Rodent Cage Sanitation Frequency

Rodent Cage Sanitation Frequency

Approved September 17, 2009     Revised October 22, 2009    (Download) 

Background: According to the Guide, “The frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfection should depend on what is needed to provide a healthy environment for an animal, in accord with its normal behavior and physiologic characteristics. Methods and frequencies of sanitation will vary with many factors…” The recommended frequency stated in the Guide for sanitation of rodent primary enclosure wire tops, food holders and filter tops is at least once every two weeks. The Guide also states that some types of cages and racking, such as individually ventilated cages, might require less frequent cleaning and disinfection. A recent study (Schondelmeyer et al., 2006) found no difference in organic contamination or bacterial colonies on rodent caging accessories at 2 weeks versus several months of use. The optimal sanitation schedule is one that is frequent enough to maintain cleanliness and prevent disease, while providing minimal disruption to the rodent microenvironment.


Policy: Standard SPF rodent housing of healthy animals in individually-ventilated cages require sanitation of the cages at least once every 14 days and sanitation of the cage wire tops, food holders and filter tops at least every four weeks. This frequency must be increased if cages or cage accessories become soiled, during disease outbreaks, or for other conditions determined appropriate by the Attending Veterinarian.

References: Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, NRC, 1996.

Schondelmeyer et al. (2006) Investigation of appropriate sanitization frequency for rodent caging accessories: evidence supporting less-frequent cleaning. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 45(6):40-3.