Animal Orders and Transfers

Initiating Imports and Exports Using Mustrac

Ordering Process
Animal Transfers (moving animals) within USC facilities
Animal Transfers to and from non–USC, non–commercial facilities (imports/exports)
Imports Exports
Rodent Quarantine Frequently Asked Questions

There are two ways to obtain animals for research. Research animals can either be ordered from approved vendors or imported from other facilities. Animals ordered from approved vendors are exempt from the 6 week quarantine period. Animals ordered from non-approved vendors or facilities must go through a health screening by a DAR veterinarian prior to importation and a 6 week quarantine and disease surveillance testing upon arrival.

Ordering Process

The Animal Resources Animal Purchase Request form must be completed and delivered or faxed to the Animal Resources Business Office at (323) 442–3349 at least seven working days before the desired delivery date. Be sure to include your account number and protocol number, which must be established before any animal order can be processed.

All forms not completely filled out will not be accepted by our office. Any form left without validation may be returned for missing information. Please keep your copy (pink) for reference when contacting the business office.

Every effort is made to accommodate your project but any special requests or orders requiring air shipment will be at an additional cost to you. Some shipments cannot be accommodated in the colder winter or warmer summer months. Please plan ahead for assured delivery in time for your project. The normal arrival dates for orders are Monday through Thursday. No animals are received on Fridays. Check with the Business Office if you have questions regarding the normal dates of shipments. The husbandry staff will notify the designated office when the animals are housed and ready for inspection. Make sure the phone number specified on the order form is the number you wish to be used for notification. Always use your order number as the reference when contacting the Animal Resources offices for information and any amendments to your order must be in writing.

Please Note: Animals are subject to availability from vendors and no guarantees are written or implied regarding quantity or quality unless specified by the vendor. Animal Resources is not liable for the condition of any order. Special consideration should be given during holidays. Unforeseen circumstances that may arise could complicate ordering lead times and costs. Every effort will be made to accommodate special requirements and may be subject to additional costs or fees. Some vendors charge a minimum order fee or shipping fee for small purchases.

Animal Transfers within USC facilities (moving animals between USC facilities, transferring animals to another PI/protocol)

To request a transfer of an animal from a) one USC Principal Investigator (PI) to another; b) one facility to another within USC; or c) one USC IACUC approved protocol to another, please do the following:

Step 1: Obtain an animal transfer A form from the DAR Business Office,(CHP 234)  and submit the completed form (signature required) to the DAR offices (CHP 234). Requests for transfers must be submitted at least 10 business days (Saturday, Sunday and holidays are not included) in advance of the transfer date/time and may be subject to a service charge for animal transfers (e.g. for technician time for an animal transfer between campuses).

Requests for transfers must be submitted at least 10 business days (Saturday, Sunday and holidays are not included) in advance of the transfer date/time and may be subject to a service charge for animal transfers (e.g. for technician time for an animal transfer between campuses).

Step 2: Allow 10 business days for the transfer to be arranged and any testing that is required to be performed.

An attending veterinarian must approve this request in order to initiate the transfer. DAR technical staff and veterinarians must verify available space and health status of animals at both facilities. DAR technical staff may contact the transfer requestor, if necessary, to collect additional information for animal transfers. Animal transfers may be denied due to conflicts of health status, quarantine procedures, or space availability.

Animal Transfers to and from non–USC, non–commercial facilities (imports/exports)

In order to transfer animals (primarily rodents, but this process may be applied to all laboratory animals) to or from a non–USC, non–commercial facility, please see below for instructions on importing and exporting animals. Animal transfers need to be submitted at least one month in advance of when the animals are to arrive. Expedited processing is not available. Animal transfers need to be submitted at least one month in advance of when the animals are to arrive. Expedited processing is not available. There is an administrative fee that is charged to all transfers submitted and processed. There is a quarantine fee and shipping fees that are also charged when applicable. The original administrative fee plus a reduced administrative charge for each additional shipment is applied for transfer requests with multiple shipments. Up to 5 shipments are allowed on one transfer request before a new request has to be submitted.

**If the transfer is canceled after phase 3 or if it has been longer than 3 weeks since the transfer was moved to phase 3 then the investigator will get charged the administrative fee for processing the transfer even if no animals were received**

Steps to follow in receiving rodents from other universities or unapproved vendors (formerly Animal Transfer B request) 

1. For all animal shipments coming into the university please login to Mustrac (www.mustrac.com) and follow the instructions in the document “Initiating a transfer using Mustrac”. The investigator or laboratory contact person will complete phase 1 and the shipping coordinator or veterinarian will take over the transfer once all the information is verified and complete the remaining steps, phases 2 through 7 for imports and phases 2-6 for exports.

