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.
BALB/cBy males are currently being shipped in compartmentalized crates, maximum of 5 mice per crate, to prevent fighting. Depending on age and size, animals are packed 2-8 per crate. The maximum number of animals per crate for regular aging colonies is 3 rats, or 12 mice. Caloric restricted rats are packed 2 per crate, or 3 mice.