss the operating room schedule with Dr. Izer and periodically review the Microsoft Outlook procedure caLendar. Discuss upcoming cases with Dr. Izer beforehand and determine what pre- and post-procedural care will be needed.
  • Calves, sheep, rabbits and pigs scheduled for surgery should have a complete physical examination at least 24 hours prior to surgery. In some cases, preoperative blood work may be required; check with the clinical veterinarian.
  • Post-surgical animals should be examined at least twice a day for the first 48 hours post-surgery. Assessment of the animal for signs of pain or distress is an essential part of this examination. All findings, treatments and procedures must be recorded in the animal’s medical record. In most cases, analgesic drugs will to be given during this period and are the responsibility of the resident. Sheep and calves should have a TPR done daily during the first 48 to 72 hours following surgery. (Animals under the care of Applied Biomedical Engineering will have this done by their animal technicians, but the animal’s condition should still be checked and the results of TPR and other assessments reviewed by the resident.)
  • Assist with tracking of the census of USDA animals.
Necropsy/Pathology Responsibilities Expand answer

Performing a Necropsy

  • Gather the background information on the animal, including the species/strain, age, sex, identification number, protocol number, receiving or birth date, supplier and location/room number. Residents are encouraged to have a basic understanding of the research IACUC protocol and if there were any experimental manipulations performed on the animal.
  • Contact the pathologist by calling their office (717-531-6513) or cell phone (717-437-1982). Texts are also permitted to that cell number and, on occasion, a faster mode of communication. However, if no response is obtained within 10 minutes, follow up with a phone call. The pathologist will discuss the case with the resident, and together the pathologist and resident will develop a plan for the necropsy (location, time, etc.). Occasionally, the pathologist will be notified of a case before the resident. In these instances, it is the pathologist’s responsibility to contact the resident.

Necropsy Case Follow-up

  • The resident is responsible for writing the gross necropsy report on all diagnostic necropsies and must email the completed report to the pathologist within 48 hours of the necropsy. An electronic form is available on the shared drive to aid in report writing. The veterinary pathologist will review the report, provide comments and return the comments to the resident by 72 hours post-necropsy. The resident does not have to make additional changes to the report but is encouraged to follow up with the pathologist with any questions or comments.
  • The pathologist or resident will upload photos from the necropsy onto the Necropsy Photo Database (M drive: Comparative Medicine -> Public -> Necropsy Photo Database). The photos are posted in the drive for post-necropsy review and future use in
    presentations, case reports, or other scientific documents. The use of a cell phone to take photos during the necropsy is strongly discouraged for biohazard and security reasons. Instead, residents should use the designated departmental necropsy camera.
  • The resident is responsible for transferring the tissues from formalin to 70 percent ethanol 48 to 72 hours after the necropsy. Tissues from larger animals may take longer to fix. If the resident is not available to change the fixative (e.g., sick or out of the office), the resident must plan with a colleague or the pathologist to have the tissues transferred. After 48 hours, the tissues should be trimmed in for histology. The resident is responsible for trimming in tissues from their cases.
  • During each rotation, residents are expected to interpret the histopathology of one case of their choosing and provide a final necropsy report. A total of four cases are completed each year. If there are no cases during the resident’s tenure on any given rotation, they may pick up an extra case on the next rotation. Other diagnostic cases will be completed by the veterinary pathologist, but the resident on the case and the pathologist will review the slides together.

Additional Pathology Training

  • Attendance and participation in Comparative Pathology Conference is mandatory. When a resident is not available to attend, they should notify the pathologist. On occasion, residents may be asked to present one of their pathology cases or a laboratory animal pathology topic of interest during pathology conference. These presentations will be scheduled in advance and will take the resident’s other obligations into consideration.
  • Other pathology training opportunities such as virtual conferences or lectures or experimental necropsies will be occasionally available. These are not mandatory but are highly encouraged.
On-Call Duties Expand answer
  • Each resident will participate, along with faculty veterinarians, in providing emergency coverage on a rotating schedule. Residents can anticipate that they will be assigned on-call for at least one major holiday per year. In most cases, residents are able to plan major holiday emergency coverage with one another in a manner that allows individuals to celebrate religious holidays yet provides fairness in distribution of holiday duties.
  • Dr. Ronald Wilsom must approve all changes in the on-call schedule in advance. Because changes in on-call assignment must be revised on the schedule which is distributed to a number of different places, changes must be kept to a minimum.
  • Residents will be assigned a pager which must be worn at all times when on-call. They are also encouraged to wear their pagers during regular working hours when not on call. Pager numbers, home telephone numbers and cell phone numbers (if available) will be listed on the on-call schedule, placards that are placed throughout the animal facility and on the Animal Resources Program webpage (Penn State Access ID login required).
  • The on-call veterinarian is expected make a daily assessment of all cases identified as needing follow–up on weekends and holidays, beginning no later than 9 a.m. In some situations, the on–call veterinarian may be required to provide treatment although treatments are usually coordinated with animal care and research staff.
  • The on-call veterinarian must respond by telephone to any page within 15 minutes and should be prepared to physically respond to an emergency within 30 minutes of the call.
  • On-call veterinarians must check-in with the animal care staff before leaving each day to assure that there are no new cases requiring examination.
  • Residents will be provided eight hours (one day) of compensation time off after each on-call week they work. Compensatory half days must be taken within one month of the on-call week and cannot be accumulated. Compensatory days should be negotiated among the faculty and residents to assure that there is appropriate coverage for all clinical areas and that important opportunities for learning are not missed.
  • Residents may be scheduled for on-call duty on any of these recognized holidays: New Year’s Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day and Christmas Day. Residents who perform on-call duties during university holidays will be granted a compensatory day for each holiday day worked. The timing of compensatory days off will be handled in the same manner as other vacation days. Residents are expected to participate in holiday coverage for the duration of the residency. Residents are expected to negotiate holiday veterinary duties so that all residents share in holiday coverage equally each year (it is not a rite of passage for first-year residents to cover all holidays). Inform the program director if there is a concern about equity of holiday coverage.
How to Report Problems in Animal Facilities Expand answer

When an animal is found sick, moribund or dead, note the following before contacting the clinical veterinarian or pathologist:

  • Species, age, sex, identification number (if it has one), and animal protocol number
  • Receiving date and supplier
  • Location (ARF, CAQ, HCAR, Gro-Mor Barn) and room number
  • Review the associated animal protocol (located in CATS IACUC) to understand the research project.

When a personnel or management problem is observed, contact the program manager, Ms. Penny Devlin (pager 3731, 717-531-8465).

When an environmental problem (air flow, plumbing, temperature, lighting, alarms, etc.) is observed, contact the following according to severity and availability of the person:

  • Ms. Penny Devlin – 717-531-8465, pager 3731
  • Kasey Rubendall – pager 7374
  • Building Operations Center (BOC) – 717-531-8096