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Welcome to ACO

Animal Care Operations provides professional veterinary medical, husbandry, and proposal review services.

Animal Orders

   

Purchase Animals

Researchers are required to have an approved protocol completed and reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), before conducting study on animals.

Ordering animals or conducting research is prohibited before receiving written approval of the IACUC. IACUC is responsible for making certain that animal research accompanied at the University of Houston resides in union with federal, state and local regulations and institutional polices.

Once a researcher has an approved protocol, the method for ordering animals for research begins. Animal orders must be placed with approved vendors listed below.

Approved Vendors:

All other vendors are considered Non-Traditional Vendors.

Animal Order Process

The researcher’s department’s Business Office must complete the Animal Purchase Request Form for approved vendors.

If researcher’s wish to order animals from Non-Traditional vendors, the Non-Traditional Vendor Import-Export Form (NTV Form) must be completed.

The animal order forms must be completed accurately with all the required information. For example, protocol number, requested delivery date, the PI, with contact information. The lab and business contact information, vendor name, cost center information, the correct species and strain, weight and age of animals approved within the protocol.

Please ensure the department’s Business Administrator and Principal Investigator provides signature for approval on all animal orders.

Note:
Effective December 26, 2014, the purchase of animals with Federal funds for animal purchases over $3,000 entails the researcher’s business office to obtain 3 quotes, and complete a requisition and purchase order. Once the purchase order is completed, please attach to animal order form and submit to ACO business office for order of animals. Please read the Uniform Guidance for more information.

Submission of Order Form

Once the animal order form is complete and converted into a PDF file, please attach the PDF to an email as an attachment and submit to: aco@central.uh.edu Animal Care Operations business office will complete the animal order with requested vendor, if applicable.

Once the vendor validates the order, ACO Business Office will send email confirmations to Researcher and department’s Business Office to communicate completion of animal order.

Please note, if discrepancies occur, the animal order form will be returned to researcher’s business office and will require corrections and cause a delay with ordering animals.

Animal Purchase Request FormNTV Form

Import Animals

The Non-Traditional Vendor Import-Export Form (NTV Form) is used to procure animals from a nontraditional source. The veterinarian of the other institution will be contacted to send the health records for the selected animals. The PI will be charged shipping cost plus a 30 percent administrative fee for shipping arrangements. Imported animals from a nontraditional source will be quarantined for 4 to 6 weeks. Mice will be screened utilizing a PCR based test. No manipulations are to occur during quarantine.

The primary investigator is allowed to make shipping arrangements with coordination with ACO. Importation of animals into the University of Houston cannot be schedule for delivery on Friday or after 3:00pm Monday to Thursday. Transportation from the local airports to the UH campus must be arranged as part of the shipping arrangements.

Begin Importation Process

Transfer Animals

The Animal Transfer Form is used when transferring animals from one investigator to another. This is the only way to have the per diem charges transferred to another investigator. Investigators receiving animals must have prior IACUC approval for the number and species of animal.

The species, strain, and number will be verified prior to the transfer. All transfers need to be signed/approved by the transferring PI, the receiving PI, and the veterinarian.

Transfer Animals Now

Export Animals

The NTV Form (pdf) is used to export animals. ACO will supply all information to the Importing institution without a charge to the University of Houston investigators. The importing University is expected to pay for shipping and the investigators at the University of Houston are expected to pay for the shipping containers plus a 30percent administrative fee. Investigators should not contact the clinical veterinarians to arrange shipments of rodents to other institutions.

    Please note the following:
  • Animals are only shipped on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays to ensure their arrival at their destination before the weekend. Only under special circumstances can other arrangements be accommodated.
  • On average, it takes approximately 2-3 weeks to complete a domestic shipment from the time the shipping form is approved. The process takes longer for international shipments and is often complicated permit requirements.
  • Shipments may be delayed in the summer due to temperatures being too hot to ship the animals safely.
Export Animals Now

Access to Facilities

   

All research personnel who use animals in the course of their research are required to take this online course. The Occupational Health and Safety Training provides a brief overview of the Occupational Health Program. In order to enroll in this training, please log-in here and select EH31:Occupational Health and Safety Training as the course you would like to take. Instructions for off-campus access and resolution of common issues are available.

The purpose of the Occupational Health Program is to prevent occupational injury and illness while promoting a safe working environment for personnel who will be working with animals or animal by-products at the University of Houston (UH Occupational Health Program). This is accomplished by informing personnel of potential hazards associated with animal-related work, and referring each participant to an occupational health professional for an individualized risk assessment (currently under contract to UT Employee Health Services). This training also outlines the engineering controls utilized by the facility to minimize allergen exposure and the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for working with the animals. At the conclusion of the course, each participant must sign a statement that indicates he/she understands the general risks presented in this course. Each student must also indicate on the enrollment form whether they will fully participate on the Occupational Health and Safety Program by turning in the New Health Surveillance Questionnaire (PDF) or opt out of full participation by signing the declination section of the form. The enrollment and/or declination will be kept on file as part of the training record.

