Rodent Health Reports | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
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The LARC Sentinel Program for Rodent Health

To assess whether research rodents in the LARC facilities are carrying a particular history of disease, the LARC Veterinarian tests specific animals in each room. This is called the sentinel testing program and consists of housing sentinel rodents in the room of the same species as the research or training animals.

In general, we consider one cage of 2 rodents per 50-68 cages of test rodents to be adequate. The sentinel rodents are purchased "clean" from a trusted vendor and placed in the room for 4-6 weeks, then sampled on a 3 or 6 month cycle, depending on the history of disease and needs of specific studies. During exposure, the sentinels are exposed to soiled bedding used by the rodents in the room to maximize chances of the sentinel picking up the infectious agent.

In cases where sentinel tests turn out to be positive for infectious disease, the test may need to be repeated to confirm the positive result. At this point, the Faculty member will be contacted by the LARC Executive Director and in consultation with those involve develop a plan for eradication of the infectious disease agent.

For sentinel test results, contact the facility manager at the specific LARC facility.