Which mouse pups count in a breeding protocol?
Does your IACUC ask that every pup born on a mouse breeding protocol be counted and reported in protocol updates, or only weanlings? Our chairman and I attended an IACUC Advanced workshop at Cornell in September 2006, and at a session discussing breeding protocols, every institution present (except for us) counted only weanlings. Pups euthanized prior to weaning were not counted at all.
We have been trying to establish that practice for our breeding protocols since we returned from that meeting, but our Vet keeps blocking the suggestion because he says it is "misleading." Our PIs are eager to establish this practice because it is often difficult for them to report accurately the numbers of pups euthanized or found dead. To my understanding of regulations, animals need not be counted until they are living independent of the mother.
The most relevant number is the number of pups with desirable characteristics that are weaned to experimental protocols. Investigators with a poor success rate in producing pups that are suitable for their experimental protocols take the initiative to discuss the problems with the IACUC and to try to improve success.
Which pups do YOU count? Thanks!