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The Centre for Phenogenomics
The Centre for Phenogenomics

Summary of Health Monitoring Program

Facility Layout

The Centre for Phenogenomics (TCP), which opened in 2007, is a dedicated mouse facility with 5 unique holding areas and has the capacity for approximately 36,000 cages. All caging is on ventilated racks. Holding areas are separated on 2 floors and identified by lettering (see below). Each holding area consists of suites containing 4 to 8 holding rooms and 2 to 4 procedure rooms. Suites are individually secured by card key, and access is limited to users housing animals within the suite. Animal husbandry personnel are dedicated to one suite. Rooms contain on average 9 racks that are identified by number (1-9). All cages and bedding are autoclaved prior to use, food is irradiated and water is reverse-osmosis purified, acidified and provided by an automated system. Cages are only opened and manipulated in a Type II Biological Safety Cabinet or Animal Transfer Station. Biological Safety Cabinets and Animal Transfer Stations are cleaned with Clidox 1:5:1 prior to and following each use. Gloves & forceps are dipped in Clidox 1:5:1 between each cage handling. Clean scrubs, sterile isolation gowns and dedicated footwear are required for facility entry. Additionally, gloves, cap and mask are donned prior to entering an animal holding room or procedure room. A portable vaporized hydrogen peroxide machine is used regularly to disinfect equipment and holding rooms.

Holding A/B (Core Barrier) - Holding A is a restricted housing area for mice that were derived by the Model Production Core. Holding B houses the production colonies and surgical suites for the Model Production Core. Holding A/B is accessed by wet shower only, is maintained exclusively by a limited number of highly trained TCP staff and is operationally separate from the rest of the facility.

Holding C & D - This is the general housing area for mice that have been bred or derived within the Core Barrier (Holding A), or brought in from approved commercial suppliers, and are being actively used in research projects. Research staff members have access to these areas.

Holding E - This is a quarantine area for mice imported from non-commercial suppliers that will be used on a short term basis by the Phenotyping Core on Floor 2. All imports into this area must meet the health status requirements of the TCP animal facility, are tested via PCR upon arrival, and are managed by the Import/Export Coordinator and Veterinarian.

Containment Quarantine - This area is specifically designed to hold mice from non-commercial suppliers that are awaiting re-derivation by the Model Production Core. The area is maintained by separate air handling units and is operationally separate from the rest of the facility.

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Room Designation
Room Designation
Floor 1 Holding A 1-201, 1-202, 1-203, 1-204, 1-205, 1-206, 1-207
Holding B 1-103-1, 1-104-1, 1-104-2
Holding C F1 1-301, 1-302, 1-305, 1-307, 1-308, 1-401, 1-402, 1-403, 1-405, 1-406, 1-501-1, 1-502, 1-503, 1-505, 1-506
Floor 2 Holding C F2 2-102, 2-103, 2-104, 2-105
Holding D 2-202, 2-203, 2-204, 2-205, 2-207, 2-208, 2-209, 2-211
Holding E 2-301, 2-302

Sentinel Program

TCP uses a combination of soiled-bedding sentinels (serology) and PCR testing of sentinels and/or experimental animals (fecal and body swabs) and exhaust air dust. All external testing is performed by Charles River Laboratories.

Sentinel cages (2 mice per cage) screen either a single rack (80 experimental cages) or double rack (up to 160 experimental cages) and are exposed to soiled bedding from all cages on the rack every 14 days during cage change. The exposure period for sentinel mice is a minimum of 12 weeks before serology testing is performed. Racks are evaluated on a rotating basis and at minimum each rack is sampled every three months. Random colony animals are also submitted for testing to provide additional information. A combination of PCR (fecal, body swab and environmental samples), serology, microbiology and parasitology testing is performed.

Each month, per room, three racks are sampled for testing:

  • Two racks are tested using sentinel serology (EZ-Spot) and a Tracking Profile which includes 12 agents
  • One rack is testing by PCR (pooled fecal and body swabs from 10 random cages per rack, including the sentinel) using a Surveillance-Plus Profile which includes 43 agents. *Previous to November 2016, prior to implementing PCR testing, live sentinels were submitted for an Assessment-Plus Profile which included serology for 22 agents and additional microbiology and parasitology testing.

Racks on Floor 1 are tested monthly for Helicobacter spp. by sampling 10 random cages and performing fecal PCR. Note: Helicobacter spp. and Mouse Norovirus are permitted on Floor 2.

In the Model Production Core (Holding A/B), post-surgical recipient dams and production colony mice are tested monthly via PCR (pooled fecal and body swab from 10 random cages per rack) using a Mouse Prevalent Profile. Quarterly testing is also performed on the production colony mice using a combination of serology, microbiology, and parasitology as above.

In-house parasitology testing consists of monthly anal tape testing and direct examination of cecum/colon contents and pelts. Gross pathology +/- histology screening is performed as required.

*We recommend that receiving institutions quarantine and test incoming animals according to the recommendations of their veterinarian.