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Laboratory Animal Medicine Handbook

The Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine is a 36-month program recognized by the American College of Laboratory Animal 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 over 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 foundation upon which the individual can build a career in teaching, research and/or in the professional direction of research animal facilities.

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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 workday. 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, including satellite rooms and the MRI facility), Comparative Medicine Facility (CMF), Barrier Facilities (CMF and HCAR), and Surgical Service. Residents are responsible for any necropsy and pathology work-up originating from their assigned area (See Necropsy/Pathology Responsibilities in 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.

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 framing 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 discussions, and laboratory exercises may be used to emphasize concepts or develop technical skills. Conferences, seminars, and informal discussions also supplement the program.

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:

  • Foundations in Laboratory Animal Welfare Laws, Regulations and Guidelines CMED 801 (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 3-6 semesters of Colloquium, CMED 590A (1 credit), 6 semesters of ACLAM Journal Club, CMED 590B, the Ethics in the Life Sciences, IBIOS 591 (1 credit) course, and the Management of Animal Housing Facilities in Biomedical Research course, CMED 810 (1 credit).

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 – 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 of Graduate Studies.

The Graduate School requires all graduate students to complete the SARI (Scholarship and Research Integrity) ethics module during their first year. Graduate students are also required to participate in a minimum of 5 hours of discipline-specific ethics discussion before graduation (fulfilled in the second year by the BMS 591 course – see Course Schedule section of this handbook).

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. Residents participate in an inter-semester exercise starting in the late fall of their first year to support the process of identifying a research subject of interest and mentor. The training program director will meet with residents and potential mentors to assure that projects are the appropriate scope for a master’s degree (data collection completed within 9-12 months). No formal laboratory rotation is required. The training program director will approve the proposed research project and assist the student in selecting members of the thesis committee.

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 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 Masters 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. Other examples of masters theses from Penn State are available through this searchable database.

Master's Degree Committee Expand answer

The master’s committee will consist of three (3) or more faculty members of the university. 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 guide 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 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, however increased frequency is advised. 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 (4) weeks prior to the spring semester deadline for thesis submission. Residents participate in an inter-semester exercise during the winter/spring of their 3rd year in which their drafts of each section of their thesis are reviewed. This exercise helps students stay on track with their thesis writing and supports critical thinking/critiquing skills.

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), however they can be scheduled independently if CMED 590A is not running that semester. Note that the final presentation is not a defense (as it would be at the PhD level).

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 8 hours/day on all regular working days during normal business hours. The department’s hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 pm. 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 residency program director (Dr. Tiffany Whitcomb) about their status and ability to safely work as the situation dictates and at the request of the residency program director and department chair (Dr. Ronald Wilson).
  • 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 reasons other than illness must be approved in advance of the departure date. Requests for such absences must be in writing and submitted to the residency program director. Depending upon the situation, all or part of the absence may need to be taken as vacation time. All faculty and residents affected by the absence of the student must be notified of the intended absence via e-mail before 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 workdays) as vacation time per year. A written request (e-mail is acceptable) for vacation time must be submitted to the residency program director. Vacation days must be used within the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) and cannot be carried over. Residents are also expected to arrange for coverage of their clinical work while they are on vacation.

New Parent Leave Expand answer

Residents are eligible for up to six weeks of paid leave if they become parents, as defined in the 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.

The 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 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.
  • 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).
  • Please 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. We recognize 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 extension 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

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 (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.

Student Services

Departmental Library Expand answer

In addition to the Harrell Health Sciences Library, students have free access to the books in the departmental library (CAQ CG724). Books should not be removed from the department, unless 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 or lowest volume when worn in animal housing areas.

Computers Expand answer

Four computers are available for Comparative Medicine student use at the resident’s workstation in Room CG726 (CAQ). Additional work stations are available in CMF 171, in the receiving room (CMF 180) and at the reception desk in the CMF main office (CMF 185). 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.

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

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.

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.

Other Information

It is important for the Department of Comparative Medicine faculty and administration to know your general whereabouts in case of an emergency. Please let the office personnel know where you can be reached if you are leaving the area. Wear your assigned pager and have it turned on at all times. Pagers must be set to vibrate when in animal housing areas.

Shared Workstations Expand answer

A shared workstation is provided in CAQ CG726 as office space for your convenience. In addition, student cubicles are provided in CMF 171. To preserve the condition of these spaces for future students, you 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.
  • For shared spaces (like CMF 171, CMF 180, or CMF 185), respect that others will be using the space after you, meaning that all spills, trash or mess created during your stay should be resolved before you leave.

Clinical Responsibilities and Requirements

Residents' Clinical and Service Responsibilities Expand answer

Resident assignments alternate quarterly between the following areas:

  • Comparative Medicine Facility (CMF)
  • CMF Barrier Wing and Hershey Center for Applied Research (HCAR) Animal Facility
  • Central Animal Quarters (CAQ), including MRI and satellite areas
  • Surgical rotation, CMF Large Animal Wing and Gro-Mor Barn

The resident is expected to inspect their assigned areas as per the expectations of that clinical rotation (see below). The purpose of performing daily 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.

The resident assigned to the surgical rotation will assist with scheduled surgeries and any necessary pre- and post-procedural care. Every post-surgical animal should be observed at least once a day, or more often in accordance with the IACUC protocol. Any 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 and 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. Case discussions 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 “Requested by” on all diagnostic request slips and initialed by the resident. The veterinary pathologist should be contacted if tissues or cytology samples are submitted. 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 or the resident providing clinical care during the time of death (i.e., weekend duty or during off-hours emergencies). See Necropsy/Pathology Responsibilities in this handbook for additional information.

