UACC Communication Bulletin - Spring 2022

TRAQ 2.0 Update

The University Animal Care Committee and Animal Care Services have been working hard on the implementation of animal oversight and facility operations components of TRAQ 2.0. As each module rolls out, TRAQ 2.0 will be your single point of access for Animal Use Protocols (AUPs) and Vivarium Operations, Biohazard Applications, Human Ethics and Awards. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the animal modules will be launched at the end of June. Access to TRAQ 2.0 will be granted through Queen’s Single Sign On (SSO), this will see the elimination of the Cisco VPN to access your AUP and simplify access no matter what operating system you are working from. 

We will be initiating User Acceptance Testing (UAT) late-April. If you are interested in seeing a “sneak-peak” of the animal modules and providing end-user feedback, please reach out to  Laura Bark, UACC Coordinator. Current Topaz Elements data will be migrated to TRAQ 2.0 and we are striving for minimal disruption during this process.

Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Interim Assessment

April 12 & 13 2022, Queen’s University Animal Care and Use Program will be undergoing its triannual CCAC Assessment. The CCAC Panel will be touring the animal facilities on campus on the afternoon of April 12, QUBS on the morning of April 13th and finishing with the Biosciences Complex in the late morning.

As a reminder, please take this opportunity to review supplies that you have in the facility and check expiration dates.


New and Revised UACC Policies

The following revised policies are now available on the University Animal Care Committee (UACC) & Institutional Policies page

This policy covers the requirement that all animals that are used in Science at Queen’s University must undergo a Welfare Assessment on a regular basis. As a guiding principle, all animals that participate in science should be healthy and express a high prevalence and diversity of positively motivated species-typical behaviour, along with low levels of abnormal behaviour. The welfare assessment will draw upon information that is gathered through the research, veterinary and husbandry practices within the facility.  All information gathered in relation to welfare assessments is accessible to the team of individuals, including investigators, veterinarians, animal care personnel and the University Animal Care Committee. The information provided through animal welfare assessments will be used by the UACC to identify systemic welfare risks, anticipate welfare implications, and inform future decisions concerning the ethical care and use of animals in science.  

View UACC Policy on Animal Welfare Assessments (PDF 36 KB)

The policy had its wording updated to reference the new caging available in ACS and the accurate number of mice permitted per cage. The Techniplast cages allow 5 mice per cage. Further minor wording changes were made to ensure this policy was in line with what was already in place in other policies and SOP’s

View UACC Policy on Mouse Colony Management (PDF 30 KB)

The policy only had one minor change which was to remove the reference to the Topaz numbering system within an AUP. This will ensure the policy stays current when we switch to the Cayuse system.

View UACC Policy on the Use of Laboratory Animals Outside of the Animal Facility (PDF 68 KB)

This policy covers the import and export of rodents from commercial and non-commercial sources. The revisions were minimal, including changing the reference of dirty and clean quarantine, to just reference one quarantine room.

View UACC Policy on the Importation and Exportation of Rodents (PDF 76 KB)

This policy covers the procedure the Department of Biology to order Aquatic species. As the aquatic species are often ordered directly from the distributor rather than through Topaz Elements, there is no administrative oversight to ensure the number of animals ordered does not exceed what is approved in the AUP. To avoid a breach of compliance, PI’s email the UACC Coordinator prior to ordering the animals to ensure the protocol can accommodate the proposed number of animals.

View UACC Policy on Procurement of Aquatic Species for the Department of Biology (PDF 43 KB)

Standard Operating Procedures

A number of SOPs have undergone their triennial review. Please reference the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) page for current versions of SOP's

Large Animal SOP’s are hosted on wiki.  For access, please contact  Katie McDonald, Quality Assurance and Training Coordinator.

This SOP details the parameters of breeding and weaning for a general mouse colony.

