Rubino, S., Smith, R., Nagy, Z. et al. 2011. Acclimation of cynomolgus monkeys to pole and collar chair restraint: Creating efficiency and improving quality. American Association for Laboratory Animal Science [AALAS] Meeting Official Program, 784 (Abstract #P181).
Cynomolgus monkeys are acclimated in-house during their 4- to 5-wk quarantine period to pole and collar chair restraint to facilitate safe handling and adequate immobility for study procedures like oral gavage and blood collection. Acclimation is both human resource and time intensive (to provide animals just in time for study use). In order to gain efficiency (more animals pass acclimation) and decrease full-time employee (FTE) resources, we looked into the effectiveness of outsourcing part of the acclimation procedure and evaluated the results in-house. In a pilot study, 25 of 44 animals received 20 acclimation sessions at the contracted holding facility. This acclimation occurred less than 1 wk prior to shipment to our site. Acclimation focused on using the pole and collar system to remove the animal from the cage. Upon arrival at our site, animals were acclimated per our standard acclimation process. Animals were scored on each step in the acclimation process at 3 time points (weeks 1, 2, and 4) during quarantine by a technician blinded to the 2 groups. Outsourcing acclimation resulted in an initial increase in the number of pre-trained animals passing acclimation but the 2 groups scored around 65% by the end of the quarantine period. However, we identified the FTE metrics for acclimation, uncovered the rate limiting steps in the acclimation process, and created an acclimation program that eliminated the non-value added procedures. In addition, we discovered the value of doing acclimation evaluations during the acclimation process to identify individual animal behavior and to customize training for each animal. Implementation of the new program for pole and collar acclimation resulted in additional training sessions for animals with no increase in FTE requirements and a greater percentage (35% increase; 100% pass) of animals passing during the 4-wk quarantine period.