Office of Research Training Requirements for Personnel Working with Live, Vertebrate Animals Used in Research and/or Training - Office of Research

Training Requirements for Personnel Working with Live, Vertebrate Animals Used in Research and/or Training


To establish the training policy for personnel working with live, vertebrate animals in the Animal Care and Use Program. This includes the Animal Care and Use 101 (ACU 101) on-line course and additional training for all persons listed on an Animal Care and Use (ACU) Protocol or working with live, vertebrate animals.


The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and Animal Welfare Regulations requires training for personnel working with live, vertebrate animals: “All personnel involved with the care and use of animals must be adequately educated, trained, and/or qualified in basic principles of laboratory animal science to help ensure high-quality science and animal well-being.”  “It shall be the responsibility of the research facility to ensure that all scientists, research technicians, animal technicians, and other personnel involved in animal care, treatment, and use are qualified to perform their duties.”


All persons listed on an Animal Care and Use Protocol must meet the following requirements:

Undergraduate Students

Exceptions to the above policy are as follows:

  • Researchers visiting from other UCs may submit an Exemption Form signed by their home institution’s IACUC Administrator indicating they have received training on the basic laws and regulations pertaining to animal care and use (UC Exemption – PDF).


  • All personnel listed on a protocol must take the UC Davis IACUC Three-Year Retraining Exam OR complete the ACU 101 on-line course every three years.
  • Re-training notifications will be sent to individuals and the PI beginning at 90 days prior to the individual’s training anniversary date. Notifications will continue to be sent every 30 days until the Three-Year Retraining Exam or ACU 101 on-line course has been completed.
  • If the Three-Year Retraining Exam OR the ACU 101 on-line course has not been completed by the individual’s training anniversary date, notification will be sent to the individual and PI indicating removal from the ACU Protocol roster. Once retraining has been verified, the individual’s privilege to conduct research will be reinstated after an amendment to add the individual onto the protocol has been received. If the PI has not completed the ACU 101 retraining, their protocol(s) may be suspended until the retraining has been completed.


  •   Campus/IACUC Office Responsibilities:
    • Information Dissemination
      • The IACUC Office will make the ACU 101 on-line course available to all persons listed on an ACU Protocol. The course will include information on:
        • Laws and regulations pertinent to animal care and use.
        • The UC Davis Animal Care and Use Program for teaching and research animals.
        • The Occupational Health Program for individuals working with animals.
      • The ACU 101 on-line course will be made available on the Office of Research website.
        • Attendees will have access to their certificate of completion on the Learning Management System.
      • The IACUC Office will inform the PIs of any new policy, guidelines, or changes related to the care and use of animals.
    • Animal Care and Use Training
        • Information on the experience and training of each individual listed on a protocol roster must be provided in the ACU Protocol. Individual qualifications are reviewed and approved by the IACUC. The information provided must be specific to the procedures listed on the protocol.
        • The IACUC Office will provide guidance to PIs in developing training documentation.
        • The IACUC will inspect PI’s training programs during laboratory inspections, post-approval monitoring and/or facility inspections to verify that personnel have received required training. These inspections will take place and be performed in accordance with the IACUC Inspection Program.
        • All individuals performing survival surgery on laboratory animals must be trained in aseptic technique.
        • All personnel performing rodent survival surgery must take the on-line Rodent Survival Surgery course.
        • All personnel performing physical methods of euthanasia on adult animals without anesthesia (i.e., cervical dislocation or decapitation) must be trained on the technique and certified by one of the approved campus trainers.
        • The IACUC may mandate additional training, including species-specific training for individuals or a group of individuals, if:
          • During the initial protocol review process, the need for additional training is identified.
          • The procedure in the protocol changes substantially (e.g. changing from acute to survival surgery).
          • Violations of the ACU Protocol are identified due to lack of understanding of procedures or insufficient training.
        • Species-specific training modules will be provided depending on need or at the discretion of the IACUC or Attending Veterinarian. At a minimum, the following courses will be offered:
          • Rat Handling and Lab Skills.
          • Mouse Handling and Lab Skills.
          • Rabbit Handling and Lab Skills.
          • Rodent Aseptic Technique.
        • The Office of the Attending Veterinarian will provide additional training as needed.
  • Principal Investigator’s Training Responsibilities for Animal Care and Use

The Principal Investigator (PI) is defined as the person on an IACUC protocol who has assumed the responsibility for all of the staff listed on the roster and the animals that will be worked with under the protocol. The PI on a protocol must have a career appointment with UC Davis. The PI may be a faculty member, facility manager or staff member.  They must ensure that appropriate training is provided and documented for everyone listed on their Animal Care and Use (ACU) Protocol before they work with live, vertebrate animals. Training must be provided and documented for staff, volunteers, students, or visitors that work with live, vertebrate animals in teaching and/or research or when providing husbandry care.

