Rodent Colony Health Assessment Program

Animal health surveillance is necessary to monitor the health status of research animals. ULAR provides health surveillance within rodent animal facilities via a sentinel program, vendor reports, and environmental testing.

Sentinel Program


  • Sentinel rodents (belonging to ULAR) are placed on each rack that houses principal investigator (PI) colony animals and are identified by a fluorescent pink cage card.
  • Sentinel rodents are exposed to dirty bedding from the PI animal cages for a variable amount of time.
  • Samples are obtained from the sentinel rodents on a quarterly basis to allow for health surveillance of the colonies.
  • The information obtained is used for early detection of disease outbreak, to generate health reports for animals being exported, and to maintain a high level of quality control within animal rooms.
  • A room entry order is assigned according to the health status of the animals housed in the room. Sentinel and environmental testing is also performed according to the health standard required.
  • For information on room entry order requirements, please review the PI Room Entry Order – Rodent Health Status

Vendor Surveillance

Vendor surveillance consists of reports and site visits including, but not limited to, sources of food, bedding, and commercial animals coming into Ohio State.

Environmental Testing

Environmental testing consists of active testing and reports including, but not limited to, cage washers, autoclaves, and water sources within facilities using RODAC plates and biological indicators.

For more information, please contact

Colony Disease Testing

Comprehensive testing for diseases within colonies is available on a case-by-case basis.

Services available:

  • A ULAR performed diagnostic workup of sick animals which may include serology, culture, and/or necropsy for gross and histopathologic findings. For herd health and/or spontaneous disease, testing may be completed by ULAR staff at no charge to the principal investigator.
  • Clinical and anatomic pathology support, including histology and immunohistochemistry services, provided through our QA Department and Charles River Labs.
  • Rederivation services. For information regarding services available on and off campus, please contact
  • Training on sample collection techniques for testing or necropsies as requested.
  • Support for GLP studies, including environmental testing of water and caging prior to and following the studies, as well as training personnel to work on GLP studies.

Importing Animals to Ohio State

Animal import, or bringing new animals into the university, is also known as animal requisition.

  • Animals ordered from approved vendors will be delivered directly into the animal facility.
  • Animals ordered from non-commercial vendors and non-approved shippers will be quarantined to prevent disease transmission into the rodent community within Ohio State. The quarantine time frame is normally 6-8 weeks. Please review the User Guidance for the Import-Quarantine of Rodents.
  • Health surveillance reports will be reviewed prior to entry into quarantine, during the testing that takes place during quarantine, and when the colony is placed into a facility after testing is completed.
  • During quarantine, breeding can continue and genotyping samples can be processed as long as the principal investigator coordinates these activities with ULAR.
  • Appropriate housing within ULAR will be determined based on the health status of the rodent colony.

For additional information, please see Obtaining Animals.

Exporting Rodents from Ohio State

Animal export is the transport of animals from Ohio State to outside universities and institutions.

The Rodent Colony Health Assessment Program:

  • Coordinates the shipping of rodents to outside universities and institutions.
  • Provides communication and health reports to the universities and institutions receiving rodents from Ohio State.

For specific instructions on where to obtain and submit animal export requests, please see Transferring Animals.

For more information, please contact