Please note: Submitting a transfer request through Mustrac does not guarantee approval of importation from USC’s Veterinarian.

2. The Veterinarian review time is variable and based on the case load. You can check the status of your transfer at any time by logging in to Mustrac. You can note what phase the transfer is in also there may be additional information under the column titled “Status Notes”.

3.After reviewing the health reports the veterinarian will make one of the following recommendations:

a.) Approval to Receive animals

b.) Additional testing to ensure disease free animals

c.) Denial with recommendations.

4. If approval has been granted by USC’s Veterinarian; the shipping coordinator will send an approval letter to the sending facility. This letter will contain the following:

a.) USC’s shipping address

b.) USC Transport Carriers and Account numbers

c.) USC Open quarantine period: USC DAR only accepts animal import shipments before 11a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday of the first two weeks of every month. A delivery confirmation form including the shipping date, animal numbers, cage numbers, sex, strain, and age of the animals must be received by the fourth Monday of the month prior to when the animals will be shipped ( Ex. Delivery confirmation and information must be received by the USC shipping coordinator on the fourth Monday of January if the animals want to be shipped during the open quarantine period in February). Please plan accordingly.

USC DAR will not accept unannounced or unapproved animals. Unannounced and/or unconfirmed shipments will be denied and/or the animals will be euthanized. Investigators are not allowed to accept animal shipments to their lab even if the animals will not be housed in the animal facility and/or are only used for terminal procedures.

5. Once the animas arrive they are placed into an immediate Quarantine Period for a minimum of 6 weeks. While in quarantine the animals are tested for common rodent pathogens and routinely treated for pinworms and fur mites. As a result of this the quarantine period is approximately 7 weeks total from entry to release. The animals will be released by the veterinarian at the end of the quarantine period if they are found to be free of any pathogens of concern. The shipping coordinator will notify the USC PI when the animals will be released.

Rodent Quarantine

All mice transferred to USC are subject to a 6 week quarantine period. The quarantine room is open for a short time during the first 2 weeks of each month. The results of the diagnostic test are available roughly a week later and the animals will be released at that time if the health report is clean. As a result of this the quarantine period is approximately 7-8 weeks total from entry to release. Approval to import animals does not guarantee that the animals will be released from quarantine. Importing animals from other facilities comes with the time and financial risk that the animals may never come out of quarantine if there is new information or sufficient health concerns after the animals are imported. The veterinarians may decide that releasing the animals from quarantine would jeopardize the health and wellbeing of the general population and decide that the animals should be euthanized or the quarantine extended and additional testing required. The costs associated with extending the quarantine and performing additional testing with be charged to the investigator if that is an option and that option is chosen. DAR will not be responsible for the costs and risks associated with importing animals from unapproved vendors. PIs are responsible for all costs of the import which may include shipping costs, quarantine fees and any special services required. Please contact the DAR Business Office for a current estimate of rodent import and quarantine costs. Information on quarantine standard operating procedures, including treatments and diagnostic testing, is available for review. During quarantine, the PI and PI’s staff are not allowed into the quarantine room for any reason without permission from a DAR veterinarian. No experimental procedures can be performed during this time. Only limited breeding is not allowed in quarantine and only with veterinarian approval.

Steps to follow in receiving rodents from other universities or unapproved vendors (formerly Animal Transfer C request)

Animal transfer request need to be submitted at least one month in advance of when the animals are to arrive. Expedited processing is not available. Animal transfers need to be submitted at least one month in advance of when the animals are to arrive. Expedited processing is not available. There is an administrative fee that is charged to all transfers submitted and processed. There is a quarantine fee and shipping fees that are also charged when applicable. The original administrative fee plus a reduced administrative charge for each additional shipment is applied for transfer requests with multiple shipments. Up to 5 shipments are allowed on one transfer request before a new request has to be submitted. **If the transfer is canceled after phase 3 or if it has been longer than 3 weeks since the transfer was moved to phase 3 then the investigator will get charged the administrative fee for processing the transfer even if no animals were received**

1. For all animal shipments leaving USC please login to Mustrac and follow the instructions in the document “Initiating Imports and Exports Using Mustrac”. The investigator or laboratory contact person will complete phase 1 and the shipping coordinator or veterinarian will take over the transfer once all the information is verified and complete the remaining steps, phases 2 through 7 for imports and phases 2-6 for exports. To expedite the processing of your transfer please make sure all MTAs for international exports are approved before turning in Transfer C Form. Shipments that require animal testing for health reasons can take longer than the typical 30 days.

