Protocol Information

Protocols are approved and issued for a three-year period by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).  

The IACUC sends Research Animal Resources (RAR) a daily protocol file to provide information about new and invalid protocol numbers.  

An “Annual Renewal” is required at the end of years one and two. If research will extend past the end of the third year, researchers need to submit a new protocol for approval.  

Protocol assistance

RAR can assist you with:

  • Ordering issues (e.g., you receive an “insufficient animal” message when ordering)
  • Protocol status inquires
  • Cage number issues (e.g., the number of cages listed on an expiring protocol email seems inaccurate)
  • New breeder cage cards, to include updated protocol numbers

Contact the IACUC for:

  • Protocol updates
  • Protocol entry issues and errors
  • Questions regarding expiring protocols
  • Support for determining the number of animals in each pain class on a newly approved protocol

Animal Holding Protocol

The Director of RAR maintains an Animal Holding Protocol (AHP) to cover animals still being housed at the University of Minnesota, but for which the applicable protocol has expired.  

Animals on imminently expiring protocols

RAR sends out email notices to investigators who have animals on census under protocols that are scheduled to expire soon, informing them of the number of cages on census, the housing area(s) of those cages, and the expiration date of the protocol.

Principal investigators (PIs) have three options regarding handling the animals on imminently expiring protocols:

  1. Euthanize the existing animals prior to the protocol’s expiration date.
  2. Provide a valid transfer form, listing either a newly approved protocol which replaces the expiring one, or another protocol which is appropriate for the research being performed (both scenarios require sufficient “Internal Transfer” animals listed on the new protocol). Transfer forms are attached to email notices for the PI or technician to complete. 
  3. Request that the animals be maintained on the AHP until IACUC approval has been authorized, or until another protocol has been identified for the transfer.

If animals are placed on the AHP

  • Yellow cards will be placed on each cage, identifying all cages that are on the AHP.
  • Animals may remain on the AHP for no more than three months (90 days) from the expiration date of the prior protocol.
  • Federal funding sources may not be used to bill animal per diem or special services until a three-year renewal is approved by the IACUC. A non-sponsored account string(s) will be required while on the AHP.  
  • A service fee will be assessed to a designated non-sponsored account string at the time animals are placed on the AHP.
  • No additional animals may be ordered in anticipation of IACUC approval of a new protocol. Orders scheduled for arrival after the protocol’s expiration date will be either canceled or moved to the AHP upon arrival.
  • Animals on census will continue to be maintained per specifications of the per diem rate being billed, and normal husbandry will continue.
  • Breeding colonies may be maintained, litters weaned, genotyping tissues obtained, etc., but no new breeding pairs may be established after the protocol’s expiration date.
  • No experimental procedures are allowed on animals maintained on the AHP.
  • RAR supervisory staff will oversee individuals (whether RAR employees or research staff) performing maintenance procedures for animals on the AHP, and must be alerted of any pre-existing conditions (i.e., special dietary needs, past surgical history, etc.).
  • Transfer to a new protocol is not automatic and a Transfer Form must be completed to move animals from an expired protocol to a new one.
  • If you have a new protocol but it has not been approved, you may submit the Transfer Form. However, some information will need to be updated once the protocol is approved.


Questions regarding expiring protocols should be directed to the IACUC.