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Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

Guideline #14

Housing Rodents on Wire Bottom Caging

The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals allows the use of wire bottom cages for housing of rodents. However, there is some evidence that rodents prefer solid bottom caging. Because of this evidence, the "Guide" recommends using solid bottom caging with bedding.

Many rodents at KSU are currently housed on wire bottom cages. The IACUC has carefully considered and discussed this issue. The attending veterinarian examined a representative sample of animals housed in wire bottom cages for signs of clinical or health problems associated with wire flooring. The attending veterinarian found no evidence that the health or welfare of rodents was compromised by housing in wire bottom cages.

The IACUC agrees in principle with the "Guide," on this issue, and recommends that whenever feasible, rodents be housed in solid bottom cages. However, the IACUC feels that the use of wire bottom cages is acceptable if:

  • Study design necessitates use of wire bottom caging.
  • Wire bottom caging does not compromise the scientific objectives of the study.
  • Enrichment strategies are employed whenever feasible.
  • The IACUC also requires that animals housed on wire be closely monitored by animal care personnel for evidence of health and welfare problems associated with wire bottom caging.