Research and Funding

Aged Rodent Colonies Handbook

Shipment of Animals

Notice: The NIA has long provided biological resources to the research community to facilitate research on the biology of aging. As of January 1, 2014, the NIA will no longer charge users for the biological resources, nor any related shipping fees due to a new interpretation of the regulations that govern contracting. Notice Regarding Pricing.

The objective for maintaining these colonies is to provide animals for aging research that are in good health, but characteristic of aging animals. Therefore, the best looking animals are not selected for shipping, but rather, animals are selected at random. This means, particularly in older animals, that you may get some "scruffy" looking animals or animals exhibiting common conditions of aging such as small tumors, cataracts, loss of hair, stiffness of limbs, etc. Tumors in particular are commonplace in older rodents. These conditions are not justification for replacement. If your protocol requires animals free of such conditions, it is your responsibility to order enough animals to allow you to select preferred animals. You may request “No Tumors” or “No Cataracts” on the order form but that will only apply to visible tumors or cataracts. It will not guarantee that small tumors or cataracts will not be present in the animals shipped.

Occasionally, periods of high or low temperature make the air shipment of aged animals extremely risky. Animals exposed to hot or cold loading docks and airplane holds under these conditions are quite likely to die or to suffer temperature stress. When such conditions exist, we will call you to inform you of the delay of the shipment until the temperature moderates. The NIA will not ship animals by air during such weather advisories. Shipments made by environmentally controlled trucks are not affected by weather except during severe storms. If you have questions about this policy, please contact the NIA office.

All animals are shipped only with their cage-mates. The crates used to ship from Charles River can be separated into three compartments, depending on what is being shipped. Only animals of the same age and sex and barrier of origin are shipped in the same crate, regardless of the use compartments. The crates hold a maximum of 12 mice or 6 rats, but the number might be lower and is determined by the age(s), sex(es), and originating cage configuration of the animals to ship. Caloric mice are housed 1 per cage and shipped at a maximum of 3 per crate in compartmental crates.