2. Once the transfer request has been submitted via Mustrac and has been verified by the USC shipping coordinator (phase 2 in Mustrac), each receiving institute requires the receipt of a current health report prior to accepting a shipment (phase 3). The USC shipping coordinator will begin the process of completing the health report and corresponding with the receiving institution and obtaining approval to export.

3. If the receiving institution requires additional testing as a result of the health report review the USC PI will be notified. At which time it is up to the USC PI to decide on how to proceed with the shipment.

4. Upon receipt of written approval from an attending veterinarian or shipping coordinator at the receiving institution, a DAR shipping coordinator will notify the laboratory contact and DAR husbandry staff that the shipment is approved and obtain information about how the animals will be packaged and shipped.

5. Once the lab notifies the DAR shipping coordinator and husbandry staff about how the animals will be prepared for delivery, the USC shipping coordinator will contact the approved courier and set a time and date for pick up. The USC PI and the receiving facility will be emailed with the necessary information on the shipment. Please let us know who to bill the charges for the shipment to when you turn in the Export Request Form (C). Couriers that we typically use for shipping are World Courier, AIRNET, and MNX. COD is not permitted for animal shipments.

6. For international shipments additional time is needed to accommodate each country’s unique shipping requirements and specifications. A customs invoice will be sent to the USC PI for signature and any other documents that may be required for customs. The USC Veterinarian will supply the health certificate and USDA certificate if necessary. Please plan accordingly and submit all forms and paperwork in enough time to accommodate this process.

7. Be aware, shipments may be delayed or cancelled due to weather and temperature variations from the origin of shipment to the final destination. This is followed closely by courier and airline requirements.

8. For rodent exports, the animals need to be packed and ready by 9am and placed in the shipping area (currently ZNI B104 on the HSC and RRI B4 on the UPC) on the day of shipping. If requested, arrangements can be made for DAR personnel to package and prepare your animals for shipment. If DAR personnel package and prepare the animal shipment additional charges may apply. Please check USC DAR website for charges. The normal shipping dates are Monday through Thursday. No animals are shipped on Fridays.

The above steps help to ensure that all rodents at USC are transported safely to their final destination. We will keep you and the Receiving Institute informed from the beginning to the end of the process.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How long will it take to export my animals to another Facility?

Answer: The time it takes to send animals depends on the health status of the animals that are being shipped and the time frame of the receiving facility review process takes.

2. Why does it take longer to ship to another country than within the United States?

Answer: Since security regulations are high it takes more documentation, coordination and time to pass through customs. Some exports require review by a USDA representative and that can take additional time as well.

3. Why is the health status important when we receive or send animals?

Answer: There are many pathogens that rodents carry and can affect the results of your research. Several of the diseases of concern are untreatable and difficult to eradicate once in a facility. Diagnosis and treatment for rodent disease outbreaks can hinder and complicate investigators’ research as well.

4. I filled out an animal transfer form or submitted the transfer through Mustrac 2 months ago but now I received an e-mail from the shipping coordinator that it was closed and I need a new form? Why?

Answer: The health status of animals can change over the course of two months and health reports received and reviewed when the form was first turned in can change and affect the decision to approve or deny the shipment. As a result, a new shipping request will need to be filled out in order to request new health reports.

5. I just received some animals from another facility so how long do they stay in quarantine?

Answer: The contact sentinels that were placed with your animals when they arrived are tested on the Wednesday of the 6th week and the results will be available the following week. Therefor, the total quarantine period is approximately 7 weeks total.

6. Can I skip the quarantine period and use these animals when they arrive?

Answer: No. To prevent spread of infectious rodent pathogens all animals imported into USC are required to go through the mandatory 6 week quarantine. Please plan your transfers and studies accordingly.

7. I have animals in quarantine that I want to do a project on. Can I go into quarantine and do that?

Answer: No, the only approved personnel allowed in quarantine is the husbandry and veterinary staff.

8. I have animals that I want to ship but can’t pack them so what are my options?

Answer: The DAR staff can pack your animals for you but they will charge an hourly rate for this service.

10. I need more information about shipping who can I contact?

Answer: The DAR shipping coordinator can assist you in all your questions or direct you to the staff that can answer your questions. The DAR Director’s office (442-1689) can assist you with getting in touch with the correct person.

11. Can I breed animals in quarantine?

Answer: There is only limited breeding in quarantine and only with the approval of the veterinarian. Please contact the DAR veterinarian in charge of shipments for more details.

  • Quick Links

  • Department of Animal Resources

    Center for Health Professions 234
    Health Sciences Campus
    University of Southern California
    Los Angeles, California 90033-9004

    Main Phone: (323) 442-1689
    Main Fax: (323) 442-2768
    E-mail: daradm@usc.edu