Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every three months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

Links to the full text for publications that appear in open access journals or are published on the AWI website are provided under the abstract.

Tips for using the database:

  • This landing page displays all of the publications in the database.
  • Use the drop-down menus to filter these publications by Animal Type and/or Topic.
  • Clicking on a parent category (e.g., Rodent) will include publications relating to all the items in that category (e.g., Chinchilla, Gerbil, Guinea pig, etc.).
  • You may also add a keyword to further narrow your search.
  • Please note that at this time, only publications dated 2010 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Animal Type and Topic. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 

During social interactions, acoustic parameters of tetrapods’ vocalisations reflect the emotional state of the caller. Higher levels of spectral noise and the occurrence of irregularities (non-linear phenomena NLP) might be negative arousal indicators in alarm...

Understanding the behavioral welfare of dogs in commercial breeding kennels (CBKs) is important for improving breeders’ management practices as well as dog welfare. In the current study, breeding dogs from CBKs were exposed to novel...

Social animals tend to possess an elaborate vocal communication repertoire, and rats are no exception. Rats utilize ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) to communicate information about a wide range of socially relevant cues, as well as information...

The overpopulation of shelters and the increase of homeless dogs have become serious problems in many countries. One contributor to the number of both sheltered and homeless dogs is the abandonment and relinquishment of pet...

In dogs, the social and spatial restriction associated with living in a kennel environment could lead to chronic stress and the development of abnormal behaviors (“kennel-dog syndrome”). However, little is known about how kenneled dogs...

This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...

Unwanted dogs are an international problem, and rehoming organisations are tasked with finding many of them appropriate homes. Whilst the processes involved in assessing dogs' suitability for rehoming have received considerable academic attention, the policies...

Disposal of dogs retired from commercial breeding facilities presents a scientific and ethical problem. This pilot study aimed to develop criteria for identifying commercial breeding (CB) dogs likely to be at risk for problems during...

There is no clear relationship between crying and depression based on human neuropsychiatric observations. This situation originates from lack of suitable animal models of human crying. In the present article, an attempt will be made...

Pets have numerous, effective methods to communicate with their human hosts. Perhaps most conspicuous of these are distress vocalizations: in cats, the ‘miaow’ and in dogs, the ‘whine’ or ‘whimper’. We compared a sample of...

This article describes the rehoming of 10 laboratory female rabbits now living as a group in a private shelter.

The aim of this study was to assess hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that were subjected to relocation and surgery to evaluate HPA-axis activity; in addition, we used this marker...

When laboratory dogs are rehomed into private households, they experience an extreme change in their life situation. They leave their familiar, limited environment in the research facility and encounter a multitude of animate and inanimate...

Rat ultrasonic vocalizations have been suggested to be either a byproduct of physical movement or, in the case of 50-kHz calls, a means to communicate positive affect. Yet there are up to 14 distinct types...

To investigate how long relocation modified hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits, 19 rabbits were subjected to a change in their breeding facility at the beginning of the trial and then were kept...

The transportation of animals from supplier to experimental facility is one of the biggest stressors to animals in research. Transportation unavoidably causes stress and when the animals arrive at the testing facility they require a...

Studies of animal welfare in laboratory animals have historically relied on the measurement of negative indicators rather than the assessment of positive indicators of welfare. Practical methods of welfare assessment are required to allow refinement...

Guinea pig pups produce typical distress whistles when isolated. Whistles’ frequency is decreased or abolished when they contact with the mother and, to a lesser degree, a sibling or even an unfamiliar female, is regained...

During playful interactions, juvenile rats emit many 50-kHz ultrasonic vocalizations, which are associated with a positive affective state. In addition, these calls may also serve a communicative role – as play signals that promote playful...

When playing, rats emit 50-kHz calls which may function as play signals. A previous study using devocalized rats provides support for the hypothesis that 50-kHz function to promote and maintain playful interactions (Kisko et al...

During playful interactions, rats emit increased levels of 50-kHz vocalizations. It is possible that these vocalizations are used as play signals that promote and maintain playful contact. The study investigated this possibility. It was predicted...

Adoption of research dogs to private homes is increasingly common; however, the transition can be stressful. Our teaching dog program prepares former laboratory dogs for adoption by introducing challenges experienced in a home setting. All...

Keeping shelter dogs in groups provides them with a more socially and physically enriched environment, but eventually it may cause them stress. Understanding dogs' communication could help shelter staff recognize and prevent undesirable communicative patterns...

The overall benefits of an enrichment and exercise program for research canines has been well documented and is a required element, by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), of any institution’s Animal Care and...

The ideal animal model would contribute no confounding variables in experimental science. Variables affect experimental design resulting in increased animal use or repeated studies. We demonstrated a simple refinement which may reduce the number of...

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