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A Challenging Career: Laboratory Animal Medicine Rodents


A Challenging Career: Laboratory Animal Medicine Rodents, and Monkeys, and Hares, Oh My! Name of LA vet presenting Where are the jobs? Anywhere biomedical ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A Challenging Career: Laboratory Animal Medicine Rodents

A Challenging Career Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Rodents, and Monkeys, and Hares, Oh My!
  • Name of LA vet presenting

Clinical Veterinary Medicine
  • Clinicians (small, large, mixed) may feel a call
    to a new type of career challenge.
  • Lab Animal field not understood well because vet
    curricula doesnt present much on this career
  • Never too late may enter 20yrs
  • Join me on a walk through this exciting career

Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • High demand
  • Diverse jobs
  • Good pay
  • Flexible hours
  • Specialty Boards (not required/encouraged)
  • American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • American Association for Laboratory Animal
    Practitioners (ASLAP)

at time of application
Training Route
  • Commonly enter career through a postdoctoral
    residency training program.
  • Clinical focus learn LAM administration of
    running an animal research program.
  • Research focus (NIH) may pursue an MS or PhD
  • Combination program learn lab animal medicine,
    administration and research.

Finding a Training Program
  • Visit the ASLAP web site
  • http//www.aslap.org/OnePage.php
  • Visit the ACLAM web site
  • http//www.aclam.org/education/training/location.h
  • Talk to a lab animal vet
  • Do an externshipmore info later.

Salary for LAM Trainees
  • Postdoctoral training stipends
  • 08 NIH scale starts at 36,996 for no
    experience but increase 2K for each prior year
    of health-related training experience.
  • Non-NIH residency stipends may be higher.
  • Insurance varies with program.
  • Travel money varies for C.E. meetings.
  • May receive funds for graduate degree.
  • Veterinary school loan payments may be deferred.

Where are these training programs?
Size of program varies from 1-2 trainees up to
10-12 trainees!
  • Typically 2-12 weeks
  • Usually summer programs but can be throughout the
  • Flexible experience depending on interest.
  • Room and board usually covered.
  • Typically receive a small stipend for living

  • Where?
  • academia LAM training programs
  • biotechnology pharmaceutical companies
  • National Primate Research Centers (8)
  • Visit the ACLAM web site
  • http//www.aclam.org/print/externships_list_2007-

Experience Route
  • Part-time LAM job good way to start.
  • Many options at small colleges, contract labs
  • Full-time lab animal job ready to plunge.
  • Be ready to spend a lot of time reading
    learning to become a proficient LAM vet.

CAUTION Always best to have an experienced LAM
mentor to learn from!
Experience Route (cont.)
  • Must get involved in C.E. for best learning
  • American Assoc. for Lab Anim. Sci. (AALAS)
  • American Coll. Of Lab Anim Med (ACLAM)
  • American Soc of Lab Animal Practitioners (ASLAP)
  • Local branch AALAS meetings
  • Public Responsibility in Med Research (PRIMR)
  • IACUC 101 training
  • American Veterinary Medical Assoc. (LAM session)
  • Others focus on surgery or research interests

(No Transcript)
Lab Animal Work
  • Extremely varied depending on program
  • Large University
  • Large diversity of species mice to monkeys
  • Research areas span broad base
  • Many LAM vets and techs to work with/learn from.
  • Small College
  • May be rodent only or few species
  • May be only one area of research neuroscience
  • May work alone as consulting vet

Lab Animal Work
  • Extremely varied depending on program
  • Large Pharmaceutical Company
  • Large diversity of species
  • Research areas focused on drug/device discovery
  • Many LAM vets and techs to work with/learn from.
  • Small Contract Laboratory
  • May be rodent only or few species
  • Research depends on client base toxicology, etc
  • May work alone or with one other vet

Department Structures
  • Dept of LAM or Bioresources
  • Lab animal veterinarians, technicians, animal
    care staff.
  • Provide care for animals and manage animal
    program housing, feeding, costs, equipment.
  • May assist with animal study technical support.
  • Department of Comparative Medicine
  • Similar but may have stronger focus on providing
    veterinarians technicians to participate in
    collaborative research or lead research projects.

  • Director almost always ACLAM Diplomate
  • Operations Staff oversee animal care program
    daily observations, husbandry, environmental
  • Veterinary Staff provide health care,
    preventative medicine program, surgical support.
  • Run a high quality lab animal program in support
    of good science/investigator research needs.

Comparative Medicine
  • One world, one health, one medicine.
  • A field of study concentrating on similarities
    and differences between veterinary medicine and
    human medicine.
  • Study of biology and diseases of animals to
    improve human and animal health.
  • Departments often support clinical care, daily
    husbandry operations and research collaboration.

Diverse career opportunities
  • Clinical Veterinary Medicine
  • Administration
  • Research
  • Public Health MPH
  • Teaching and Training
  • Pathology
  • Surgery
  • Regulatory oversight (IACUC)
  • Public education to thwart animal activism

Clinical Veterinary Medicine
  • Provides health care for variety of species.
  • Expertise in model development review of
    research protocols for animal welfare.
  • Provides technical support for research x-rays,
    ultrasound, biopsy sampling.
  • No 2 days are alike!

