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Attending Veterinarians Protect Researchers and Subjects

Any institution that is under the purview of the Public Health Service Policy and/or the Animal Welfare Act is required to have an Attending Veterinarian (AV) on staff. The principal responsibility of the AV is to develop and implement an effective program of veterinary care for animals used in research and teaching. This program has multiple components including preventive medicine, proper use of anesthetics, analgesics, and tranquilizers; perioperative care; euthanasia; diagnostic procedures; and provision of veterinary care, emergency care and aspects of animal husbandry.

In addition, the AV works with the hazards oversight professionals, occupational health professionals and principal investigators to provide guidance related to work with animals. The AV also provides technical assistance to principal investigators, facilitating their ability to perform animal research in a humane manner and consistent with regulatory principles. The AV’s role directly involves interaction and a close working relationship with the Institution’s Animal Care and Use (IACUC) program.

A new joint policy, shared between the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and the IACUC, is the Veterinary Clinical Trials Involving Recombinant Nucleic Acids and/or Recombinant Microbes. The goal of this policy is to ensure that, in addition to the IACUC approval, appropriate IBC approval, if necessary, is in place when recombinant nucleic acids or microbes are requested in clinical trials. In some cases, the authorization may involve outside regulatory bodies, which extends time period for approval.