Animal Care and Use Policy

Animal Care and Use PolicyThe policy of the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is to safeguard and promote the health and well-being of all animals used in teaching, research and testing activities. CVM abides by the published standards of care in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, NRC 2011, 8th Edition; the Animal Welfare Act as implemented by Title 9, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) of the US; and the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia (2007). The care and welfare of all animals used in the CVM curriculum, whether for the education of veterinary students or for conducting research or testing, is overseen by the LMU Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Protocols for any use of animals at CVM must be reviewed and approved by IACUC prior to implementation.

The CVM curriculum is designed to provide students opportunities to master the technical skills they will need to function as skilled health care professionals, while doing so in a manner that does not harm animals. In the case of surgical techniques, instrument handling, knot tying, gowning and gloving, draping and maintaining sterile surgical fields, are taught in a serial fashion using a combination of inanimate and dynamic models and computer simulations over several semesters in our Clinical Skills laboratory.  The rationale for this preemptive approach is to build student confidence and expertise before they enter a surgical suite for the first time.  The capstone surgical exercise for the pre-clinical curriculum is the canine ovariohysterectomy (spay) procedure.  Following spay procedures, patients are returned to their owners, whether the owner is a private individual or a shelter facility.

The CVM curriculum affords a wide range of other experiential (hands-on) training opportunities as well, many of which involve animals.  For example, animal cadavers and prosections are studied in anatomy in tandem with live animal palpation of the same structures that have been identified in the dissection laboratory; the condition and nutritional body score of living animals are determined as part of the nutrition course; physical examination techniques are taught using large and small animals; and anesthetic agents are administered to living animals as part of surgery exercises. Diagnostic laboratory sessions may involve handling of blood, urine, tissue and fecal specimens obtained for students from animals or from an abattoir.

Each of these training sessions is conducted in accordance with the restrictions and requirements set forth by the IACUC committee.  Modifications are made to the curriculum from time to time to ensure both academic rigor and appropriate use of animals.