Take Occupational Health TrainingComplete Health Surveillance Questionnaire

All personnel requesting facility access must be added to an approved IACUC protocol and complete the following trainings:

  • EH31: Occupational Health & Safety Training-Animal Care
  • EH33: ACO Facility Access Training-SR2(*if building is indicated in the protocol)
  • EH35: ACO Facility Access Training-HBS (*if building is indicated in the protocol)
  • EH37: ACO Facility Access Training-TMC (*if building is indicated in the protocol)
  • EH36: ACO Rodent Euthanasia Training
  • EH34: ACO Isoflurane Training* (Only if approved for use in the protocol)

The ACO trainings are now available online. This online training completes all requirements need to have an IACUC protocol approved. Individualized training is also available for rodent euthanasia, isoflurane administration and a variety of other research techniques. Please send a request to aco@central.uh.edu for in person training.

In addition to these trainings, all personnel must either enroll or decline to enroll in the occupational health program by filling out a health questionnaire which is also available at the link above. Once they have been considered “medically cleared” by the UT Health professionals, then they will receive access to one or more of the 3 facilities listed above.

Request Facility Access

Training

   

All research personnel who use animals in the course of their research are required to take this online course. The Occupational Health and Safety Training provides a brief overview of the Occupational Health Program. In order to enroll in this training, please log-in here and select EH31:Occupational Health and Safety Training as the course you would like to take. Instructions for off-campus access and resolution of common issues are available.

The purpose of the Occupational Health Program is to prevent occupational injury and illness while promoting a safe working environment for personnel who will be working with animals or animal by-products at the University of Houston (UH Occupational Health Program). This is accomplished by informing personnel of potential hazards associated with animal-related work, and referring each participant to an occupational health professional for an individualized risk assessment (currently under contract to UT Employee Health Services). This training also outlines the engineering controls utilized by the facility to minimize allergen exposure and the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for working with the animals. At the conclusion of the course, each participant must sign a statement that indicates he/she understands the general risks presented in this course. Each student must also indicate on the enrollment form whether they will fully participate on the Occupational Health and Safety Program by turning in the New Health Surveillance Questionnaire (PDF) or opt out of full participation by signing the declination section of the form. The enrollment and/or declination will be kept on file as part of the training record.

Take Occupational Health TrainingComplete Health Surveillance Questionnaire

This course is mandatory for all personnel who will be working with nonhuman primates (NHP) or their tissues. It provides an overview of the use of nonhuman primates in research, zoonotic disease risks, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements. This course also covers the procedures to follow in case of a potential B virus (Macacine herpesvirus-1) exposure.

All research personnel who work with nonhuman primates and/or NHP tissues in the course of their research are required to take this online course. In order to enroll in this training, please log in here and select EH32: Working Safely with Nonhuman Primates training as the course you would like to take. Instructions for off-campus access and resolution of common issues are available here.

*** Note: New Investigators and their staff are also required to meet with an ACO representative in person for an initial tour of the facility and review of the Macaque exposure p [missing text here]

Take Primate Training

The Animal Care Operations department (ACO) has expanded its services to meet the changing needs of the university research community. ACO now provides specialized research support services. This is in addition to its traditional roles of animal procurement, husbandry, veterinary care, and training.

The board certified veterinarians are very experienced with anesthesia, surgery and a variety of research techniques. They will be glad to assist with ongoing projects or in the development of your research project. ACO’s can offer technical services on a fee-for-service basis to investigators with limited personnel, equipment, and space resources.

Hands on training is available to compliment the online training. Please direct all request to ACO@central.uh.edu

Research Equipment and Services Offered:

This course is mandatory for all personnel who will be working with isoflurane as part of their research. It provides an overview of how an anesthesia machine functions, as well as step by step instructions on how to use the anesthesia machines in the ACO facilities. This course fulfills all isoflurane training requirements for an IACUC approval. Individualized training can also be scheduled.

Take ACO Isoflurane TrainingRequest Individual Training

About ACO

   

Accreditation & Memberships

Accreditation

AAALAC International: AAALAC International is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs.

Memberships

Vivarium Operational Excellence Network (VOEN): The VOE-Network was born to help our community improve operations through members' experimentation, learning and sharing ideas based upon the Toyota Production System and Lean Management.

Texas Branch American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (TBAALAS): The Texas Branch was formed in 1963 by a group of forward thinking caring laboratory animal professionals who saw the need to promote technical excellence and best practices in animal care by increasing educational opportunities for people in the profession.

Mission, Vision, & Values

Mission Statement

The University of Houston Animal Care Operations provides profession leading standards of ethical animal welfare in support of breakthrough biomedical research.

Vision Statement

Animal Care Operations will utilize technological innovations and a fact-based, data-driven management system to continually raise the quality of care for research animals and to promote an atmosphere of biomedical discovery.

Values

  • Improve the lives of animals
  • Set the standards of care and welfare
  • Partner with investigators
  • Promote the creativity and innovations of people through collaboration and teamwork
  • Continuously improve
  • Seek out the best and then do better

Staff

David W. Brammer, Executive Director
713-743-9164
dwbrammer@uh.edu

Angelina Williams, Clinical Veterinarian
713-743-2971
amwilll27@central.uh.edu

Curtis Klages, Clinical Veterinarian
713-743-2715
cmklages@central.uh.edu

Charley Sikes, Assistant Director
713-743-9193
crskikes@central.uh.edu

Latisha Gray, Sr. Animal Resources Supervisor
713-743-9192
lgray2@uh.edu

Shelley Harkness, Animal Resources Supervisor
713-743-8545
skharkness@central.uh.edu

[Form to come]