The Clinical Medicine Unit (CMU) is comprised of clinical veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and laboratory staff committed to providing superior clinical and preventive veterinary care for nonhuman primates (NHPs) at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC). The CMU team provides diagnosis and treatment for any medical conditions that may develop, and performs preventive care tasks including annual physical examinations, weight management, and dental care. CMU staff work closely with the Resources, Facilities and Operations Unit, Behavioral Services Unit, and the Surgical Services Unit to ensure a total animal care program for all NHP medical needs, and with the Pathology Services Unit to evaluate biopsies and other samples from ill animals.
Our technical staff are all involved in the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) certification process (attaining gradually higher certification levels as they progress in their careers). All veterinary technicians are professionally trained and certified with licensure from the State of Oregon. Our team hands out hundreds of medications daily, tailoring oral formulations according to the individual palates of our primate patients. In addition, CMU performs a multitude of standard veterinary procedures just as would be done in our companion animals (e.g. x-rays; routine diagnostics such as obtaining blood, fecal, and urinary samples; intravenous fluids; and routine dental cleanings) and helps with a wide variety of medical procedures. Technicians and veterinarians alike provide specialized care for unique populations on site, including infants, research assigned animals, and geriatric monkeys.
CMU oversees the health of all animals involved in research projects, which requires extensive communication with the scientists and research staff. Veterinarians provide veterinary and technical expertise to the scientists and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) during study protocol development, review, and modification, and continually seek methods to improve the health and welfare of the research animals under their care. CMU staff work closely with the Behavior Services Unit to ensure that the goals of NHP psychological well-being are met, and with ONPRC scientists and research staff to update procedures as new clinical standards of care emerge.
As is required both for maintaining licensure and to keep current with veterinary practice standards, technicians and veterinarians participate in regular continuing education events, including participating in presentations at conferences, symposia, and outreach events, as well as publishing journal articles, to share our knowledge with others. In addition, the veterinary staff provides significant teaching and mentoring to veterinary and technician students, research and husbandry staff, and many other entities on and off campus, to encourage our high standards and understanding of research animal care and procedures throughout the industry. An important part of the teaching and mentoring responsibilities include the training of licensed veterinarians for American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine certification, via a formal residency program in collaboration with Oregon State University and the Oregon Health &Science University Department of Comparative Medicine.