From: USDA/APHIS Policy Manual. Policy #3, Veterinary Care (March 25, 2011):
Pre- and Post-Procedural Care. All animal activity proposals involving surgery must provide specific details of pre- through post-procedural care and relief of pain and distress. The principal investigator must involve the attending veterinarian or his/her designee in planning the type of care that may be provided. The appropriate use of drugs to relieve pain and/or distress should be specified in the animal activity proposal to avoid possible delays due to investigator concerns that a treatment regimen may interfere with the study. Furthermore, the specified drugs for relief of pain and/or distress must be readily available for use as described in the proposal. However, the attending veterinarian retains the authority to alter post-operative care if unexpected pain and/or distress occur in an animal. The IACUC must approve a significant change to the protocol if the attending veterinarian requests to alter post-operative care for the remaining animals. The withholding of pain and/or distress relieving care must be scientifically justified in writing and approved by the IACUC.
While an animal is under post-surgical care, the ownership of the animal is not to change. If the animal is taken to an off-site location, such as a farm, for post-operative care, that location should be identified as a site of the research facility or a site of another registered research facility in order for AC to conduct an inspection. To comply with adequate veterinary care requirements and in accordance with currently accepted standards of practice, an animal is not to be taken to an off-site location before it fully recovers from anesthesia unless justified in the animal activity proposal. Appropriate post-operative records should be maintained in accordance with professionally accepted veterinary procedures regardless of the location of the animal.
See the source document in html at the USDA/APHIS/Animal Care website (the listing of all Policies is at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/policy.php). The document can also be accessed at www.iacuc.org.