Import/Export of Rodents

Definition: Shipping to and receiving from other institutions or atypical vendors.


The most significant risk factor for the introduction of infectious agents into a rodent colony is through the admittance of new animals. Each time new rodents are introduced into an established colony it puts the resident rodent population at risk.  The inadvertent introduction of even a single infected animal has the potential to cause a disease outbreak.  Any outbreak could have a level of adverse effects including lost time, research data, and financial resources.  Eliminating a pathogen from an established colony can take months, years, and even require complete depopulation.

Most rodents at OHSU are purchased from commercial sources who have demonstrated stringent health surveillance and reporting programs.  Comparative Medicine has established a list of approved vendors.  Animals obtained from these sources can be introduced directly into animal rooms without the need for lengthy quarantine.  Please refer to the Animal Procurement link for the DCM approved vendor list.

DCM recognizes the need to obtain animals from other research institutions or atypical vendors. Due to program variations between institutions, specific diagnostic testing is required before approval may be granted for any imports or exports (please see Rodent Health Surveillance Program).  To ensure that no unwanted pathogens are introduced into the animal facilities, DCM requires that specific health data be provided before shipments can be planned.  When an import is approved and scheduled, the rodents will be placed into a special quarantine facility upon arrival. Please read below about quarantine.

Animals may not be imported or exported without prior approval from DCM.


1. "Request to Import or Export Rodents" Form Submission

A "Request to Import Rodents from Other Institutions" or "Request to Export Rodents to Other Institutions" form must be submitted to DCM at least two weeks prior to the requested ship date.  Some arrangements may take longer (especially international shipments).  Forms can be found on the Research Administration forms page and may be submitted via e-mail to , faxed to 4-4338 or delivered to BRB B110.

Please fill out each form completely. All information is necessary for the processing and completion of the import/export. If multiple shipments involving the same source are requested, a separate request is required for each one. You will receive confirmation by e-mail acknowledging the receipt of your request.  If you need assistance filling out any of these forms, please contact the shipping coordinator at or call 4-1640 or 4-8425 between 7:00am-2:00pm Monday-Friday.

2. Health Report Review

DCM will obtain an animal health report directly from the veterinary staff at the institution of origin to determine whether rodents may be imported into our facility.  Health reports must be dated within 90 days of the requested ship date, and the information must include results for all excluded pathogens (see Rodent Health Surveillance Program). Likewise, when DCM receives a request to export rodents, we will provide the receiving institution with any applicable health reports.

3. Request Approval

All information related to the proposed shipment will then be reviewed by the DCM veterinary staff.  All parties will be kept informed of the ongoing status by e-mail and notified upon approval of the request.  On occasion, a request to import or export must be denied because of health issues. In this case, DCM will contact the requestor to discuss alternatives.

4. Shipping Arrangements

Once a request is approved, DCM's shipping coordinator will work with the partner institution to arrange shipment. All shipping arrangements are handled by each institution's shipping coordinators. Absolutely no animals may be shipped without DCM involvement and approval. Unauthorized shipments are subject to immediate termination, return to the sender or other action.

5. Fees

Investigators will be responsible for all charges related to processing, shipping and quarantine.

Processing Fees

Imports: $40                                                                                                                       

Domestic Exports: $115 (shipments of 2 crates or less)

International Exports: $135 (shipments of 2 crates or less)

Exports larger than two crates will be billed based on supplies required and time expended.

Freight and other expenses

Amount will vary depending on courier service utilized, distance, and documentation required for international exports, etc.

Quarantine testing fees

Investigators will be responsible for quarantine testing expenses and all animal housing costs incurred during the quarantine period. Contact the DCM Shipping Coordinator for estimates.

Quarantine of Imported Rodents

All rodents imported from sources other than those on the DCM approved vendor list will be placed into quarantine upon arrival.  Rodents will not be accessible to research staff during this period. On rare occasions, access may be allowed when absolutely necessary but any request to remove mice from quarantine before final testing and authorization to release must be submitted to DCM along with the initial request to import animals. These requests must be scientifically justified and not simply for convenience or cost savings. Advance notification is necessary so that the request can be part of the initial veterinary health and import review. Information concerning quarantine, location, justification and other details can be reviewed and addressed before the animals are scheduled for import. Quarantine procedures will vary based on the health status of the colony of origin and the intended use of the animals after the quarantine period. .

Rodent Quarantine

  • Barrier Quarantine is designed for rodents destined for barrier housing after quarantine. Each shipment of rodents is placed in Flexible-Film Isolators and maintained under glove box, barrier and containment conditions.
  • Conventional Quarantine is used for rodents destined for conventional room housing.  Rodents are housed in individually ventilated cages with the use of biological safety cabinets.  Each imported colony is isolated from other quarantined colonies and handled under containment conditions.

On arrival, animals are treated with fenbendazole-medicated feed to prevent the potential introduction of pinworms and with Ivermectin in drinking water to prevent potential introduction of  fur mites into the OHSU facility. In most cases imported animals are sampled directly 3-5 days post-arrival for excluded agents, endo and ecto parasites. It typically takes 1-2 weeks to obtain test results which are then reviewed to determine if the imported animals can be released from quarantine. The duration of quarantine for an imported group of rodents is usually 3 weeks minimum. It can increase up to 9 weeks or more depending on quarantine testing method, health considerations or quarantine testing results.

Rederivation Services

OHSU's Transgenic Mouse Models Shared Resource can provide rederivation on-site.  Please contact them for more information about this service. All rederivations are coordinated with DCM.