Semiannual Program Review and Facility Inspection Checklist

About the checklist

The Semiannual Program Review and Facility Inspection Checklist is provided to assist institutions in conducting their semiannual reviews of programs and facilities for the care and use of animals. The Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Policy), section IV.B.1.-2., requires the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to review the institution's program for humane care and use of animals and inspect all of the institution's animal facilities at least once every 6 months using the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition (Guide) as a basis for evaluation.

How to use the checklist

This checklist is a tool to assist IACUCs in conducting thorough semiannual reviews. IACUCs are not required to use this checklist but are encouraged to amend it as necessary to reflect institutional programs and needs, or to develop their own checklist. If the checklist is modified, periodic review of the checklist is recommended to ensure relevant topics are considered as the animal care and use program changes.

The checklist covers the major topics of the Guide and the requirements of the PHS Policy. The checklist does not replace the Guide, but should be utilized in conjunction with the Guide. The Guide provides the standards, recommendations, and descriptions of desired outcomes necessary to evaluate and inspect an animal care and use program. Relevant references for the Guide and the PHS Policy are noted. Endnotes are included to reference specific U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulatory requirements that differ from the PHS Policy. Topics that are new to this version of the checklist or identified as a “must” in the Guide are highlighted. A column to identify changes that have occurred in the institution’s program for animal care and use (PHS Policy IV.A.1.a.-i.) since the last review is also a new feature.


The checklist consists of the following sections:

     I.    Semiannual Program Review Checklist

·         Institutional Policies and Responsibilities

·         Veterinary Care

   II.    Semiannual Facility Inspection Checklist

·         Terrestrial Animal Housing and Support Areas

·         Aquatic Animal Housing and Support Areas

·         Cagewash

·         Special Facilities: Aseptic Surgery

·         Special Facilities: Procedure Areas, Non-survival Surgeries, Laboratories, Rodent Surgeries, Imaging, Whole Body Irradiation, Hazardous Agent Containment, Behavioral Studies

  III.    Semiannual Program Review and Facility Inspection Report

  IV.    Endnotes

It is recommended that the Program Review section be completed during an IACUC meeting. Because physical aspects of a program require visual observation to evaluate, it is recommended that the Facility Inspection section be completed during an inspection of the facilities, including satellite facilities.


A table is provided, “Semiannual Program Review and Facility Inspection Report,” as a format for the IACUC to organize and track information regarding deficiencies, and plans and schedules for correction. IACUCs may choose to attach the table to the Semiannual Report to the Institutional Official.

Questions or comments?

Suggestions or comments about this checklist should be e-mailed to:

I.    Semiannual Program Review Checklist [i]


Institutional Policies and Responsibilities



1.   Animal Care and Use Program New  






·         Responsibility for animal well-being is assumed by all members of the program (Guide, p 1) [must]






·         IO has authority to allocate needed resources (Guide, p 13)






·         Resources necessary to manage program of veterinary care are provided (Guide, p 14) [must]






·         Sufficient resources are available to manage the program, including training of personnel in accord with regulations and the Guide (Guide, pp 11, 15)






·         Program needs are regularly communicated to IO by AV and/or IACUC (Guide,p 13)






·         Responsibilities for daily animal care and facility management are assigned to specific individual(s) when a full-time veterinarian is not available on site (Guide, p 14) [must]






·         Inter-institutional collaborations are described in formal written agreements (Guide, p 15)






·         Written agreements address responsibilities, animal ownership, and IACUC oversight (Guide, p 15)






2.   Disaster Planning and Emergency Preparedness New






·         Disaster plans for each facility to include satellite locations are in place (Guide, p 35, p 75) [must]






·         Plans include provisions for euthanasia (Guide, p 35) [must]






·         Plans include triage plans to meet institutional and investigators’ needs (Guide, p 35)






·         Plans define actions to prevent animal injury or death due to HVAC or other failures (Guide, p 35)






·         Plans describe preservation of critical or irreplaceable animals (Guide, p 35)






·         Plans include essential personnel and their training (Guide, p 35)






·         Animal facility plans are approved by the institution and incorporated into overall response plan (Guide, p 35)






·         Law enforcement and emergency personnel are provided a copy and integration with overall plan is in place (Guide, p 35)






3.   IACUC New






·         Meets as necessary to fulfill responsibilities (Guide, p 25) [must]






·         IACUC Members named in protocols or with conflicts recuse themselves from protocol decisions (Guide, p 26) [must]






·         Continuing IACUC oversight after initial protocol approval is in place (Guide, p 33)






·         IACUC evaluates the effectiveness of training programs (Guide, p 15)