View SOP on Breeding and Weaning (Mice) (PDF 217 KB)

The purpose of the SOP is to describe the methods used when inducing the development of pulmonary hypertension by exposing mice to the hypoxic model of disease. In conjunction with the SOP, Occupational Health and Safety will be conducting an evaluation to determine, in the event of a gas leak in room due to equipment malfunction or equipment setup error, if the resultant air quality will present an exposure concern for personnel. OH&S will calculate the potential levels to determine if they are immediately dangerous to life and health or if they exceed the regulatory standard for the material. If there is found to be a potential concern following the calculation, then solutions such as monitoring with alerts can be instituted to mitigate the risk.

View SOP on Hypoxic Study in Mice (PDF 85 KB)

The purpose of this SOP is to describe how to setup an anesthetic machine. Anesthetic setup is an important factor before any surgical procedure. The safety of the patient and personnel must be considered. Proper maintenance of the machine and the equipment should be done on a regular basis. 

The SOP’s on Anesthetic Checklist for MRI, detail how to properly connect an animal to the MRI Anesthetic Machine. The MRI anesthetic setup is unique in that you have to have the vaporizer sit outside the MRI space because the anesthetic machine is ferromagnetic, so it has to be at a distance from the MRI. The SOP’s also require that prior to personnel using the anesthetic machine, they need to be properly trained by a senior staff member to ensure all steps listed are understood.

The SOP’s on Anesthetic Setup MRI , detail how to properly connect an animal to the MRI Anesthetic Machine. The MRI anesthetic setup is unique in that you have to have the vaporizer sit outside the MRI space because the anesthetic machine is ferromagnetic, so it has to be at a distance from the MRI. The SOP’s also require that prior to personnel using the anesthetic machine, they need to be properly trained by a senior staff member to ensure all steps listed are understood.

Tramadol Now A Controlled Substance

As of April 1, 2022, tramadol was listed under Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act within Canada. This means that Animal Care Services can no longer sell injectable tramadol and unfortunately as injectable tramadol was compounded by Chiron and does not have a Drug Identification Number (DIN) an exemption cannot be obtained for its use and there are no commercially available sources in Canada. As a result, if you have ongoing studies requiring tramadol, please reach out to Dr. Winterborn and we will make arrangements to administer the drug for you. In addition, please discuss possible alternatives with Dr. Winterborn.


Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Updates

This guidelines document, along with its associated frequently asked questions, addresses conditions normally present in laboratories housing amphibians, and provides a framework for the implementation of evidence-based practices, with the aim of improving the welfare of amphibians.  This document provides information for investigators, study directors, animal care committees, facility managers, veterinarians, and animal care staff to help facilitate improvements in both the care given to amphibians, and the manner in which experimental procedures are performed.

View New Guidelines on Amphibians (PDF 1.8 MB) | View FAQs on Amphibians (PDF 670 KB)

Health Canada Update (March 2022)
Health Canada had announced a global shortage of pentobarbital sodium, the active ingredient used in most euthanasia products for animals. The shortage was expected to impact the existing Canadian supply in mid-to-late 2021 and predicted to continue until mid-2022. 

Health Canada  has recently issued an update notice stating that while initial estimates of supply and demand forecasted that the global shortage could impact Canada’s supply in early 2022, careful allocation of product supply throughout 2021 has successfully prevented a shortage in Canada to date. Additional supplies of pentobarbital sodium have now been secured, and it is expected that there should be adequate supply to cover normal Canadian demand in 2022. In November 2021, Health Canada also approved a new euthanasia product containing pentobarbital sodium for the Canadian market.