This schedule does not preclude the resident or faculty members from responsibility at any other time should an emergency arise. An emergency is defined as a situation that is potentially life-threatening to humans or animals or one in which immediate attention is required. In this case, the resident or faculty member will contact the other, depending on whoever is first aware of the situation. The faculty members and students must inform each other, as well as the assigned area’s administrative assistants, where they can be reached at all times to ensure rapid and effective communication. Faculty and residents 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.)
  • Check animal rooms, 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 care takers as permitted by the Program Manager and under the direction of the clinical veterinarian.
  • Meet with the clinical veterinarian for your 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 monitoring 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 (CMF 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. 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).
Clinical Rotations: CMF Barrier Wing and HCAR Animal Facility (Dr. Danielle Covington) Expand answer
  • Complete rounds daily in the HCAR Animal Facility and the CMF 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, 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, or assure that this task has been completed by an assigned veterinary technician if applicable.
  • Participate in the sentinel animal health monitoring program, including collection of tissue and samples for testing, as directed by the clinical veterinarian.
Clinical Rotations: CMF Small Animal Wings (Dr. Kara Negrini) Expand answer
  • Perform clinical rounds daily, following the prescribed traffic flow pattern. Perform rounds for USDA species within CMF Small Animal Wing once weekly.
  • Perform pre-operative evaluation, and post-operative care for rabbits undergoing surgery in the LAW OR. Also assist with pre-operative animal prep and intra-operative anesthesia monitoring.
  • Assure that treatments are completed and documented in the clinical record for rabbits or on the AON card for rodents.
  • Check any animals in Quarantine, CMF 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 CMF for the day.
  • Assist with euthanasia, collection of samples, necropsy, and processing of samples from sick animals in CMF 104 quarantine.
  • Perform routine health monitoring of colony rabbits, as it coincides with the rotation (twice annually).
  • 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 and hamsters.
  • Residents may occasionally be asked to assist veterinary technicians with rabbit toenail trimming, and weight monitoring.
Clinical Rotations: Central Animal Quarters (Dr. Jennifer Booth) 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, or assure that this task has been completed by an assigned veterinary technician if applicable.
  • Assist with the sentinel animal health monitoring program, including the collection of tissue and samples for testing.
Clinical Rotations: Surgical Rotation, Large Animal Wing and Gro-Mor Barn (Dr. Jenelle Izer) 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 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 (OR) 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, cats, dogs, rabbits, and pigs scheduled for surgery should have a complete physical examination at least 24 hours prior to surgery. In some cases, a pre-operative pain score evaluation must be performed and documented in the clinical record as well.
  • 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 be given during this period and are the responsibility of the resident. Dogs, cats, sheep, and calves should have a Temperature, Pulse, and Respiration (TPR) performed daily during the first 48-72 hours following surgery. (Animals under the care of Applied Biomedical Engineering will have this done by the animal care technicians, but the animal’s condition should still be checked and the results of the TPR and other assessments reviewed by the resident.)
Clinical Rotations: Necropsy/Pathology Responsibilities (Dr. Matthew Lanza) 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. 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% ethanol 48-72 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 (1) case of their choosing and provide a final necropsy report. A total of four (4) 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

  • On occasion, residents may be asked to present one of their pathology cases or a laboratory animal pathology topic of interest during colloquium.
  • 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.
  • The department chair (Dr. Wilson) must approve all changes in the on-call schedule in advance. Because changes in the on-call assignment must be revised on the schedule which is distributed to several 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 to 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 8 hours (1 day) of compensation time off after each on-call week they work. Compensatory days must be taken within 1 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.
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 (CMF, CAQ, HCAR, Gro-Mor Barn, MRI Facility) 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 animal care supervisor, Mr. William Moody (pager 4031, extension 282577) for husbandry team support or the director of resource and compliance management for applied biomedical engineering, Ms. Heidi Flory (extension 283219, cell: 717-580-7686) for critical care team support. Contact the program manager, Ms. Penny Devlin (pager 3731, 717-531-8465), in their absence.

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

Service to the Research Mission

Regulatory Responsibilities Expand answer

Residents are an integral part of the team of veterinarians responsible for upholding local, state, and federal regulations for the humane care and use of laboratory animals. Residents participate in pre-review of IACUC protocols, semi-annual inspections, and post-approval monitoring. Residents can expect to pre-review an average of 40 protocols per year. In order to best serve the research mission, it is required that protocol pre-reviews be completed within 3-5 business days. Residents are expected to contact IACUC administrators ( if they are not able to complete the pre-review in a timely manner, have a conflict of interest, or are going to be out of the office for an extended period (vacation, conference, etc.). During clinical rotations, residents will become familiar with humane endpoints and procedures described in approved protocols.

Teaching Responsibilities Expand answer

Domain 6 of the ACLAM Role Delineation Document identifies teaching/training as skills that specialists in laboratory animal medicine should possess at the time of certification. As such, with the support of faculty, residents will hone their skills in order to provide hands-on training to individuals or groups of researchers. It is expected that residents will attend professional development sessions, techniques practice sessions, and teach a minimum of 8 small group sessions per year as part of the Responsible Care and Use of Laboratory Animals Training Program. Additional outreach and teaching opportunities are available for residents who are interested in further developing themselves as educators.