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Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

 

What is LAR?
LAR is Laboratory Animal Resources, an administratively centralized service unit with husbandry, veterinary care, and oversight responsibilities for research and teaching animals at the CVM. LAR manages facilities in 13 buildings on the CVM campus (approximately 65,000 gross square feet of space) and has a total staff of approx. 30 employees.

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What's the mission of LAR?
The mission of LAR is to provide NCSU faculty with optimal animal resources at the least practical cost. (More at LAR Mission Statement and LAR Values )

Does LAR have a web site?
Yes: Laboratory Animal Resources

What services does LAR provide?
LAR provides routine housing and husbandry for research and teaching animals, but also: research/teaching animal veterinary care; technical assistance with experimental procedures, handling, and animal transport; instruction in animal handling techniques; animal ordering; assistance with IACUC procedures; and consultation on any aspect of laboratory animal medicine or animal model development. Contact information: click on LAR Personnel from the LAR web site

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What's CPL?
CPL is the Central Procedures Laboratory, a fully equipped experimental surgery unit with operating rooms for small and large animal surgery and associated support areas. There are also conventional rooms that can be assigned for special procedures or animal housing. The CPL is managed by a licensed veterinary technician who is also an AALAS-certified Laboratory Animal Technologist; call 513-6486.

What's the IACUC?
The IACUC is the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, an NCSU-wide committee charged with oversight of the institution’s use of animals in research and teaching; it is administratively distinct from LAR, and is part of the NCSU Office of Research. The IACUC has a number of federally mandated functions, including review and approval of animal use protocols, inspection of animal housing facilities, and addressing animal welfare concerns.

What are the first steps in getting started with an animal study?
The LAR web site has a list of steps to get started: Key Steps in Getting Started . We encourage CVM personnel who plan on using animals in a research or teaching project to make contact early with the LAR Manager and/or LAR veterinary staff in order to plan the project.

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At what point in planning a study do I need to talk to someone about animal housing? Who should I talk to?
The LAR Manager is always happy to discuss upcoming projects and provide an assessment of space availability. However, making a specific commitment for space requires completion of the LAR Animal Request Form, including providing specifications for the animals and beginning/ending dates for the study.

What is the cost for me to have you house my animals?
LAR expenses are recovered in part through per diem charges billed to the PI. Charges vary by species and housing system, and are based on detailed cost accounting data approved by campus Contracts and Grants.

What’s included in the per diem rate?
Per diem rates cover routine housing, husbandry (feed, water, cleaning), and clinical care (for cases of spontaneous animal disease or injury until a diagnosis and prognosis are reasonably established.) There is no additional charge for training personnel in animal handling and other techniques, or euthanasia of individual animals for health/welfare reasons. Per diem rates also include certain overhead costs associated with administering the program, e.g., training materials, office staff and supplies.

What’s not included in the per diem rate?
Per diem rates do not include technical and veterinary services, as discussed in other FAQs and on the LAR web site . Basically, these programs are intended to provide, on a fee-for-service basis, essentially any animal manipulation needed by a CVM researcher or instructor. Per diem rates also do not cover the management of protocol-related illness or injury, or the long-term management of spontaneous illness or injury after a diagnosis is established.

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What do I do if my animal study involves hazardous substances?
All hazardous substance studies require a written Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) approved by the LAR Director. PIs are encouraged to visit with the Director or Assistant Director early in the planning process in order to facilitate the planning process. Note that additional approvals are necessary for use of radiation and biological hazards.

Do LAR animal facilities have requirements for PPE?
In the Research Building Vivarium, PPE is required upon entry (disposable lab coat and shoe covers); the requirements and supplies are in each locker room. In other LAR areas, PPE requirements are listed on the animal room door, and supplies are either in the halls or airlocks depending on the area. If a room is not posted with specific PPE requirement, a clean lab coat should be worn over street clothes.

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Are there any rules about previous animal contact before I enter my animal room? What about my pets?
Some research animal facilities have strict rules that restrict access if individuals have had recent animal contact; usually this is a limit on previous exposure to the same species in another facility, and typically applies primarily to rodents. While LAR does not have such a rule, all staff using LAR facilities are advised to avoid entry if there is any reasonable risk that they could transmit an infectious disease. We recommend that personnel avoid same-day travel from other animal facilities to LAR. Pets have the same potential to be a source of infection, especially pet rodents, which we expect to harbor unwanted subclinical infections.

What are the biosecurity concerns for LAR animals?
Concerns include infectious diseases that could be transmitted to colony animals either from other animal facilities, pets at home, or elsewhere (e.g., veterinary clinics or animal shelters). Rodent infectious disease is a primary concern because our animals are naive and non-vaccinated, and many conventional colonies (and especially pet stores) have subclinical infections that could interfere with ongoing research. LAR companion animals are vaccinated, but there remains potential for disease transmission for a number of agents, e.g., ringworm.

Is there a policy for LAR employees who have pets?
Yes. LAR is vigilant about examining potential infectious disease risks to research animals from animals outside the facility. As part of new LAR employee orientation, supervisors discuss biosecurity concerns, and the employee signs a form acknowledging the LAR policy. Biosecurity concerns arise from personnel having pets at home, working at shelters or veterinary clinics, or encountering an ill non-LAR animal. Options that may be considered include following standard PPE requirements when working with LAR animals, finding alternative food sources for pet reptiles to ensure rodents used as food are free of disease, showering upon entering LAR facilities, or temporary work assignments in other areas of the facility.

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Where can I get help with my IACUC protocol?
The IACUC Administrative Officer is always willing to help, but CVM PIs are also welcome to contact LAR veterinary staff for assistance in the preparation of the IACUC Application for Vertebrate Animal Use. Contact information: click on LAR Personnel from the LAR web site

My experiment is described in the approved IACUC protocol. Doesn't anyone in LAR read the protocol?
The LAR Director is a member of the IACUC and reads all protocols during the final stage of review (or possibly earlier if assigned as a reviewer). Once approved, the protocol is forwarded from the IACUC office to the LAR office. Although our goal is to facilitate the conduct of each study, it’s important to realize that IACUC approval is based on animal welfare and regulatory issues, and not on available resources; it is not an automatic commitment for the study to proceed. PIs are encouraged to consult with the LAR Manager and/or LAR vet staff early in the planning process, in order to better assure timely completion of a project.

What are all the signs for on animal room doors?
Each animal room will have posted room-specific information, including names of the Unit Supervisor and room technician. Most rooms will also have instruction on entry requirements, i.e. what personal protective clothing/equipment (PPE) is needed. Some rooms may have a room order indicated (primarily for LAR staff moving between animal rooms) or be posted for use of hazardous substances within. Please read signage carefully and check with the US if you have questions.

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