How do I obtain access to a vivarium?

Check out our Getting Started Section for a look at what it takes to get into a vivarium. One must complete IACUC training, enroll in the Occupational Health Program, and be listed as personnel on an approved protocol. Once those three trainings are complete, the final step is a Facility Orientation Training with the Facility Manager or designee. The Facility Manager or designee will notify the appropriate OAR personnel to grant access within 48 hours.

Am I able to bring a visitor into vivaria?

Before a visitor (anyone who is not on an approved protocol) can enter a vivarium, permission must be granted by the Facility Manager and Operations Manager. Once approved, the visitor must sign in on the Visitor Log posted in the entrance of each facility, and must be escorted at all times. All visitors must be over the age of 18 years old.

It is important that all persons that enter a vivarium read the potential hazards of working with animals. Some of that information can be found here.

What is AALAS?

AALAS, the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, is a professional organization that advances responsible laboratory animal care and use to benefit people and animals. Research institutes can request AALAS to examine their facilities and practices. After evaluation, the research institute can become AAALAC accredited.

What is AAALAC?

AAALAC is the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, International. AAALAC is a bridge between research progression and animal well-being.

Is CU Boulder AAALAC accredited?

Yes! Boulder received AAALAC accreditation in June of 2018.

What services do per diems pay for?

Our Services and Rates page lists the current per diems. Per diems are charges for the basic care of animals. Per diems pay for: monitoring the health of every animal on campus 365 days a year, cage changes as required by the volume of the enclosure, the number of animals within, and the type of rack used, food and water which are monitored with health checks, and most basic supplies. OAR also offers special services, which are typically billed on a pro re nata basis.

How are sterile environments maintained within vivaria?

All vivaria at CU Boulder have cage washers to clean supplies, and most autoclave supplies that come in contact with animals. OAR maintains a rigorous sanitiation schedule. 

What is sentinel monitoring and how does it work?

Sentinel monitoring is a large part of our health monitoring program. Every 3 months we collect our sentinel animals and test for adventitious pathogens and parasites. Every rack of animals has one sentinel enclosure. During regular cage changes, one scoop of bedding from each enclosure is placed into the sentinel enclosure. Through this method, we expose the sentinels to any pathogen or parasite that may exist on a rack.

Am I able to import/export animals from other research institutes? How?


In TOPAZ Elements: Animal Orders/Create New Order/ Select the "Import Request Form", complete and submit.


Refer to the Export Animals Form on the 'Forms' page of the OAR Website.  Complete and submit. 

When do animal orders arrive?

Animal orders placed with routine vendors (Jackson Labs, Taconic, Charles River, & Harlan) arrive every Monday. OAR staff will receive and house the animals, then notify the appropriate personnel that their animals have arrived.

Animal orders from non-routine vendors (from other research institutes) can arrive on any weekday. The exact date and time is determined by the two institutes' import/export coordinators, with input and recommendations from both PI's.

Where can I order animals from?

Routine approved vendors: 

Jackson Labs, Taconic, Charles River, & Envigo (formerly Harlan).

These animals are housed directly into all campus animal facilities upon arrival.  

 Conditionally approved vendors: 


These animals can be housed directly into conventional campus animal facilities after review and approval of their most recent health report by the veterinarians. They must pass through quarantine testing before they are permitted into any barrier animal facility.


When is the cut-off for animal orders?

To ensure animals arrive on Monday, orders should be placed by noon on Wednesday before they are scheduled to arrive. All animal orders from routine vendors and conditionally approved vendors should be placed in Topaz.

*Orders from NIA should be placed by noon the Monday before they are scheduled to arrive.

What hours may I enter an animal facility?

Typically, vivaria staff leave by 6 pm each day. Light cycles determine how late personnel may enter. Most vivaria have 7-7 light cycles, but check with your Facility Manager to see how late you can stay.

After hours access is limited to those with a scientific need in order to minimize stress to the animals.

How do I receive training on technical practices?

A wide variety of trainings are offered through the Office of Animal Resources. Our Veterinary Technician(s) coordinates most training sessions. Fill out the Training Request Form to request specific trainings.

How do I order drugs/medical supplies?

Our Veterinary Technician will order these for you*. Before they can order your drugs or supplies, they will need the following bits of information:

  • A SpeedType to which the bill can be charged
  • The name of the Principle Investigator
  • Item name/quantity/concentration 

*Please note that a 30% handling/service fee will apply for such orders.

How do I report animal usage in Topaz Elements?

Click the following link for tips on reporting animal usage:


When I can, I try to wean animals into existing cages. How do I ensure animals are deducted from our protocol?

Submit an Animal Usage Report for the number of animals that were weaned into existing cages.

I want to request cage cards in advance so that they are available when I wean a cage. How do I proceed?

Contact your facility manager for Manual Cage Cards. Please note that manual cage cards are for cage creation/identification only, an Animal Usage Report will need to be submitted when the animals are weaned to deduct the correct number of  animals from the protocol.

I am unable to see the speedtype account numbers in the drop-down list in Topaz Elements.

Try expanding the column on the grid header to see the entire column.  If you still don't see the desired speedtype, please contact the OAR Office to add a new speedtype number. 

Are per diems charged when the animal care technicians scan the rooms with the mobile scanner?

No, Per diem charges start when an animal order, weaned cage, or transfer is received in the system. The charges automatically calculate daily until the cage card is deactivated. The scanning process only reconciles the cages to what is in the system.

What is covered in the per diem charges?

Per diem charges pay a portion of the operating budget for the animal facilities including food, bedding, and other supplies for animal care; animal health monitoring; maintenance & repair of equipment in the animal facilities and salaries for animal care staff. Some things per diems do NOT cover include upper management salaries for OAR, the administrative operating budget for OAR, IACUC Administrative and Operating Costs and the purchase and annual support of Topaz Elements.