The PI must also ensure that everyone listed on their protocol participates in the Occupational Health Program according to IACUC policy Animal Care and Use Occupational Health Program.

In addition, each person listed on the ACU Protocol must complete the Animal Care and Use 101 (ACU 101) course.

The PI must ensure that everyone listed on their ACU Protocol has read the protocol and understands their responsibilities in relation to the protocol. Everyone working with live, vertebrate animals must be qualified to work with animals, informed of their responsibilities, and trained in the specific procedures described in the protocol and otherwise required by the IACUC.

In-house Training:
The PI must provide training on the following:

  • Protocol specific training: Training on procedures and techniques listed in the protocol.
  • Personal hygiene: How to reduce the risk of contamination to the person as well as surfaces, other personnel, and other animals.
  • Personal protective equipment: How to properly select and use personal protective equipment such as gloves, eyewear, lab coats, respirators, etc.
  • Use of the Hazard Analysis Tool: How to use the on-line Hazard Analysis Tool at
  • Animal bite instructions: How to appropriately respond to an animal bite or similar exposure, including immediate washing and first aid procedures, who to contact, and to whom to report the exposure. This information must be posted in the laboratory or work area. First Aid Procedures for Bites is available on the Occupational Health website.
  • Zoonotic diseases: Inform individuals of zoonotic diseases associated with the species they are working with. The on-line “Hazard Analysis Tool” ( or “Zoonosis Information by Species” (  can be used for this instruction.
  • Animal care and husbandry: Awareness of procedures necessary for animal care and husbandry. This is generally for animal care staff and investigator maintained animals only.
  • Euthanasia: Procedures on the euthanasia method approved in the ACU Protocol.
  • Pain and discomfort, anesthetics and analgesics: How to recognize the signs of pain and discomfort in the species with which each individual will be working and the use of the anesthetics and analgesics approved in the ACU Protocol.
  • Record keeping, monitoring procedures: How to maintain the necessary records and the monitoring procedures for each project (i.e., post-op monitoring records).
  • Information contained in and purpose of the Injury and Illness Prevention Program: Inform all personnel on the information contained in the Injury, Illness Prevention Program (IIPP), such as how to read Material Safety Data Sheets, the evacuation plan, the availability of pertinent EH&S SafetyNets, etc.
  • Bloodborne pathogens: How to take the necessary precautions when working with bloodborne pathogens and what procedures to follow when a possible contamination has occurred.
  • Other hazardous materials: Information regarding other hazardous substances such as chemicals and radiation used within the work area. This may include the safety data sheets, personal protection, and other pertinent safety information.

Documentation of the above information must be maintained by the PI or designee and be readily accessible to the IACUC staff during area inspections. The training document must include:

  • Name of person(s) conducting training
  • Signature of person receiving training
  • Date of training
  • A brief description of subjects covered

The “Individual Training Record can be used as guide to assure all training has been documented and acknowledged by the PI and employee/student/temporary affiliate/volunteer.

Available Resources:
The IACUC provides the ACU 101 on-line course as well as assistance with other training needs. For more information, please contact or 530-752-2364.

The IACUC office provides classes for species-specific animal handling and biomethodology, anesthesia and euthanasia techniques, and aseptic surgical techniques. For information, contact or 530-752-2364. View class information at .

UC Davis subscribes to the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) Learning Library. The AALAS library offers a wide variety of online training courses. Courses include training for the AALAS certification exams (ALAT, LAT, LATG), CEUs for AALAS certification renewals, training on techniques for working with a variety of species, and regulatory training. Some of the courses are RACE approved for RVTs needing CEU’s to renew their license. A complete list of the courses is available at We encourage you to take advantage of these training opportunities. If you would like access to these courses please contact the IACUC Office ( to be assigned a login ID and password.

Procedure: IACUC-2
Date: 9/19/2019
Enabled by: PHS, Guide
Supersedes: July 28, 2016