An animal rights group has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, requesting an investigation into UC Davis' veterinary protocols.
A June 5 inspection report outlined the treatment of 23 juvenile animals undergoing lengthy procedures. Normally several physiological parameters are supposed to be monitored, and according to the report, there were multiple cases where appropriate monitoring didn't occur.
"The animals in question were under general anesthesia, and therefore our veterinarians are confident that the animals were not in distress or experiencing pain," said UC Davis spokesperson Pat Bailey in a statement.
The university declined to reveal which department or researchers were involved.
But Barbara Stagno, program director of In Defense of Animals, was disturbed by the reported faulty monitoring. For example, protocol states that UC Davis should increase anesthesia when an animal's heart rate increases, yet one animal had an elevated heart rate for five hours without intervention. In another example, protocol states that an animal's body temperature should be maintained between 36 and 37 degrees Celsius (96.8 to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), but an animal was left at a body temperature of 30. 7 degrees Celsius (87.3 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than five hours.
The report also cited instances where carbon dioxide levels and oxygen saturation weren't being monitored enough or at all.
"We think this deserves more than just a citation on a report," Stagno said.
The USDA said it might investigate the matter further in a response to Stagno's complaint, and that she can expect to hear back in 30 to 60 days. Bailey said the Campus Veterinarian's office, which is part of the UC Davis Safety Services unit, is already working with the USDA on issues related to the report.
Call The Bee's Janelle Bitker, (916) 321-1027. On Twitter @JanelleBitker.