Unanticipated Animal Injury or Illness


Ideally, euthanasia decisions are made with the consensus of the research team and the AV.

In the event of an animal injury or illness, Animal Care staff will attempt to contact the Principal Investigator (PI). The PI must post emergency contact information in his/her lab(s), updating it as changes in personnel occur.

PIs or research personnel should immediately notify the veterinarian or animal care staff of any unanticipated animal injury or illness. Prompt notification is essential to prevent unnecessary pain or distress as well as to prevent the spread of any disease.


  • Minor emergency – the animal is in distress, but not in a life-threatening situation. Examples might be: an animal which has been unable to obtain food or water for a short period of time, minor wounds, a suture or staple missing from an incision but the incision remains closed.
  • Extreme emergency – the animal needs immediate intervention/euthanasia. Examples might be: uncontrollable bleeding, continuous seizures, fractures, extreme dehydration, and severe self-mutilation resulting in open wounds.

Procedures For Animal Care Staff

  • During normal working hours (8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.), Animal Care staff will contact the PI via all available contact numbers and email address provided by the PI.
  • If after 30 minutes there is no response by phone or email, Animal Care staff will contact the Attending Veterinarian or Alternate Veterinarian. The Veterinarian will take appropriate action.
  • If this is an extreme emergency, Animal Care staff will contact the Attending or Alternate Veterinarian and then call the PI. The Attending or Alternate Veterinarian or their representative will take appropriate action. Animal Care staff will notify the PI by email of action taken by the Veterinarian.

Procedures For PI or Research Personnel

  1. Contact a member of the animal care staff or the veterinarian in the vivarium or call one of the emergency numbers posted on the vivarium office door.
  2. The PI may wish to treat or euthanize the animal based on the severity of the situation and its effect on the research. The veterinarian or the animal care staff should be notified of this decision as soon as possible.

The Attending or Alternate Veterinarian or their representative will take immediate action, irrespective of the above procedures, when he/she feels that the life of the animal is in jeopardy or if the animal appears to be experiencing undue pain or distress.


The Guide, pg. 46 
AWAR §2.31,d,vi; §2.31,d vii