Oklahoma State University fined for veterinary care violations

August 3, 2016

USDA issues penalties for events that led to the deaths of 15 voles, among other violations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has fined Oklahoma State University (OSU) $12,850 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, according to agency documents. The violations, which occurred between July 2013 and August 2014, included a lack of access to water for research animals, expired materials and inadequate guidance to personnel regarding euthanasia.

The first violation led to the deaths of 12 voles, and the euthanasia of three more due to their condition, after "several enclosures, which housed approximately 34 voles, had empty or nearly empty water bottles," the USDA document states.

The second incident occurred after the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) observed expired materials, including equine dewormer, an IV catheter, blood tubes, syringes and bottles of mineral oil, as well as a fawn "showing marked hair loss on the forehead and around the eyes in the deer herd."

The third and final violation noted in the document was that the university didn't give proper guidance to principal investigators and other personnel in regards to euthanasia. "A rabbit which had been under veterinary treatment for suspected coccidiosis was found by facility personnel recumbent, paddling, and non-responsive. The facility manager did not follow the protocol for seeking appropriate veterinary care. The facility manager chose to euthanize the rabbit by gunshot," the USDA states in the report.

Gary Shutt, a spokesman for the university, told local media outlets that the university "self-reported the incidents, took immediate corrective measures that satisfied federal guidelines and procedures, and has paid the USDA fine. OSU is committed to the humane care and use of all animals. Many of the advances in the prevention and treatment of animal and human diseases are the direct result of animal research.”