Providing Health Care for Agricultural Animals Imported for Use in Research and Teaching




The Animal Care Program for Agricultural Animals (ACP-AG, formerly AACUP) ensures adequate veterinary care for agricultural animals assigned to research and teaching protocols at the University of Illinois. When animals used in research and teaching are born or hatched in UIUC production units, the ACP-AG Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) subsidizes the costs of health care, contingent upon completion of required preconditioning of the animals prior to shipment from the source herd.


The HMO:

  • Ensures provision of adequate veterinary care as mandated by the federal Animal Welfare Act.
  • Minimizes the risk of disease transmission between imported animals and U of I herds.
  • Oversees the health and well-being of imported agricultural animals.
  • Minimizes economic constraints that might cause people caring for animals to hesitate to call for veterinary services for an ill or injured animal.
  • Maintains fiscal responsibility in providing veterinary services through cost-sharing among the institution, the investigators, and the academic units.

The HMO pays for providing routine health maintenance such as vaccines, disease surveillance, and prophylactic treatments for UIUC resident herds or flocks. It also pays for treating injured or ill UIUC agricultural animals. The HMO does not cover costs for veterinary services or medications that are directly related to research protocol activities or procedures. For example, if an animal develops complications from a surgical procedure, the principal investigator (PI) is responsible for the full cost of treating the clinical conditions arising from that procedure.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation provides 75 percent of the funding for the HMO. The academic units that manage the agricultural animal facilities (the Department of Animal Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine) contribute the remaining 25 percent. The proportion billed to each animal unit by the academic unit depends on the proportion of the total HMO budget used by that unit.

Animals from outside sources present health risks to the resident herd and risk becoming ill upon exposure to pathogens endemic to the U of I units. However, health care costs can be minimized through appropriate communications with the source herds and pre-conditioning of the animals.

HMO funds may be used to reduce costs to the investigator when animals are imported to the UIUC from outside vendors if appropriate preconditioning processes have been followed and funding is available.


Agricultural Animals Eligible for Full Use of the HMO

Imported agricultural animals are eligible for full use of the HMO after the following steps have been taken:

  • The PI provides the ACP-AG species veterinarian with the contact information for the veterinarian(s) and/or owner(s) of the source herd well before the intended shipping date.
  • The ACP-AG species veterinarian contacts the source herd veterinarian and/or owner to determine the health status of the incoming animals and to recommend preconditioning and prophylactic measures (e.g., vaccination, deworming) prior to shipping.
  • Whenever possible, prophylaxis should be completed at the source herd so that incoming animals remain healthy in the face of stresses associated with shipping and acclimation to the new environment, are protected against pathogens present in UIUC herds, and present fewer risks of transmitting pathogens to UIUC animals.
  • The ACP-AG species veterinarian conveys the preconditioning requirements to the PI and livestock unit manager.
  • Before the animals arrive, the PI and/or manager must confirm with the vendor that prophylactic procedures were performed. Pre-shipping prophylaxis is assumed to be included in the cost of the animals. Preconditioning should reduce disease incidence and death losses, resulting in savings for the PI.
  • The ACP-AG species veterinarian recommends an arrival/post-arrival treatment and testing plan to the PI and unit manager. This may include antibiotics, electrolyte therapy, vaccinations, deworming, diagnostic testing, and/or increased health monitoring.
  • If preconditioning has been conducted as recommended by the species veterinarian, the costs of post-arrival prophylaxis and/or treatment of illnesses or injuries can be charged to the HMO. The PI will pay 25 percent of the health care costs associated with these animals into the HMO unless otherwise prearranged with the academic unit.

Agricultural Animals That Are NOT Eligible for Full Use of the HMO

Imported agricultural animals will not be eligible for full use of the HMO if the preconditioning plan has not been executed as instructed by the species veterinarian. The HMO will not cover the cost of post-arrival prophylaxis or treatment, and all health care costs incurred during a two-week acclimation period will be charged to the PI. The HMO will cover health care costs that occur after the two-week acclimation period except when associated with chronic conditions resulting from failure to precondition. The species veterinarian will be responsible for identifying such cases and the PI will be billed directly.

Protocol-Related Health Care Costs

The PI will be responsible for paying the full payment for the following:

  • Costs of providing health care for animals that die or become ill or injured as a direct result of the research protocol procedures;
  • In the case of mortality, the cost of a necropsy (when the cause of death is not obvious). In cases that are not straightforward, the species veterinarian or attending veterinarian for agricultural animals will determine whether morbidity or mortality was protocol-associated.
  • Costs of special procedures such as castration, dehorning, or estrus synchronization are necessary to make imported animals appropriate for research or teaching. To avoid these costs, these procedures should be conducted prior to shipping
  • Tests and procedures are specifically conducted as part of a research or teaching project.

Budgeting for Health Care Costs

The PI should include funds in the grant budget to cover protocol-related health care costs, contributions to the HMO, and health care costs not eligible for the HMO. The species veterinarian and the unit manager can provide guidance.

Related Standards

Approved Date

Revised Date