Animal Monitoring and Observation

The KSU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is implementing a formal program to assist the committee and investigators in observation and evaluation of research activities that have the potential for producing pain and/or distress in laboratory animals. In the 1985 amendment to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), congress made it clear that it is the statutory responsibility of the IACUC to minimize pain, distress, and discomfort in laboratory animals where possible. Since that time the USDA and the NIH Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) have clarified and refined their interpretation of the requirements for compliance regarding pain and distress. It is clear that pain and distress management, both at the institutional and investigator level, has become an important compliance issue for federal agencies regulating animal care and use. In 1985 Morton and Griffiths developed criteria for assessing pain, distress and discomfort in laboratory animals based on five general aspects of an animals condition. Researchers can use these categories as a basic departure point for pain and distress observation, evaluation, and management. Changes in body weight (and related changes in food and water intake); External physical appearance; Measurable clinical signs; Changes in unprovoked behavior; Behavioral responses to external stimuli (However, it is important to remember that species-specific behaviors differ - some species may not show significant behavioral changes even when in severe pain. Therefore, it is critical that researchers are aware of these characteristics when evaluating and managing pain and distress).