Cost Comparison of Rodent Soiled Bedding Sentinel and Exhaust Air Dust Health-Monitoring Programs

J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2020 Sep 1;59(5):508-511. doi: 10.30802/AALAS-JAALAS-20-000003. Epub 2020 Jun 26.


Rodent vivaria have traditionally used soiled bedding sentinel (SBS) health-monitoring programs to detect and exclude adventitious pathogens that could affect research results. Given the limitations of SBS, a likely reduction in animal usage, and a decrease in animal care staff labor, exhaust air dust (EAD) health monitoring has been evaluated by several groups for its efficacy in detecting pathogens when used as a complete replacement for traditional SBS health-monitoring programs. Compared with SBS, EAD has also been shown to provide increased sensitivity for the detection of multiple pathogens. After implementing EAD at our institution, we conducted an analysis to compare the annual costs of the 2 health-monitoring programs. The EAD program was found to be 26% less expensive than SBS. In addition to these cost savings, EAD decreased the amount of time spent by the staff on heath-monitoring activities. For veterinary technicians, this decrease in time was calculated as a savings of 150 h annually, almost 3 h each week. Finally, the EAD program replaced the use of live sentinel animals, decreasing the associated yearly usage from 1,676 animals to zero.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry / economics*
  • Animal Husbandry / methods*
  • Animal Welfare
  • Animals
  • Floors and Floorcoverings / economics*
  • Housing, Animal / economics*
  • Male
  • Rodentia*