FEB 09, 2017 06:00 AM PST

Acclimation of Training Animals for Standard Handling, Restraint and Laboratory Techniques

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  • ULAM-Training Core, Senior Training Specialist, University of Michigan
      Kaile Bennett began working in laboratory animal medicine in 2008 but her passion for animals steadily grew from a young age. Kaile graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor's of science in behavioral psychology. Shortly after graduation she joined the University of Michigan as a Laboratory Animal Technician, quickly obtaining her RLATg certification. Kaile formed the Animal Enrichment Committee, creating various programs in socialization and enrichment for rodents and large animals. As an Animal Technician Senior she transitioned into a position with the biomedical engineering department overseeing a population of rhesus macaques, felines and rabbits. Kaile participates in AALAS locally and nationally, serving on the MI-AALAS executive council. She completed various scientific posters and presentations, authored a book chapter and co-authored multiple manuscripts. She recently accepted an opportunity to share her knowledge as a Training Specialist. Kaile implemented a compassion fatigue peer support group and volunteers for the lab animal community through public outreach. She was named National AALAS 2016 Technician of the Year. She has given refuge to many adopted research animals and currently cleans up after a retired lab beagle, Beaker. Kaile spends her free time with her husband, two sons, and a household of pets. After work, Kaile and her family don costumes for local comic cons.


    DATE:  February 9, 2017
    TIME: 6:00am PT, 9:00am ET

    The University of Michigan’s Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM) has a diverse Training Core that teaches a wide variety of techniques on all common laboratory species. The most common species used are mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits; for this reason, the Training Core holds small populations of these species for training classes with hands on technique demonstration and practice. With a small population that needs to train basic skills for competency to a rotating schedule of students, we acclimate our animals to handling and restraint as well as reward for participation in our regular workshops. To do this we spend time handling and practicing injections in our laboratory setting while modifying techniques in class to ease stress for animals and participants. Extra enrichment and treats are used to associate the training room and staff with positive interactions. Primary housing enclosures include social housing and additional enrichment to help lower stress in their environment. New enrichment devices are introduced to Training Core animals before moving forward into the larger animal population. An online database for the training core population allows for a systematic process in using all of our animals for greater efficiency. We have observed animals that are easier for new laboratory staff to handle and practice techniques as well as an improved staff bond with long term training animals.

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