Revised on
09/11/17 02:22am

Animal Acquisition, Acclimation and the Animal Tracking System


The purpose of this policy is to explain the requirements and procedures for acquiring animals, animal acclimation periods and using the Animal Tracking System (ATS). The ATS was designed to ensure animal numbers do not exceed the approved number on a protocol.  The ATS is also used for transfer of animals from project to project, to ensure biosecurity is maintained and that animals are not used on multiple projects.


“Animal procurement must be in accordance with IACUC Guidelines on the acquisition of animals. Animals shall not be procured for, or transferred to, investigators who do not have an IACUC approved protocol” (PPM-290-30)

All animal users with active animal care and use protocols and/or facility managers must use the ATS to record the number of animals acquired under each approved protocol. Each facility manager must develop a standard operating procedure (SOP) outlining how animals are acquired into their facility. The facility manager and Principal Investigator (PI) must develop a plan to ensure all animals in the facility for each protocol are being accounted for in the ATS.

Animals bred under an approved breeding protocol or animals that were purchased from an approved vendor may be transferred to another approved protocol if the animals have not been used for any procedures.

Animals that have been used for a procedure may not be transferred to another protocol unless the originating protocol is approved to transfer animals to other approved protocols in the final disposition section and the receiving protocol lists approved protocols as a source.


A. Transactions requiring approval before animals may be acquired

All animal purchases, transfers, imports, and exports must be submitted through the ATS prior to animals being purchased, transferred, imported, or exported. Transfers include:

  • transferring animals from one PI’s protocol to a different PI’s protocol
  • transferring animals from one PI’s protocol to a different protocol under the same PI
  • transferring animals from one approved location to another

These transactions require approval from the facility manager, health monitoring coordinator, and/or IACUC office before the transactions can be processed.


B. Acclimation Periods
Per the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, newly received animal should be given a period for physiologic, psychological, and nutritional stabilization before their use.

Rodents may be used on arrival for terminal procedures, but should have a 3 day acclimation period prior to anesthesia, surgery, or similarly invasive procedures. The acclimation period begins at the time the animal arrives on campus.   

For species covered by the USDA Animal Welfare Act (AWA) a minimum of 7 days post arrival is required prior to any major survival surgery. A minimum of 24 hours/overnight is required for terminal use to allow for an intake exam and acceptance of the animal for study by the veterinary staff or designated facility manager.  

Animals transferred in or acquired from other UC Davis campus facilities will have an acclimation period stipulated by the veterinary staff that is species and/or project appropriate.  Generally terminal procedures may occur on arrival to the new housing location.

The Attending Veterinarian or assigned clinical veterinarian may shorten or waive the acclimation period if the animal, in their professional opinion, appears to be suitable for use.  Additional information on acquisition and acclimation can be found at


C. Frequency of reporting
For all other acquisitions not previously noted (e.g., auction, donation, field caught, breeding) either the facility manager or PI must enter animal numbers into the ATS at least on a semi-annual basis. Facilities currently reporting animal acquisitions on a more frequent basis are strongly encouraged to continue entering animal numbers at their current frequency.  Animal numbers should be entered as often as necessary to keep animal numbers accurate and to prevent a protocol from acquiring more animals than the protocol is approved for. 
D. When to count an animal
  • All mammals born to a breeding protocol must be entered into the ATS, this includes rodents of the incorrect genotype.
  • All birds and reptiles must be counted upon hatching.
  • Amphibians must be counted when they reach larval form.
  • Fish must be counted upon hatching if in active experimentation, or shortly after initiation of exogenous feeding to avoid unnecessary handling stress during the delicate early life stages.

How to access the ATS

Facility managers will enter the ATS through the facility manager’s page:

Facility Manager ATS Handbook
PI’s and staff will enter the ATS through the IACUC online system:
Principal Investigator ATS Handbook


Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, Eight Edition, pg 111


Procedure: IACUC-40
Date: October 06, 2016
Enabled by: PPM 290-30, Guide
Supersedes: March 22, 2012