4.   IACUC Protocol Review - Special Considerations






·         Humane endpoints are established for studies that involve tumor models, infectious diseases, vaccine challenge, pain modeling, trauma, production of monoclonal antibodies, assessment of toxicologic effects, organ or system failure, and models of cardiovascular shock (Guide, p 27)






·         For pilot studies, a system to communicate with the IACUC is in place (Guide, p 28)






·         For genetically modified animals, enhanced monitoring and reporting is in place (Guide, p 28)






·         Restraint devices are justified in the animal use protocols (Guide, p 29) [must]






·         Alternatives to physical restraint are considered (Guide, p 29)






·         Period of restraint is the minimum to meet scientific objectives (Guide, p 29)






·         Training of animals to adapt to restraint is provided (Guide, p 29)






·         Animals that fail to adapt are removed from study (Guide, p 29)






·         Appropriate observation intervals of restrained animals are provided (Guide, p 29)






·         Veterinary care is provided if lesions or illness result from restraint (Guide, p 30)  [must]






·         Explanations of purpose and duration of restraint are provided to study personnel (Guide, p 30)






·         Multiple surgical procedures on a single animal are justified and outcomes evaluated (Guide, p 30)






·         Major versus minor surgical procedures are evaluated on a case-by-case basis (Guide, p 30)






·         Multiple survival procedure justifications in non-regulated species conform to regulated species standards (Guide, p 30)






·         Animals on food/fluid restriction are monitored to ensure nutritional needs are met (Guide, p 31)






·         Body weights for food/fluid restricted animals are recorded at least weekly (Guide, p 31)






·         Daily written records are maintained for food/fluid restricted animals (Guide, p 31)






·         Pharmaceutical grade chemicals are used , when available, for animal-related procedures (Guide, p 31)






·         Non-pharmaceutical grade chemicals are described, justified, and approved by IACUC (Guide, p 31)






·         Investigators conducting field studies know zoonotic diseases, safety issues, laws and regulations applicable in study area (Guide, p 32)






·         Disposition plans are considered for species removed from the wild (Guide, p 32)






·         Toe-clipping only used when no alternative, performed aseptically and with pain relief (Guide, p 75)






5.   IACUC Membership and Functions






·         IACUC is comprised of at least 5 members, appointed by CEO (PHS Policy, IV.A.3.)






·         Members include a veterinarian, a scientist, a nonscientist, and a nonaffiliated non-lab animal user (Guide, p 24) [ii]






·         IACUC authority and resources for oversight and evaluation of institution's program are provided (Guide, p 14)






·         IACUC conducts semiannual evaluations of institutional animal care and use program (PHS Policy, IV.B.)






·         Conducts semiannual inspections of institutional animal facilities (PHS Policy, IV.B.)






·         IACUC organizationally reports to the Institutional Official (PHS Policy, IV.A.1.b.)






·         Methods for reporting and investigating animal welfare concerns are in place (Guide, p 23) [must]






·         Reviews and investigates concerns about animal care and use at institution [iii] (PHS Policy, IV.B.)






·         Procedures are in place for review, approval, and suspension of animal activities [iv] (PHS Policy, IV.B.)






·         Procedures are in place for review and approval of significant changes to approved activities (PHS Policy, IV.B.)






·         Policies are in place for special procedures (e.g., genetically modified animals, restraint, multiple survival surgery, food and fluid regulation, field investigations, agricultural animals) (Guide, p 27-32)






·         Requests for exemptions from major survival surgical procedure restrictions are made to USDA/APHIS [v] (Guide, p 30) [must]






6.   IACUC Training   New






·         All IACUC members should receive:

o    Formal orientation to institution’s program (Guide, p 17)






o    Training on legislation, regulations, guidelines, and policies (Guide, p 17)






o    Training on how to inspect facilities and labs where animal use or housing occurs (Guide, p 17)






o    Training on how to review protocols as well as evaluate the program (Guide, p 17)






o    Ongoing training/education (Guide, p 17)






7.   IACUC Records and Reporting Requirements [vi]






·         Semiannual report to the IO (PHS Policy, IV.B.)

o    Submitted to IO every 6 months






o    Compiles program review and facility inspection(s) results (includes all program and facility deficiencies)






o    Includes minority IACUC views






o    Describes IACUC-approved departures from the Guide or PHS Policy and the reasons for each departure [vii]






o    Distinguishes significant from minor deficiencies






o    Includes a plan and schedule for correction for each deficiency identified [viii]






·         Reports to OLAW (PHS Policy, IV.F.)

o    Annual report to OLAW documents program changes, dates of the semiannual program reviews and facility inspections and includes any minority views






o    Promptly advises OLAW of serious/ongoing Guide deviations or PHS Policy noncompliance (NOT-OD-05-034)






o    Institute must promptly advise OLAW of any suspension of an animal activity by the IACUC (NOT-OD-05-034)






