When an investigator proposes new techniques, procedures, or manipu-lations, the IACUC must assure itself that the personnel are qualified to perform the work. If no training module on a particular technique, proce-dure, or manipulation exists, it is possible that the most closely aligned existing module can be used. If the personnel have not demonstrated proficiency through one of the training modules (see Section A.4), the IACUC can consider the following options:
The IACUC may mandate that the individual(s) complete pertinent training before the protocol can be reviewed. This assumes the IACUC has a policy that stipulates adequate qualifications and training as a condition of protocol review.
If no relevant training module exists, a possible course of action would be to stipulate that the veterinarian supervise the new technique, procedure, or manipulation pending certification of training or demonstration of proficiency. If there are no in-house personnel with the necessary expertise, the IACUC can seek a consultant for advice
and training. This should not be viewed as a confrontational event, but rather one with educational value for both the veterinarian and the research staff. Documentation of this training experience should be made in the IACUC files or database.
In summary, evaluation of personnel qualifications and training is an essen-tial component of the review of animal use protocols to ensure the humane care and use of laboratory animals. The challenge to IACUCs is to perform this evaluation in an efficient, consistent and uniform manner.
C.2.f. Veterinary Review and Consultation
Each IACUC is required by the AWRs and the PHSPolicy to have as one of its members a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with direct or delegated program authority and responsibility for animal activities at the institution.
The AWRs and the PHSPolicy require that the veterinarian be trained or experienced in laboratory animal science and medicine for the species used at the institution; the Guide recommends the IACUC veterinarian be American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) certified or have equivalent experience.
The Report of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine on Adequate Veterinary Care in Research, Testing and Teaching (1996) states:
The veterinarian must be involved in the review and approval of all animal care and use in the institutional program. This includes advising on the design and performance of experiments using animals as related to model selection, collection and analysis of samples and data from animals, and methods and techniques proposed or in use. This responsibility is usually shared with investigators, the IACUC, and external peer reviewers.
The veterinarian plays a key role in IACUC protocol review, as described below.
Reviewing Animal Use Protocols
The veterinarian can integrate his or her experience and training with that of the investigator and advise the investigator on selection of species, their sex, age and/or size. The veterinarian can assess the ability of the animal facility and its staff to support the proposed species and associated procedures.
When the selection criteria have been established, the veterinarian can assist the IACUC in reviewing the proposed procedures and techniques appropriate to the goals of the study.
Reviewing Protocols for Potential Pain and Distress
The AWRs require that investigators proposing procedures that may cause more than momentary or slight pain or distress to the animals will consult with the AV or his or her designee. Similarly, the veterinarian has implicit responsibilities outlined in the AWRs to assess the potential for pain and distress that might be associated with the proposed animal activities, and to recommend the use of pain alleviating drugs, whenever possible, to counteract those conditions.
Reviewing Protocols Involving Surgery
The veterinarian can ensure that appropriate provision is made for pre-operative and post-operative care of the animals in accordance with established veterinary medical and nursing practices. s noted in the AWRs and the Guide, all survival surgery should be performed using aseptic procedures, including the use of surgical gloves, masks, sterile instruments, and aseptic techniques.
The veterinarian may provide the IACUC with assessment of the following:
preparation of the animal for the surgical intervention, to include the use of pre-anesthetic drugs where indicated, and appropriate anesthetic agents;
that the individual(s) performing the surgery has adequate experience or training for the specific procedures outlined in the study;
that aseptic techniques are appropriate for the procedure; and
that adequate post-operative care, to include post-operative analgesics where indicated, is provided.
Reviewing the Protocol to Ensure Humane Euthanasia of Animals The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) provides guidance on the most humane methods to be used for euthanasia of animals, to include those used in research, testing and training. Their most recent recommendations are contained in the "2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia" (JAVMA Vol. 218, No. 5, pages 669-696). The veterinarian on the IACUC, using that publication or subsequent editions as the principal reference, can assess the investigator's proposed method of euthanasia.
After Protocol Review and Approval
Following IACUC approval of protocols, the veterinarian is in a position, through periodic visits to the animal facility and animal activity areas, to observe and evaluate animal well-being and decide whether the animal activities are being conducted in accordance with the conditions described or referenced in the protocol. The veterinarian, by virtue of training and experience, is able to serve in advocacy, oversight, and intervention roles that are distinct and unique among the IACUC members and research staff.