TABLE 2.4 Recommended Dry-Bulb Temperatures for Common Laboratory Animals


Dry-Bulb Temperature




Mouse, rat, hamster, gerbil, guinea pig 






Cat, dog, nonhuman primate 



Farm animals and poultry 



secondary enclosures (for example, Hughes and Reynolds 1995; Reynolds and Hughes 1994).

The guideline of 10-15 fresh air changes per hour has been used for secondary enclosures for many years and is considered an acceptable general standard. Although it is effective in many animal housing settings, the guideline does not take into account the range of possible heat loads; the species, size, and number of animals involved; the type of bedding or frequency of cage-changing; the room dimensions; or the efficiency of air distribution from the secondary to the primary enclosure. In some situations, the use of such a broad guideline might pose a problem by overventilating a secondary enclosure that contains few animals and thereby wasting energy or by underventilating a secondary enclosure that contains many animals and thereby allowing heat and odor accumulation.

To determine more accurately the ventilation required, the minimal ventilation rate (commonly in cubic feet per minute) required to accommodate heat loads generated by animals can be calculated with the assistance of mechanical engineers. The heat generated by animals can be calculated with the average-total-heat-gain formula as published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE, 1993). The formula is species-independent, so it is applicable to any heat-generating animal. Minimal required ventilation is determined by calculating the amount of cooling required (total cooling load) to control the heat load expected to be generated by the largest number of animals to be housed in the enclosure in question plus any heat expected to be produced by nonanimal sources and heat transfer through room surfaces. The total-cooling-load calculation method can also be used for an animal space that has a fixed ventilation rate to determine the maximal number of animals (based on total animal mass) that can be housed in the space.

Even though that calculation can be used to determine minimal ventilation needed to prevent heat buildup, other factors-such as odor control, allergen control, particle generation, and control of metabolically generated gases-might necessitate ventilation beyond the calculated minimum. When the calculated minimal required ventilation is substantially less than 10 air changes per hour, lower ventilation rates might be appropriate in the secondary enclosure, provided

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