·         Reports to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or Federal funding agency [ix]

o    Annual report to USDA contains required information including all exceptions/exemptions






o    Reporting mechanism to USDA is in place for IACUC-approved exceptions to the regulations and standards






o    Reports are filed within 15 days for failures to adhere to timetable for correction of significant deficiencies






o    Promptly reports suspensions of activities by the IACUC to USDA and any Federal funding agency






·         Records (PHS Policy, IV.E.)

o    IACUC meeting minutes and semiannual reports to the IO are maintained for 3 years






o    Records of IACUC reviews of animal activities include all required information [x]






o    Records of IACUC reviews are maintained for 3 years after the completion of the study






8.   Veterinary Care (See also next section - Veterinary Care)






·         An arrangement for veterinarian(s) with training or experience in lab animal medicine is in place including backup veterinary care [xi]






·         Veterinary access to all animals is provided (Guide, p 14) [must]






·         Direct or delegated authority is given to the veterinarian to oversee all aspects of animal care and use (Guide, p 14) [must]






·         Veterinarian provides consultation when pain and distress exceeds anticipated level in protocol (Guide, p 5) [must]






·         Veterinarian provides consultation when interventional control is not possible (Guide, p 5) [must]






·         If part time /consulting veterinarian, visits meet programmatic needs (Guide, p 14)






·         Regular communication occurs between veterinarian and IACUC (Guide, p 14)






·         Veterinarian(s) have experience and training in species used (Guide, p 15) [must]






·         Veterinarian(s) have experience in facility administration/management (Guide, p 15)






9.   Personnel Qualifications and Training






·         All personnel are adequately educated, trained, and/or qualified in basic principles of laboratory animal science. Personnel included: [must]

o    Veterinary/other professional staff (Guide, p 15-16)






o    IACUC members (Guide, p 17)






o    Animal care personnel (Guide, p 16)






o    Research investigators, instructors, technicians, trainees, and students (Guide, pp 16-17)






·         Continuing education for program and research staff provided to ensure high quality care and reinforce training (Guide, pp 16-17)






·         Training is available prior to starting animal activity (Guide, p 17)






·         Training is documented (Guide, p 15)






·         Training program content includes: (Guide, p 17)

o    Methods for reporting concerns (Guide, p 17)






o    Humane practices of animal care (e.g., housing, husbandry, handling) [xii]






o    Humane practices of animal use (e.g., research procedures, use of anesthesia, pre- and post-operative care, aseptic surgical techniques and euthanasia (Guide, p 17) [xiii]






o    Research/testing methods that minimize numbers necessary to obtain valid results (PHS Policy, IV.A.1.g.)






o    Research/testing methods that minimize animal pain or distress (PHS Policy, IV.A.1.g.)






o    Use of hazardous agents, including access to OSHA chemical hazard notices where applicable (Guide, p 20)






o    Animal care and use legislation (Guide, p 17)






o    IACUC function (Guide, p 17)






o    Ethics of animal use and Three R’s  (Guide, p 17)






10.        Occupational Health and Safety of Personnel






·         Program is in place and is consistent with federal, state, and local regulations (Guide, p 17) [must]






·         Program covers all personnel who work in laboratory animal facilities (Guide, p 18)






·         Changing, washing, and showering facilities are available as appropriate (Guide, p 19)






·         Hazardous facilities are separated from other areas and identified as limited access (Guide, p 19)






·         Personnel training is provided based on risk (e.g., zoonoses, hazards, personal hygiene, special precautions, animal allergies) (Guide, p 20)






·         Personal hygiene procedures are in place (e.g., work clothing, eating/drinking/smoking policies) (Guide, p 20)






·         Procedures for use, storage, and disposal of hazardous biologic, chemical, and physical agents are in place (Guide, p 21)






·         Personal Protective Equipment for the work area is appropriate and available (Guide, p 21)






·         Program for medical evaluation and preventive medicine for personnel includes:

o    Pre-employment evaluation including health history (Guide, p 22)






o    Immunizations as appropriate (e.g., rabies, tetanus) and tests as appropriate (Guide, p 22)






o    Zoonosis surveillance as appropriate (e.g., Q-fever, tularemia, Hantavirus, plague) (Guide, p 23)






o    Procedures for reporting and treating injuries, including accidents, bites, allergies, etc. (Guide, p 23)






o    Promotes early diagnosis of allergies including preexisting conditions (Guide, p 22)






o    Considers confidentiality and other legal factors  as required by federal, state and local regulations (Guide, p 22) [must]






o    If serum samples are collected, the purpose is consistent with federal and state laws (Guide, p 22) [must]






