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.