Procedures for Sheep Quarantine and Conditioning

Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine
Apr 19, 2024 12:00 am

To define the standard operating procedures for housing, quarantine, and preventative health care of sheep housed in a vivarium at the University of Michigan for use in research.

  • Responsibility

    1. Husbandry Staff: Responsible to check the delivery schedule daily to know when new sheep will arrive.
    2. Veterinary Technicians: Responsible to receive all sheep within 2 business days according to the Procedures for Large Animal Receiving document.
    3. Veterinary Residents: Responsible to examine all sheep within 7 business days of arrival.
  • Glossary Definitions

    Classification of sheep by duration of use at the University of Michigan:

    Acute Use

    Animal involved in a study at the University of Michigan, which has a terminal endpoint within seven days of their arrival.

    Chronic Use

    Animal expected to remain at the University of Michigan facility for longer than seven days.

    Acclimation Period

    The time period provided to an animal after shipment to allow physiological and psychological stabilization prior to any experimental manipulation.

  • Procedures

    1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    1. Wear all PPE as listed for the housing area.
    2. Additional PPE is required due to the risk of exposure when working with sheep with orf lesions or increased risk of Q fever transmission. Refer to Protective Equipment for Working with Animals and Procedures to Reduce Human Exposure to Orf and Q Fever for further information.

    2. Housing

    1. Due to space constraints within our facilities, individual animals may not undergo a true quarantine period during which the animals are physically separated from all other animals. However, efforts will be made to separate animals as much as possible.
    2. Sheep should undergo a 48 hour acclimation period since they may have become infected with one of the causative agents of a respiratory illness during shipment, or were latent carriers of one of these agents with disease expression stimulated by the stress of transport.
      1. Sheep arriving together from the same vendor should be housed separately from other sheep at the University during the 48 hour acclimation period.
      2. Any outbreak of disease may necessitate a longer acclimation period.
      3. The clinical veterinarian is responsible for releasing any previously ill sheep from quarantine upon completion of the acclimation period.

    3. Sheep Processing

    1. Physical Examination: Sheep are given a complete physical examination within 2 business days of arrival by the veterinary residents.
      1. Any abnormalities identified during the physical exam should be communicated to the faculty veterinarian ASAP to determine if the animal meets the qualifications for refusal of acceptance from the vendor.
      2. Quarantine: Sheep suspected of having infectious disease should be relocated to an isolated area so that other animals in the shipment may be protected. The veterinary staff will determine how to best isolate the potentially infectious sheep.
    2. Parasite Control:
      1. Sheep are dewormed by the vendor prior to arrival. A McMasters fecal exam will be submitted by the veterinary technicians approximately 10 days after arrival.
      2. Sheep with a positive test result will be treated at the discretion of the veterinary staff with the appropriate antiparasitic.
        1. A follow-up McMasters fecal exam should be submitted by the veterinary technicians approximately 10 days after treatment.
        2. Sheep with negative fecal exams at the time of recheck should be reevaluated every 4 months for intestinal parasites.
      3. Any sheep diagnosed with ectoparasitism will be treated as necessary by the veterinary staff.
    3. Blood Work:
      1. Blood samples will be obtained from all sheep that are intended for use in chronic studies, regardless of source status. This is performed either by ULAM or in coordination with the receiving laboratory.
      2. The blood will be assayed for packed cell volume (PCV) and total protein (TP). The results will be emailed to the area veterinary staff and recorded in the medical record. Additional testing will be performed as deemed necessary by the veterinary staff.
      3. Sheep intended for acute procedures do not need blood work. However, such procedures can be done for investigators if requested. Any expenses incurred from this will be charged to the investigator.

    4. Costs

    1. In general, the Principal Investigator (PI) pays for the cost of treatments. Also see Standard Charging Procedures for Veterinary Services.
    2. If the lab requests deworming of their sheep upon arrival, there will be a charge for this service.
    3. Any additional tests beyond standard diagnostics (i.e. PCV/TP and fecal exams) requested by the lab will incur charges.

    5. Permission for Treatment

    1. The investigator must be contacted prior to treatments to obtain permission for all non-emergency treatments.
Species: Sheep

Questions or concerns about the content of this document should be directed to the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM) at (734) 764-0277 or