View Notice of Shortage of Pentobarbital Sodium 

The CCAC announced the appointment of Dr. Marc T. Avey as Director of Standards, effective August 3, 2021. Dr. Avey comes to the CCAC with a uniquely broad skillset and perspective on the methods, management, and implementation of evidence-based guideline development, in areas including animal-based research and public health. Dr. Avey completed his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Alberta, exploring the neuroethology of auditory perception in songbirds. He then completed two fellowships, one in animal policy development at the CCAC, and one on preclinical translation of animal research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

As a scientist and manager, his focus has been on the gaps that exist between evidence and policy to achieve objectives such as improving the welfare of animals in science and improving the health and well-being of Canadians through public health guidelines. Most recently, he played an integral role in the implementation of the Canada Border Testing Program, supporting the Public Health Agency of Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout his professional career, he has also volunteered on several committees of national and international organizations, and has provided teaching and mentorship at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, and University of Alberta.

View Announcement of the New CCAC Director of Standards 

The National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council (NFAHWC) joined the CCAC as its 23rd member organization. Ms. Colleen McElwain, Programs Director at the Canadian Animal Health Institute, will serve as the NFAHWC’s first member organization representative to the CCAC.  The NFAHWC is a not-for-profit organization that brings together industry, federal, provincial, and territorial partners to provide collaborative guidance on a cohesive, functional, and responsive farmed animal health and welfare system in Canada.

Please Note, as of January 10, 2022, the organization has changed its name to Animal Health Canada .

View new member announcement 

The CCAC published the CCAC Annual Report 2020-2021  in October.  The report summarized key developments and accomplishments from the past five years, and offers a glimpse at future activities related to the new CCAC 2021-2026 strategic plan 

The CCAC Animal Data Report 2020 (PDF 696 KB), provides a national overview of animal-based science in CCAC-certified institutions from January 1 to December 31, 2020. The numbers in this report comprise all animal use within CCAC-certified institutions in 2020. Some of the facts highlighted included: 5,067,778 animals in research, teaching, and testing were reported to the CCAC; the three animal types most often used were birds (50%), mice (21.4%), and fish (11.7%); and the largest proportion of animals (55.7%) were used in studies for the development of products for human or veterinary medicine (PAU 4).

The CCAC has been working on a new process for animal use data collection and reporting, aimed at improving public accountability for Canadian animal-based science. As it is important to fully understand the challenges faced by institutions in implementing the proposed changes and recommendations, a consultative working group was established to examine impacts related to the implementation of changes to the CCAC’s animal data collection and reporting processes. The new working group will bring together knowledgeable individuals from institutions where concerns have been expressed, and from institutions ready to collect data according to the new requirements, to articulate the practical barriers and identify potential solutions.

The CCAC National Workshop 2022  will be held on June 7, 2022. It will be offered as a virtual half-day of engaging presentations focused on the ethical care and use of animals in science. The CCAC recommends that members take advantage of this unique opportunity to exchange best practices and discuss common animal care challenges with colleagues from across the broad community. 

The CCAC has created a report which provides a national overview of the effects on animals used in CCAC-certified institutions between January 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.  Since March 2020, the CCAC required all certified institutions to complete a COVID-19 Animal Numbers Tracking Form (WROD 67 KB), regardless of whether their animal numbers were impacted by COVID-19 or not.  This information has provided a more complete picture of the consequences of the pandemic on ethical animal care and use programs, has helped ensure accountability to the Canadian public, and will inform the development of future policies and improve preparedness.

View Report on the Impact of COVID-19 on Animals In Canadian Science (PDF 1.4 MB)

The CCAC is seeking new members for its Board of Directors  to increase the scope of its expertise and help steer the organization in accordance with the CCAC’s mandate. Since 1968, the CCAC has been the national peer-review organization responsible for setting, maintaining, and overseeing the implementation of high standards for the ethical care and use of animals in science throughout Canada. The CCAC's mission is to ensure that animal-based science in Canada takes place only when necessary, and that animals used in studies receive optimal care according to high quality, research-informed standards.  

The role of the board is to provide responsible leadership for the organization, and guidance on its overall direction. Candidates should be highly qualified individuals that possess expertise in areas such as veterinary medicine, research science, bioethics, or law, in addition to possessing financial acumen. The CCAC is seeking representation from the animal welfare community, different sectors of the animal care system (public, private, and academic), different demographic and regional areas, and a diverse cross-section of member organizations. 

