Lockworth, C., Monts de Oca, N. 2016. Rodent health: A picture is worth a thousand words. Laboratory Animal Science Professional 4(2) (June), 46-47.
An animal health program involves identification of health conditions, as well as treatment and disposition of rodents. In most facilities with a large rodent population, the initial identification of health conditions is typically accomplished by technicians who perform health exams on each animal daily. In this capacity, these individuals must triage numerous cases, assigning them to either routine status or emergency status. Some processes that can be implemented to ensure early identification include ensuring appropriate frequency and adequacy of animal health checks and training of animal care staff. With the goal of supporting our animal care staff and increasing transparency of health conditions and treatment plans with investigators, we created a Rodent Health Care Management Poster. This poster includes all common clinical conditions and presentations found in a typical rodent facility. Each condition is followed by a concise description of clinical signs, etiologies when relevant, management details with typical treatment and euthanasia plans, and representative pictures for each condition. In addition, we included a section for emergency conditions that require immediate attention and resolution. In a large animal facility, a tool such as this provides quick reference for technicians and investigators alike. More importantly, it facilitates communication about animal health conditions and contributes to overall animal health and wellbeing.