Contact Information


  • Division Secretary


    General Questions
    Phone: 404.727.7423
    Fax: 404.727.3212
    Email Us

  • Customer Service


    Billing
    Phone: 404.727.8395
    Fax: 404.727.8762
    Email Us

  • Animal Orders & Transfers
    Phone: 404.727.7426
    Fax: 404.727.8762
    Email Us

    Smartkeys Add/Modify
    Phone: 404.727.7426
    Phone: 404.727.3210
    Fax: 404.727.8762
    Email Us

  • Facility Access


    Normal Business Hours

    (Monday thru Friday, 8AM - 5PM)


    Phone: 404.727.8991

    After Normal Business Hours

    (Weekends, Holidays & After Hours: 5PM - 8AM)


    Phone: 404.727.6111

  • Animal Care & Husbandry


    Normal Business Hours

    (Monday thru Friday, 8AM - 5PM)


    Phone: 404.727.2955

  • Veterinary Medical Needs


    Normal Business Hours

    (Monday thru Friday, 8AM - 5PM)


    Phone: 404.727.3248

  • After Normal Business Hours

    (Weekends, Holidays & After Hours: 5PM - 8AM)


    Phone: 404.727.6111


Postal Mailing Address


  • 615 Michael Street
    Whitehead Biomedical Research Bldg
    Suite G-02
    Atlanta, GA 30322
    MAILSTOP: 1941-001-1AA

  • Business Hours

  • Monday - Friday
    8:00AM - 5:00PM





Implications of Expired Cage Cards




Cage cards are an important source of information specific to each animal enclosure including identifying the responsible investigator, genotype, source, and signalment information for the animals, the smartkey number supporting the work, and regulatory data. The use of cage cards nationwide in animal research facilities represents a best practice as an aide to animal identification, a means of animal tracking and census tabulation, and as a link to conditions of IACUC approval including pertinent dates, allowable animal use, and all other protocol-related specifics.



Cages cards enter a state of expiration by definition when a protocol is not renewed by its 3-year anniversary or when it is renewed and new cage cards, with the new protocol number, are not used to replace the previous version rendered obsolete by renewal.



  1. When a protocol is not renewed at its 3 year anniversary, the IACUC is not permitted to administratively extend the approval period, continuation of animal research activities is prohibited, and the animals are transferred and reside on the DAR animal holding protocol until the situation is resolved. Although the associated department and, under special conditions, the grant may continue to be billed for animal-related charges , the full census affiliated with the expired protocol and their disposition in effect become the property of the DAR Director until the situation is addressed and the protocol is renewed.
  2. When a protocol is renewed, but the cage cards are not updated with new replacements, a situation exists where there is the illusion of ongoing unapproved activity and, due to the presence of an obsolete IACUC approval number, ready access to accurate and contemporary protocol-related information by the research team, veterinary staff, IACUC, and external funding and regulatory authorities is impaired. Considering this situation from a research perspective, it is easy to arrive at the conclusion that replacing animal cage cards at the time of protocol renewal should be a DAR matter and not seen as very relevant to the conduct of high quality science. Beyond the link to IACUC-related information, cage cards, however, are often used by research personnel to maintain experimental records and, at the time of protocol renewal and cage card transition, research personnel who are commonly in the animal research facilities are the best-suited to safeguard and properly steward these often important "research documents". Considering the case of mice alone and with hundreds of laboratories and different protocols; tens of thousands of individual mouse cages with cage cards; several hundred cages on census transitioning from old to renewed protocol status per month; innumerable grants and accounts; and countless persons possibly noting things on cage cards; the potential for the DAR to lose, destroy, ruin, obscure, misinterpret, or besmirch cage cards and important notations regarding signalment, pedigree, phenotype, experimental interventions, smart key number, and the like for any and all of those situations is enormous. With our desire to enable research to flourish because of the DAR and not despite us, the DAR cannot in good conscience be placed in a position to confound experiments in this way. Additionally, the animal per diem rates are not calculated to include and recoup costs borne by the DAR in replacing cage cards at the time of de novo (3-year) protocol renewal for investigators. Taking on this burden, beyond the likelihood of mistakes, will put upward pressure on the per diems. Lastly, animal research is a highly regulated enterprise with the regulations and the expense-generating activities imposed upon us most prominently by the NIH and its Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare. This includes correlating cage inhabitants accurately with the contemporary protocol number (via the cage card) so that the IACUC can be assured that animal usage is tracked and does not exceed the number approved. As such, the IACUC has directed the DAR that cage card replacement in concert with 3-year de novo protocol renewals is a lab/PI responsibility and not one of the DAR. Where this laboratory responsibility is neglected and upon instruction by the IACUC, the DAR will replace obsolete cage cards with contemporary ones, recharge for this service at the unscheduled technical assistance rate as listed in the current fee schedule, and with the proviso that the DAR will not be responsible for any loss, destruction or disfiguration of the obsolete, replaced cards.


The ideal solution to eliminate condition #2 (i.e. a protocol is renewed on time and is in a state of approval, but cage cards are not updated) would be to use immortal IACUC numbers. Unfortunately, the current Web P&R software version does not allow for this sensible approach. Be assured that the IACUC administration and faculty leadership of the IACUC are aware of this need and will address it when the technology becomes available. Until then and as always, your DAR needs and appreciates your patience, support and cooperation.



Michael J. Huerkamp, DVM, DACLAM
June 14, 2011