Skip Navigation
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthCAAT

Animal Welfare Enhancement Awards - 2006 Recipients

Are mice subjected to temperatures outside the recommended range during air shipment by common courier?
Eric Syversen

Our goal is to minimize thermal stress during mouse air shipments. The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide) recommends that unadapted mice and rats be maintained at 64 -79°F. Air carriers only ship mice when reported temperatures along the route lie between 45° F and 85° F. However there is no reported data indicating whether these shipping parameters are effective in maintaining rodents within Guide recommendations. When there is a letter of acclimation that accompanies the shipment, air carriers will even ship at temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. We will document the temperature and humidity profile of 100 inter-institutional mouse shipments (50 summer, 50 winter) via a battery operated temperature, humidity and time data monitor attached to one crate of each shipment. The range and duration of temperatures and humidity levels that mice are exposed to, the reported temperatures and humidity levels from dock to dock, and the clinical appearance of mice on arrival will be recorded. Data will be compared for several carriers to determine a) if the current permitted range of shipping temperature achieves the goal of maintaining mice within temperatures recommended by the Guide, b) if certain carriers or air routes more effectively protect mice from temperature extremes and fluctuations, and c) if temperature extremes or fluctuations during shipment correlate with observable clinical problems. Results will enhance our ability to assess and minimize thermal stress when planning mouse air shipments.