Applicants are invited to consult the Guidelines for Nomination Candidates for the CCAC Board of Directors (PDF 1.1 MB) for more information.  Nominations should be forwarded to by April 15, 2022.

The CCAC is creating new guidance materials with the intention to go beyond the traditional focuses of ensuring animal health and reducing the impact of scientific procedures performed on animals. They signify a shift in the understanding of what good animal welfare is, and how to promote it; good animal welfare is more than good health, and the welfare of animals used in science is impacted by more than just the procedures performed on them.

In keeping with this initiative, the newly revised CCAC Policy: Certification of Ethical Animal Care and Use Programs (PDF 873 KB), and its requirement to notify the CCAC of reportable animal welfare incidents within 14 days (2 weeks) of occurrence, should help researchers, instructors, and animal care committee members to better understand the overall impact of science on animal welfare by quantifying potential mortality related to any event or condition experienced by an animal. The requirement also supports institutions and animal care committees in having sound internal and external incident reporting mechanisms.

View more on CCAC Reportable Animal Welfare Incidents 

This is part of an ongoing series of reports related to animal welfare incidents, and the CCAC respectfully requests that these reports be kept confidential.

CCAC Reportable Animal Welfare Incidents (RAWI), which were previously referred to as Major Animal Welfare Incidents (MAWI), refer to events that lead to significant mortality for animals used in research, teaching, or testing, or that pose an immediate and significant threat to animal health or welfare.

Since the introduction of the CCAC requirement to report significant animal welfare incidents in October 2019, the CCAC has worked with certified institutions that have experienced incidents to help identify root causes in the hope of preventing future occurrences. As part of their service to their institutions, the latest summary report (PDF 145 KB) of these incidents has been prepared to help inform the community of potential risks to animal welfare. They encourage all institutions to review their current policies, processes, and infrastructure to help safeguard animal welfare.

The CCAC guidelines: Identification of scientific endpoints, humane intervention points, and cumulative endpoints (PDF 1.2 MB) is now available. This document provides information for investigators, study directors, instructors, animal care committees, facility managers, veterinarians, and animal care personnel to help facilitate improvements in both the care given to animals, and how experimental procedures are carried out. It is based on expert peer advice and current interpretation of scientific evidence and has received extensive peer review

The document CCAC guidelines: Reptiles  was created for investigators, study directors, animal care committees, facility managers, veterinarians, and animal care staff to facilitate improvements in both the care given to reptiles, and the manner in which experimental procedures are performed. The CCAC invites contributors to help advance the high standards for the ethical care and use of animals in Canadian science by providing insight and input on the guideline document.

Comments are requested to be provided by April 29, 2022. 

Dr. Jean Lavallée has been appointed as the CCAC Director of Assessment and Certification , effective April 1, 2022.  

Dr. Lavallée joined the CCAC in early 2017 as an associate director of assessment, prior to which he served as a member of the CCAC Assessment and Certification Committee. Dr. Lavallée holds a DVM from the University of Montréal (1995), an MSc in aquatic species epidemiology from the University of Prince Edward Island (1999), and completed a veterinary residency in aquaculture health management at the same university (1998).

Dr. Lavallée has over 20 years of experience in aquatic species health and quality, working for more than twelve years as a clinical research scientist for the Atlantic Veterinary College Lobster Science Centre at the University of Prince Edward Island, and then acting as executive director for the AVC Lobster Science Centre in 2011-2012 before founding Aquatic Science & Health Services a consulting company specializing in aquatic veterinary medicine and research with a focus on best practices, outreach, and project management related to the aquaculture and fishing industries. Dr. Lavallée also served on the board of directors for two non-profit research organizations (with activities in Atlantic Canada and the USA) for eight years.