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Unique Valve Stop

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Unique Valve Stop

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A Visual and Physical Indicator for the Presence of a Water Valve in Rodent Cages

Automatic watering valves for ventilated cage racks come in various styles, such as cage-mounted valves, fixed rack-mounted valves, and rack-mounted valves with quick disconnects. During cage-cleaning procedures, rack-mounted valves with quick disconnects are removed from racks to be cleaned and autoclaved to prevent cross-contamination. Although this process ensures a high level of sanitation, it can result in the improper placement of a cage in a rack position that does not have a watering valve. In addition, if a watering valve is not present, the animals will not have access to water, resulting in animal welfare concerns.

To prevent the inadvertent placement of cages in positions without watering valves, engineers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus have designed a “Valve Stop” device that provides a visual and physical barrier to alert staff and researchers when a cage located on a ventilated rack does not have a watering valve in place. The barrier is a 2-inch diameter red disc with white lettering. The device is composed of polyethylene terephthalate for the device stem and painted aluminum for the device plate. The stops can be easily attached to the quick disconnect fitting on the ventilated cage rack and can be sterilized by autoclaving at 132o C for 4 minutes.

These valve stop devices can be implemented as part of the cage observation and cleaning procedures in a vivarium.  By reducing the risk of inadvertently placing cages in rack positions lacking a watering valve, the devices ensure access to water. The devices could also increase the use of quick disconnect watering valves, which can reduce the potential for cross-contamination between cages.


  • Obvious physical barrier to prevent the inadvertent placement of cages in rack positions lacking a water valve and to ensure access to water
  • Cost-effective design that can be produced using an injection molding process
  • Autoclavable for sterilization, enabling re-use of the devices
  • Effective and easily implemented, as demonstrated at the Janelia Research Campus animal care facilities


  • Valve stops can be used in ventilated rodent cages with quick disconnect automatic watering valves.


Free to make for Non-Profit Research by downloading designs at Flintbox link to the right.

Rights and designs available for Commercial License.

For inquiries, please reference:

Janelia 2014-007

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Michael Perham
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