Guidelines for the veterinary care of laboratory animals

Veterinary professionals working in partnership with other competent persons are essential for a successful animal care and use programme. A veterinarian’s primary responsibilities are defined by their own professional regulatory bodies, but in this area of work there are further opportunities for contribution, which will assist in safeguarding the health and welfare of animals used in research. These guidelines are aimed not only at veterinarians to explain their duties, and outline the opportunities to improve the health and welfare of animals under their care, but also at employers and regulators to help them meet their responsibilities. They describe the desirability for post-graduate education towards specialisation in laboratory animal medicine and detail the many competencies necessary to fulfil the role of the laboratory animal veterinarian. They detail the need for veterinary expertise to promote good health and good welfare of animals used in biomedical research during husbandry as well as when under experimental procedures. Regulatory and ethical aspects are covered as are the involvement of the veterinarian in education and training of others working in the animal care and use programme. Managerial aspects, including occupational health and safety, are also areas where the veterinarian’s input can assist in the successful implementation of the programme.

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