Recommendations for health monitoring of cats, dogs and pigs (1998)

The health of an animal is always at risk from a variety of infections. Infections in animals, whether clinically manifest or subclinical may, when the animals are used in biomedical research, produce effects that change the outcome of the experiments undertaken. Depending upon the specific infection a variety of biological parameters may be affected such as behaviour, growth rate, relative organ weights, immune response, tumour development etc. Subclinical infections can also lead to contamination of biological materials, tissue cultures, celllines, transplantable tumours and biological products. All infections, apparent or inapparent, are likely to increase biological variability. In addition, some animal infections are transmissible to man.
For all these reasons, an animal health monitoring programme is important, decreasing the risk of zoonotic infection and adding to the reliability and reproducibility of research data. These recommendations propose such programmes for pigs, dogs and cats, specifically bred and used for biomedical research, with the intention of harmonizing procedures and achieving similar standards of testing within the FELASA member countries. Another goal of these recommendations is to ensure that health monitoring reports have a common standard and format, identifying the presence or absence of specific microorganisms in laboratory animal colonies.

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