Alternative Health Monitoring Programs

Animal research facilities are moving toward a sentinel-free system to help reduce the use of research animals and improve pathogen surveillance. Screening samples from the environment instead of the animal via more sensitive methods, such as Exhaust Air Dust (EAD®) or environmental PCR testing, allows you to reduce or eliminate the need for sentinel animals. Additionally, this method overcomes the known limitations of soiled-bedding sentinels for detecting certain rodent infectious agents. Charles River will work with you to develop a program that is right for your facility.

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Sample Programs by Cage Type

The following are various alternative health monitoring (HM) testing options that are based on the type of animal rack system employed in your vivarium.

Individually Ventilated Cages (IVC)

Most research facilities employ the use of IVCs to house their animal models. Each cage on an IVC rack acts as an independent bioexclusion system, enabling animals of varying health status to be housed on the same rack. Charles River offers both sentinel-free and hybrid programs for IVC-housed animal models.
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Sample Collection Units

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Microisolator Cages

Microisolator or static cages are a simple yet effective design that enables a cage-level barrier between the inside of the cage and the external environment. This is established by utilizing a cage lid that has been fitted with a specialized filter that allows air flow but prevents environmental contaminants from entering the cages. View Sample Program

Conventional Cages

Conventional or open-top cages are absent of a filter top and are placed directly onto a rack or shelf. The main difference with this type of caging is that there is no barrier or protection between the interior of the cage and the room environment and therefore poses a higher biosecurity risk.
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