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Washington State University Campus Veterinarian

Frequently asked questions

Reasons for change

Why are we changing from individually managed animal facilities to a centrally managed system?

Historically, animal facilities at WSU have been managed as independent units through individual departments or colleges. The move to a centralized management structure is being done for multiple reasons.  It is designed to capitalize on the efficiencies inherent in a larger system both in terms of personnel and goods and services.  It is intended to ease collaborations and to promote campus wide strategic planning for our animal care and use program.  In addition, there were two separate external evaluations of our animal care and use program in 2016 and both reviews recommended a change to a centralized management model.

Facilities involved and schedule

What facilities will be part of the centrally managed system and when will the change occur?

Facilities and target dates for central management implementation include:

  • July 1, 2018 – Pullman Campus
    • Biotechnology and Life Sciences Building Vivarium
    • Veterinary Biomedical Research Building Vertical and Basement Vivaria
    • Bustad Hall Vivarium
    • Animal Disease Biotechnology Facility Vivarium
    • Infectious Disease Buildings (197 and 199A-G)
    • Eastlick Hall Vivarium
    • Wegner Hall Vivarium
  • January 1, 2019 – Spokane Campus
    • Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building Vivarium
    • Health Education and Research Building Vivarium
  • January 1, 2020 – Pullman Campus
    • Experimental Animal Laboratory Building Vivarium

Does this mean I have to move my animals?

There are no immediate plans to move animals.  In general, housing locations will be determined based on factors such as disease status, equipment needs, and proximity to investigator laboratories. Housing location decisions will be made in consultation with the primary investigator.


Will my costs increase because of this change?

Current per diem rates vary greatly between the different animal facilities.  Under a centrally managed system, standardized per diems will be implemented across all facilities.  This will mean an increase in per diem rates for some investigators, while others will see a decrease in their per diem rates.  For Investigators whose rates increase, the Office of Research is committed to provide up to $80,000 to subsidize the difference between current rates and standardized rates during the transition period as current grants involving animal research expire.

How will per diems be determined?

For each species, housing per diems are based on an analysis of the costs attributable to caring for that species.  The primary cost is labor, but all other costs such as feed, bedding, cleaning supplies, equipment, service contracts, etc. are included in the calculation.  Items such as veterinary personnel and care, routine health monitoring (sentinel program), and sanitation monitoring are not included in per diems but are supported by the Office of Research. Per diems are adjusted annually based on an updated analysis of incurred costs.

Animal care and special needs

Who will be responsible for providing care for my animals?

Staff currently employed by individual facilities will maintain a principal location of employment within a facility as part of the newly formed centrally managed system. The animal facility management would report up to OCV instead of department or college faculty and administrative professionals.

I have special needs, such as a need for behavior space, a dark or reverse light cycle, or a minimal noise environment.  Will these needs be accommodated in the centrally managed system?

Current specialized services will continue to be offered and there are plans to expand specialized services that will be available to the research community.  We do recognize that animal housing and research needs vary tremendously; hence each situation will be handled on a case-by-case basis in a staged manner.

Ideas, questions, and concerns

Can I have input on management decisions?

Yes!  You are welcomed and encouraged to contribute your ideas, desires, and concerns.  Please feel free to contact the leadership of the centralized services at any time.  In addition, a user’s group composed of faculty from the various departments will also be formed.  This group will serve as an advisory group to the centralized management and will provide input into management decisions that are made.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

Please contact either of the following individuals if you have further questions or concerns:

Nina Woodford DVM, MPH, DACLAM
Director, Office of the Campus Veterinarian
Washington State University

Steven Russell, DVM
Office of the Campus Veterinarian
Washington State University