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Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

Guideline #10

Policy on Documentation of Post-Surgical Recovery

1. References:  AWA, Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition.

2. Purpose/Scope:  The purpose of this policy is to provide information to principle investigators on the required documentation after a research animal has a surgical procedure.

3. An important component of post-surgical care is observation of the animal and documentation of its recovery from anesthesia and major surgery. The intensity and type of monitoring necessary will vary with the species and the procedure and might be greater during the immediate anesthetic recovery period than later in postoperative recovery.

4. Definitions:

4.1. Major surgery penetrates and exposes a body cavity, involves orthopedic surgery, or produces significant impairment of physiological function.

4.2. Minor surgery is any other surgical procedure.

4.3. USDA Covered Species: dogs, cats, nonhuman primates, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, farm animals, or any other warm-blooded animal (* Members of the Genus Mus and Rattus are currently exempt from USDA coverage).

5. Documentation of recovery is required for all species undergoing a surgical procedure.

6. During consultation with the attending veterinarian, appropriate charts or forms to document post-surgical recovery should be developed. These should be detailed in the approved protocol. At a minimum, during the anesthetic recovery period, documentation should provide evidence that the animal was:

6.1 Observed continuously until fully recovered – full recovery includes normal ambulation

6.2 Kept clean, dry, and warm

6.3 Monitored for cardiovascular and respiratory function

6.4 Monitored for postoperative pain or discomfort

6.5 Additional recommended care by the AV may include administration of parental fluids for maintenance of water and electrolyte balance, analgesics, and other drugs, depending on the surgery procedure.