Prolonged Physical Restraint


Prolonged restraint of conscious animals can be stressful and has the potential to physically harm the animal; however, prolonged restraint may be necessary in order for research objectives to be met.  In order to ensure that physical restraint of conscious animals for prolonged periods is scientifically justified and performed in a manner that is humane as possible, UConn Health’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) has implemented the following guidelines for prolonged physical restraint of animals used for experimental purposes.


  1. Physical restraint is use of manual or mechanical means to limit some or all of animals normal movement for the purpose of examination, collection of samples, drug administration, therapy or experimental manipulation.
  2. Prolonged restraint will be defined as a period of physical restraint for 30 minutes or more of a conscious animal.
  3. The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals states that prolonged restraint must meet the following conditions:
    • Restraint devices should not be considered a normal method of housing or used for convenience;
    • Alternatives to physical restraint should be considered;
    • The period of restraint must be the minimum time necessary to achieve the research goals;
    • Animals to be placed in restraint devices should be given training (with positive reinforcement) to adapt to the equipment and personnel;
    • Animals that do no adapt to the restraint methodology should be removed from the study;
    • Provision should be made for observation of the animal at appropriate intervals, as determined by the IACUC;
    • Veterinary care must be provided if lesions or illnesses associated with the restraint are observed; and
    • The purpose of the restraint device and its duration should be clearly explained to personnel involved with the study and personnel must be properly trained.
  4. Complete descriptions of the use of the restraint device needs to be detailed in the non-surgical procedures section of the protocol.  Details regarding the justification for use, the acclimation of the animals to the restraint device, and the veterinary care plan (if required) is to be detailed in the Protocol Checklist section of the protocol; the “Prolonged Restraint” checkbox must be checked and all questions completed.
  5. If there are any indications that animals are not adapting to the prolonged restraint being used, or if there are any injuries to the animals, the Attending Veterinarian (AV) must be consulted.  The AV may terminate the restraint procedures at any time if there are any signs of complications that may compromise the animals’ health.
  6. Prolonged physical restraint of non-acclimated animals can only be approved by the IACUC if it is required to achieve scientific objectives (e.g., to induce stress); this may warrant the study to be classified as pain category “E”.


Effective Dates:  June 1, 2023 through June 30, 2026

This policy has been approved by a majority vote of the IACUC Members