Panorama editors interview Dr. Lucie C.Côté, DVM, Director of the RI-MUHC Animal Resources Division
We have read that you have changed the Guard from sentinel to PCR in your IVC. Can you tell us why you decided to do that and what results you expected?
We wanted to make use of the new PCR exhaust dust testing and at the same time decrease the use of sentinel animals. We hoped to design a health monitoring program equal or superior to the traditional soiled bedding method.
Can you tell us about the results and the benefits you got from this change?
Due to increased sensitivity, we were able to detect microorganisms previously undetected (for ex. helicobacter, pasteurella and fur mites). This resulted in either treatment, rederivation or decontamination and overall will benefit research results. With this change, we were also able to decrease our rodent health monitoring budget while gaining cage space for research. Using the same PCR technology, we have started testing our shared equipment and biosafety cabinets as a complement to our health monitoring program.
Have you replaced sentinel test with PCR test at 100%?
Yes, we did after two years of parallel testing.
Is this solution helping users to implement the 3Rs recommendations and in particular “Reduction” of sentinel animals?
In addition to the increased sensitivity of our new health monitoring program the reduction is one of the main objective.
How was this change difficult from a technical point of view?
We encountered obstacles in testing our skyflow filter holder (not enough accumulation of dust) as the blowers are designed differently than the smartflow blowers. With the help of Tecniplast we were able to find a suitable filter holder that ensured dust collection for the sky flow. For those who wish to start using the interceptor we highly suggest to inform and train all employees and researchers on the importance of the Interceptor filters. The plenum filter holder may look like a stepping stool and the smart flow filter can easily be removed at the same time as the pre-filter maintenance check!
Have you retrofitted your AHU or have you bought new ones?
We didn’t need to acquire new AHU but had to retrofit and validate the blower filter holder of the smartflow and the exhaust plenum filter holder of the skyflow.
Can you comment on the TP Interceptor system?
We have found that the interceptor system is very efficient and user friendly for our staff.
Do you plan to present the results of this change in a future conference?
Yes, the results will be presented at the end of October at the 69th AALAS national meeting in Baltimore and at the Congrès vétérinaire québécois in Québec. We also hope to have the opportunity to present at the 58th annual symposium of the CALAS in Vancouver in May 2019; the 14th FELASA congress in Prague in June 2019 and …maybe at a future Tecniplast training event!
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