Environmental Health Monitoring
Cost Analysis

There is a concern that moving from a soiled bedding sentinel program to environmental health monitoring is going to be more costly. However, this may not be the case as the cost depends on many factors. A recent paper from a large academic institution (~20,000 cage census) found that environmental health monitoring (specifically exhaust dust testing) was 26% less expensive for their institution as animal ordering, shipping, and maintenance costs were not incurred with environmental health monitoring (Luchins, 2020). Therefore, even if the PCR testing associated with environmental health monitoring is more costly than serology, all costs must be tallied to analyze the whole picture. Ultimately, each institution should perform their own cost analysis based on their institution size and the manuscript can be used as a guide for that assessment.  Alternatively, institutions can use the EAD Cost Calculator from Charles River.

In addition, Luchins, et al. found that moving to exhaust dust testing reduced the amount of time the veterinary technician spent on the health monitoring program. For every veterinary technician, this amounted to ~1.5 hrs each week per 10,000 rodent cages. This extra time would be appreciated in any animal care and use program.

Below is an example cost analysis from one large institution that found that environmental health monitoring (EHM) was 26% less expensive than soiled bedding sentinels (SBS).

  • Animal Ordering: $0 for EHM vs $415,084 for SBS
  • Animal Shipping: $0 for EHM vs $3,876 for SBS
  • Animal Maintenance: $0 for EHM vs $137,642 for SBS
  • Technician Time: $1,683 for EHM vs $7190 for SBS
  • Diagnostic Testing: $450,938 for EHM vs $449,629 for SBS

Total Annual Cost = $452,621 for EHM vs $613,421 for SBS