The Animal Welfare Act regulations (9CFR, chapter 1, subchapter A) require that survival surgeries be performed using aseptic techniques, and in non-rodent mammalian species the procedure must be done in a dedicated surgical facility. The animal facility currently houses a dedicated surgical facility for USDA-covered species.
Investigators performing survival surgery in rodents and other non-USDA covered species outside the animal facility must identify where this will take place. Individuals performing these procedures must be appropriately trained to perform them.
Survival surgery can either be major or minor.
- Major survival surgery penetrates and exposes a body cavity or produces substantial impairment of physical or physiologic functions. All major surgical procedures require aseptic technique. Federal regulations permit only one major survival surgery, except when scientifically justified and approved by the IACUC (see below).
- Minor survival surgery does not expose a body cavity and causes little or no physical impairment. Although minor procedures may be performed under less stringent conditions than major surgeries and do not require a dedicated surgery facility, aseptic technique is required nevertheless.
Multiple Surgical Procedures
As noted above, Federal regulations permit only one major survival surgery, except when scientifically justified and approved by the IACUC. The following represent acceptable rationale for multiple surgical procedures:
- The nature of the protocol requires it to achieve the desired physical or physiological effect.
- There is no other alternative available.
- The surgical procedure is needed to create the animal model.
Written scientific justification must be provided to IACUC for approval. In any case, sufficient time between surgeries must be provided to allow for proper recovery. Cost alone is not an acceptable reason for performing multiple major survival surgical procedures.