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Animal Facility and Experimental Surgery Unit

The Animal Facility and Experimental Surgery Unit constitutes a Research and Teaching Support Service whose main purpose is to guarantee that all studies performed with animal models are carried out in a way that ensures the utmost quality and safeguards the welfare of the animals involved. The Unit serves all Researchers working at the Institute and other centers.

The main mission of the Animal Facility and Experimental Surgery Unit is to support all research and training activities involving the use of experimental animals for which an adequate justification is provided, assessing their opportunity based on their potential benefits.

All animals housed in the vivarium are kept in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Spanish National Legislation on the protection of animals used in experiments and for other scientific purposes (Spanish Royal Decree 53/2013 and Spanish Law 32/2007). The Unit’s housing and handling conditions abide with the Recommendations of the European Commission of June 18, 2007. Since 2007, we have an Animal Welfare Committee registered with number ES280790001164.

The Unit is responsible for the following:

  • Providing an accommodation for the housing and care of the experimental animals that ensures their welfare.
  • Performing periodic health checks to keep the animals in good conditions and, therefore, obtain reliable and reproducible results.
  • Meeting the needs of its users by providing the necessary counseling and equipment for the conduct of their research with the experimental animals.
  • Ensuring compliance with all legal and ethical standards concerning the use of animals in experiments and for other scientific purposes, including teaching.


Services provided to the i+12 groups

  • Assistance in the drafting of experimental procedures.
  • Assessment of these procedures by the Animal Welfare Ethics Committee (AWEC).
  • Drafting of reports.
  • Processing of statements issued to the relevant authorities.

General services

  • Veterinary counseling on animal welfare, the selection of the most appropriate model, and on the adequate maintenance, feeding and reproduction conditions.
  • Anesthesia, monitoring and postoperative care services for the animals.
  • Sterilization of surgical material.
  • Training of the staff involved in the animal experiments.
  • Animal housing and control.
  • Specific support tasks and assistance during procedures and surgical models: product administration, sampling, cell inoculation, blood or fluid extraction, anesthesia, analgesia, euthanasia, necropsy, sampling and postoperative care.


The Animal Facility and Experimental Surgery Unit is located in the Research Center of the Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, occupying the ground floor of the Teaching Building.

It currently boasts an overpressure area to house rodents, such as mice (Mus musculus) and rats (Rattus norvegicus), and another one to house rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). The Unit also contains ventilated racks to house immunosuppressed mice and, finally, and area to keep pigs (Sus scrofa).

The number of rooms available allow for separately housing the different species used and allocating one specifically for the quarantine of new animals and another for special manipulations or observations.

The surgical area meets the requirements of the regulations in force. It is separated from the pens, has double access locker rooms, an operating room for large animals and a microsurgery room.


The Animal Facility and Experimental Surgery Unit employs a veterinary manager with post-graduate education (Master’s Degree in Experimentation and Protection of Experimental Animals [Categories D1 and D2]) and technical support staff trained in animal handling and care.

Manager: Dr. Montserrat Grau Sanz