Department of Comparative Medicine

Monitoring Methods

Exhaust plenum dust sampling and PCR

Dust samples collected from the exhaust plenums of individually vented cage (IVC) racks have been used to monitor rodents at the UW since 2016.  If an excluded agent is present on a rack, PCR analysis can detect its nucleic acid in the dust sample. Samples are submitted periodically throughout the year to a commercial diagnostic laboratory for PCR testing.

Direct Sampling

RHMP may perform antemortem or postmortem sample collection in order to respond to outbreaks, facilitate export of rodents to other institutions, evaluate the health status of rodents imported to the UW from other institutions, and conduct routine health monitoring.


If an excluded agent (see below) is detected the entire room may be placed under quarantine. Investigators will be notified by RHMP.  Each outbreak is treated on a case-by-case basis and the length of quarantine and eradication effort will vary.

Materials of Biological Origin

Materials of biological origin (e.g., serum, cell lines, transplantable tumors, tissues such as bone marrow) may harbor one or more of the infectious agents excluded from SPF rodent facilities and must be tested before entering the facility. Please consult with RHMP ( regarding the proper PCR profile to select, and interpretation of test results.

Excluded Agents

Please click here for a list of infectious agents excluded from UW laboratory rodent colonies.

For more information on monitoring methods please contact