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Appropriate Facilities for Surgery in Live Animals

Animal Welfare Regulations require that survival surgery in non-rodents be performed in a dedicated surgical facility. Non-survival surgeries and minor procedures can be performed in a dedicated work area within the laboratory; the IACUC reviews and approves all surgical areas. 

Surgery in non-rodent species requires that the facility include separate rooms for animal and surgeon preparation, surgery and recovery.   ULAR maintains several large-animal surgical suites in UCI vivaria; investigators are encouraged to contact Veterinary Services for more information.


All areas used for surgery in live animals must be designed and managed to achieve the following:

  • Separation of the animal/surgeon preparation, operating room and recovery areas.
  • Minimization of personnel traffic flow through the surgery area
  • Airflow should be away from the surgery area if possible (i.e., positive room pressure, use of filtered or laminar-flow air).
  • All room surfaces must be non-porous and easily sanitized.  Unsanitizable surfaces (e.g. cloth-upholstered chairs) should be removed to an area where live animals are not used.
  • A regular room-cleaning and disinfection schedule must be established (daily cleaning of floors and work surfaces, weekly to monthly cleaning of walls and cabinets).
  • The surgery area should be free of all equipment, supplies and materials not required for the procedure.  Excess items should be stored in cabinets or drawers.

A dedicated three-room (prep, operating and recovery) surgical suite is not required for the performance of surgical procedures in rodents.  However, the space must be designated/reserved exclusively for surgery while in use and appropriately managed to minimize contamination from other activities in the room while surgical procedures are being performed. 

NOTE:  Investigators are responsible for cleaning shared surgical facilities after each use.

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