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Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

Guideline #2

Routine & Non-Routine Restraint

Routine restraint of laboratory animals is defined as: confinement manually or in a standard species specific restraint device for less than 15 minutes. As long as this level of restraint does not cause obvious distress or discomfort to the animal, routine restraint does not require detailed description on the Protocol Form. Restraint of conscious animals for longer than 15 minutes or in non-routine restraining devices is considered non-routine restraint.

Non-routine restraint is defined as animal restraint for longer than 15 minutes, or is more confining than standard restraining devices commonly used for that species, or causes changes in the animal's behavior or physiologic parameters suggesting that the animal is experiencing distress or discomfort. Restraint that involves adverse physiological responses or is likely to induce significant physical or psychological distress to the animal requires justification on the Protocol Form, regardless of the restraint duration or technique. Non-routine restraint must be fully described and scientifically justified. Each animal use protocol proposing the use of non-routine restraint will be considered and reviewed by the IACUC on a case by case basis.

Prolonged restraint (>15 minutes) should be avoided unless it is essential for achieving research objectives and is approved by the IACUC. When non-routine restraint devices are used, they should be specifically designed to accomplish research goals that are impossible or impracticable to accomplish by other means.

The following are important guidelines for prolonged or non-routine restraint:

  • Restraint devices should not be considered normal methods of housing.
  • Restraint duration should be the minimum needed to accomplish research objectives.
  • Animals should be adapted to restraint devices.
  • Animals should be observed frequently while in restraint devices.
  • Monitoring and care should be provided.