·         Waste anesthetic gases are scavenged (Guide, p 21)






·         Hearing protection is provided in high noise areas (Guide, p 22)






·         Respiratory protection is available when performing airborne particulate work (Guide, p 22)






·         Special precautions for personnel who work with nonhuman primates, their tissues or body fluids include:

o    Tuberculosis screening provided for all exposed personnel (Guide, p 23)






o    Training and implementation of procedures for bites, scratches, or injuries associated with macaques (Guide, p 23)






o    PPE is provided including gloves, arm protection, face masks, face shields, or goggles (Guide, p 21)






o    Injuries associated with macaques are carefully evaluated and treatment implemented (Guide, p 23)






·         Occupational safety and health of field studies is reviewed by OSH committee or office (Guide, p 32)






11.        Personnel Security New






·         Preventive measures in place include pre-employment screening, and physical and IT security (Guide, p 23)






12.        Investigating & Reporting Animal Welfare Concerns New






·         Methods for investigating and reporting animal welfare concerns are established (Guide, p 23) [must]






·         Reported concerns and corrective actions are documented (Guide, p 24)






·         Mechanisms for reporting concerns are posted in facility and at applicable website with instructions (Guide, p 24)






o    Includes multiple contacts (Guide, p 24)






o    Includes anonymity, whistle blower policy, nondiscrimination and reprisal protection (Guide, p 24)







A = acceptable


M = minor deficiency


S = significant deficiency (is or may be a threat to animal health or safety)


C = change in program (PHS Policy IV.A.1.a.-i.) (include in semiannual report to IO and in annual report to OLAW)


NA = not applicable






Veterinary Care



1.   Clinical Care and Management New






·         Veterinary program offers high quality of care and ethical standards (Guide, p 105) [must]






·         Veterinarian provides guidance to all personnel to ensure appropriate husbandry, handling, treatment, anesthesia, analgesia, and euthanasia (Guide, p 106)






·         Veterinarian provides oversight to surgery and perioperative care (Guide, p 106)






·         Veterinary care program is appropriate for program requirements (Guide, pp 113-114)






·         Veterinarian(s) is familiar with species and use of animals and has access to medical and experimental treatment records (Guide, p 114)






·         Procedures to triage and prioritize incident reports are in place (Guide, p 114)






·         Procedures are in place to address:

o    Problems with experiments to determine course of treatment in consultation with investigator(Guide, p 114)






o    Recurrent or significant health problems with the IACUC and documentation of treatments and outcomes (Guide, p 114)






o    Veterinary review and oversight of medical and animal use records (Guide, p 115)






·         Procedures established for timely reporting of animal injury, illness, or disease (Guide, p 114) [must]






·         Procedures established for veterinary assessment, treatment, or euthanasia (Guide, p 114) [must]






·         Veterinarian is authorized to treat, relieve pain, and/or euthanize (Guide, p 114) [must]






2.   Animal Procurement and Transportation/Preventive Medicine






·         Procedures for lawful animal procurement are in place (Guide, p 106) [must]






·         Sufficient facilities and expertise are confirmed prior to procurement (Guide, p 106)






·         Procurement is linked to IACUC review and approval (Guide, p 106)






·         Random source dogs and cats are inspected for identification (Guide, p 106)






·         Population status of wildlife species is considered prior to procurement (Guide, p 106)






·         Appropriate records are maintained on animal acquisition (Guide, p 106)






·         Animal vendors are evaluated to meet program needs and quality (Guide, p 106)






·         Breeding colonies are based on need and managed to minimize numbers (Guide, p 107)






·         Procedures for compliance with animal transportation regulations, including international requirements, are in place (Guide, p 107) [must]






·         Transportation is planned to ensure safety, security and minimize risk (Guide, p 107)






·         Movement of animals is planned to minimize transit time and deliveries are planned to ensure receiving personnel are available (Guide, pp 107- 108)






·         Appropriate loading and unloading facilities are available (Guide, p 109)






·         Environment at receiving site is appropriate (Guide, p 109)






·         Policies in place on separation by species, source, and health status (Guide, pp 109, 111-112)






·         Procedures in place for quarantine to include zoonoses prevention (Guide, p 110)






·         Quarantined animals from different shipments are handled separately or physically separated (Guide, p 110)






·         Procedures in place for stabilization/acclimation (Guide, pp 110-111)






·         Policies in place for isolation of sick animals (Guide, p 112)






·         Program is in place for surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and control of disease to include daily observation (Guide, p 112)






·         Diagnostic resources are available for preventive health program (Guide, p 112)






3.   Surgery






·         Surgical outcomes are assessed and corrective changes instituted (Guide, p 115)