Research and Sponsored Programs

Frequently Asked Questions
About Animal Research Protocols

Person with a question The questions listed below are a snapshot of those that frequently come up regarding animal research protocols.

Please contact the IACUC Administrator if your question or concern is not addressed below.

Updated: February 26, 2019


What types of animals require an IACUC protocol?

All vertebrate animals (animals with a backbone) require an IACUC protocol.  Higher invertebrates also require an IACUC protocol and include: octopus, squid, nautilus, lobsters, crabs and hermit crabs, and crayfish.

Do I need to contact someone before submitting my protocol?

The IACUC strongly recommends that you consult with either the IACUC Administrator IACUC Chair, or the Attending Veterinarian prior to protocol submission. 

What type of protocols can I submit? 

Protocols can be submitted as combination research and breeding (preferred), research only, breeding only, or instruction.  If you will be breeding animals for a specific research protocol, the IACUC prefers that you submit one combined research/breeding protocol. 

What is the submission deadline for my IACUC protocol?

  • 2nd Wednesday of the Month = Deadline for Submission for Pre-Review

  • 3rd Wednesday of the Month = Pre-Review Comments to Investigators

  • 4th Wednesday of the Month = Deadline for Submission for Upcoming Meeting

If you want the best chance at approval, you should submit your protocol as soon as possible in order to obtain a pre-review by the IACUC Administrator and the Attending Veterinarian.

How long is protocol approval good for?

If a protocol involves the use of a USDA-covered species, approval is good for one year and the active protocol must be reviewed annually.  Regardless of species, all protocols must be renewed ever three years.  This means that a new protocol must be filled out and submitted to the IACUC every three years for all active protocols.

My grant is for five years but the protocol says that I can only get approval for three years. How do I get an extension?

The three-year limit on animal protocols is explicitly stated in the Federal regulations. Extensions cannot be given for any reason. 

Should I amend my protocol or apply for a new protocol?

Amendments to an approved protocol are appropriate if the changes do not significantly alter the main objective/scope of the protocol.  Examples of appropriate amendments includes: change in principle investigator, personnel, number or type of procedures, strain(s), number of animals, type(s) of euthanasia, etc. 

What do the UT Pain Categories translate to in terms of USDA Pain Categories?

The University of Toledo uses a pain category system of A, B, and C.  

  • Pain category A is equivalent to USDA pain category B and C
    (i.e., no pain, holding, breeding only, or just momentary pain or distress)

  • Pain category B is equivalent to USDA pain category D
    (i.e., pain that is alleviated by analgesia or euthanasia)

  • Pain category C is equivalent to USDA pain category E
    (i.e., death as an endpoint or pain without pain relief)
When does field work with animals require an animal research (IACUC) protocol?

Any study that disrupts, interferes, or otherwise disturbs the natural behavior or patterns of animal requires an IACUC protocol.  Example, you place bird feeders inside a wooded area and outside a wooded area in order to observe differences in feeding.  The placement of bird feeders disrupts the birds natural feeding behavior.  This study would require an IACUC protocol.

Does taking tissues from dead animals require an animal research (IACUC) protocol?

An IACUC protocol is required if animals are to be euthanized in order to obtain tissues or samples.  If the animals are already deceased (i.e., tissues from a slaughterhouse, euthanized as part of another IACUC protocol), then you do not need an IACUC protocol to obtain post-mortem samples.  Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) approval may be necessary, however.

Can I use drugs purchased from Sigma® in research with animals?

IACUC regulations require that pharmaceutical grade drugs must be used in animal research.  Chemical companies, such as Sigma®, do not supply pharmaceutical grade drugs.  To ensure that pharmaceutical grade drugs are being used, they must be purchased from reputable drug companies such as:


Alternatively, non-pharmaceutical grade drugs may be used in animal research with scientific justification within the protocol and approval by the IACUC.  Examples of such justification may include, but are not limited to:

  • No equivalent veterinary or human drug is available for experimental use.

  • Although an equivalent veterinary or human drug is available, dilution or change in formulation is required.

  • Although an equivalent veterinary or human drug is available for experimental use, the analytical or chemical grade reagent may be required to replicate methods from previous studies if it is the only option to produce results that are directly comparable.

  • The available human or veterinary drug is not concentrated enough to meet experimental requirements.

What do I do if I have a complaint or concern about animal care or animal welfare?

The IACUC takes all concerns regarding the care and use of animals at the institution seriously, regardless of who submits the concern.  Concerns or complaints may be submitted via email or phone and may be submitted anonymously.  

Contact IACUC Administrator, IACUC Chair, or Attending Veterinarian.

Last Updated: 6/30/19