Attending veterinarian USDA term for vet with
authority for animal care and use program.
  • Director, Associate Director, Surgical Director,
    Vice President for Research
  • Manages budget and staffing issues.
  • May write grants for enhancing the program or
    equipment purchases.
  • Liaison to senior management to ensure support
    for optimal animal program.
  • Rare/no clinical work, lots of management!

  • Veterinarians may head research projects -
    veterinary training enhances research!
  • Independent or Collaborative research
  • Tremendous diversity of research
  • Infectious disease, physiology, biology,
    reproduction, surgery, cancer biology,
    pharmaceutics, neuroscience, biomedical
    instrumentation, toxicology,

Teaching Training
  • LAM vets needed to teach in veterinary schools,
    veterinary technician schools, graduate programs.
  • Veterinarians can serve as trainers for other
    veterinary residents, graduate students, research
    staff, animal care staff.
  • A well-developed training program is an essential
    part of a good lab animal program.

  • Lab animal vets may become dual boarded in
    pathology which enables them to work in a
    toxicology group to diagnose toxic effects from
  • Pathologists that understand lab animal diseases
    and species/strain differences, will add strength
    to a lab animal program.

  • Veterinarians with a love of surgery can have a
    challenging career in lab animal programs to
    develop surgical models.
  • MDs doing surgery on animals can be a problem
    (dont recognize species differences) Vets
    doing surgery on people is illegal!
  • Surgical vets add excellence, depth diversity
    to a lab animal program.

Regulatory Oversight
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
    (IACUC) is mandated by USDA regulations.
  • Must include a veterinarian w/ LAM exp.
  • Responsible for reviewing and approving all
    animal use protocols.
  • Review animal program/facilities ea. 6 months.
  • Responsible for investigating animal concerns.
  • Veterinary leadership enhances animal welfare.

Environmental Enrichment
  • Animals are also provided enrichment in the form
    of exercise, toys, music, group housing, videos
    and other food treats.

Alternatives (3Rs)
  • 3Rs Reduce, Refine, Replace
  • Reduction of animal numbers
  • Better statistics, less redundancy.
  • Refinement of animal models
  • Less invasive, less pain/distress.
  • Replacement of animal models
  • Cell culture, computer modeling, etc.

What Species Will I Work With?
  • Depends on type of program
  • 95 of research animals are rats/mice.
  • Rodents, genetically-engineered.
  • 5 other species
  • Domestic species (dogs, ferrets, pigs).
  • Non-human primates (NHPs - OW vs. NW).
  • Exotics woodchucks, bats, fish, amphibians,
    reptiles, etc.
  • May work at large NHP facility one of eight
    National Primate Research Centers.

LAM versus Private Practice
  • Clientele - pet owner vs. scientist different
  • Individual care vs. herd health depends on
    study, some rare valuable strains/species.
  • Diagnostics pursue if you have time, money,
    tools write up interesting cases.
  • Hours / Schedule usually less weekend work!
  • Tools ultrasounds, MRIs, endoscopy, varies
  • No two days are alike!

Work Hard but Have Fun!
Must Work Well with Human primates too!
Hows the job market?
  • Awesome!!! More jobs than LAM vets.
  • Future looks very bright
  • Opportunities are varied exciting!

Where are the jobs?
  • Anywhere biomedical research is performed
  • Academia both large and small programs
  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Biotech Companies
  • Hospitals
  • Government-Military-NIH
  • Public health
  • Throughout the US / world

Salaries Show me the Money!
  • Starting 43-93K (varies w/ program,
    experience, boards)
  • Avg. starting salary for academia and/or industry
    jobs in 2005 w/ 0-5 yrs exp.
  • 71K (non boarded),
  • 90K (boarded)
  • Residency Salaries
  • Start 37K no experience
  • Consulting to supplement income.
  • Info based on 2005 ACLAM/ASLAP Salary Survey

Comparative Medicine and Public Outreach
  • A lot of misinformation is spread about animal
  • Public surveys reveal that 66-76 of Americans
    support the need for animal research.
  • Public does not realize the many benefits of
    animal research to both people and animals.
  • Public does not always know that animals are
    treated humanely and with great respect.

Raise your hand if.
  • You have ever been vaccinated
  • You have ever taken a medication
  • You have ever had surgery/hospital stay
  • You have ever had thyroid disease
  • You have ever donated/received blood
  • You know someone who has diabetes
  • You know someone with cancer
  • You know someone with other diseases

Direct Benefits from Animal Research
Medical Advances
  • Examples of medical advances from animal
  • Vaccines against polio, measles, and smallpox
  • Open-heart surgery, coronary bypass, valves
  • Diabetes therapies

Iron lung used for polio victims, 1956
Animals Benefit Too!!!
Maggie Breast cancer survivor
Pookie Living with diabetes
Buddy After his heart surgery
Lucy After her kidney transplant
Highlights of this career
  • Exciting/diverse career - improving both animal
    human lives.
  • High demand, not enough vets to fill present
  • Lucrative good pay/benefits.
  • Neat tools always new challenges.
  • Great environment flexible hours.
  • Great colleagues

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