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. 

Reading books to shelter animals combining auditory enrichment with human presence is increasingly used although its effects on animal welfare have not yet been investigated. This study compared the behaviour of single-housed shelter dogs and...

Domestic dogs experience a sensitive period for learning during early life and conditions during this time can have important consequences in the adult. We investigated the effects of kennel environment during early life, comparing the...

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...

Domestic animals are sensitive to human cues that facilitate inter-specific communication, including cues to emotional state. The eyes are important in signalling emotions, with the act of narrowing the eyes appearing to be associated with...

Gentling of cats in a shelter has been shown to increase contented behaviors and reduce anxiety, but it is not clear how gentling should be provided. Two experiments were conducted in cats confined to cages...

Family dogs (Canis familiaris) seek human contact from an early age, can discriminate and prefer their caregivers over other humans. To investigate if being kept as a family animal is sufficient to induce similar early...

There is a long history of laboratory studies of the physiological and behavioral effects of stress, its reduction, and the later psychological and behavioral consequences of unmitigated stress responses. Many of the stressors employed in...

Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...

Recent studies demonstrated that cats form social bonds with both conspecifics and humans. One of the key factors regulating social interactions is the transfer of emotions between the individuals. The present study aimed at investigating...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

Temperament can be defined as interindividual differences in behavior that are stable over time and in different contexts. The terms ‘personality’, ‘coping styles’, and ‘behavioral syndromes’ have also been used to describe these interindividual differences...

Although the domestic cat (Felis catus) is probably the most widespread companion animal in the world and interacts in a complex and multifaceted way with humans, the human–cat relationship and reciprocal communication have received far...

Physiotherapy can be used to treat an animal following surgery, to help correcting abnormal gait and for treating tendon, bone or ligament damage. […] Of course, an animal can’t just be given a set of...

For many dogs, receiving veterinary care can be a stressful, fearful or traumatic experience. However, understanding and improving the veterinary experience for dogs is challenging due to the dynamic nature of the veterinary visit, the...

Human body odors contain chemosignals that make species-specific communication possible. Interspecies communication studies were conducted on dogs and horses subjected to human chemosignals produced in happiness and fear emotional states. Dogs showed behaviors consistent with...

Some otherwise non-aggressive dogs may display fear-induced aggression under stressful conditions. Admittance to an animal shelter is a stressful experience for dogs, and aggression is often used as a criterion by shelters for precluding opportunities...

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...

Oxytocin is increasingly recognized to have a role in human-dog bonding and interactions and a positive influence on various health outcomes including cardiovascular function and stress reactivity. This review summarizes current research investigating human-dog interactions...

In comparison to non-human animals, humans are highly flexible in cooperative tasks, which may be a result of their ability to understand a partner’s role in such interactions. Here, we tested if wolves and dogs...

This study reveals, for the first time, an interspecific synchronization in long-term stress levels. Previously, acute stress has been shown to be highly contagious both among humans and between individuals of other species. Here, long-term...

The aim of this study was to evaluate intraoperative and postoperative efficacy and cardiovascular effects of levobupivacaine compared with bupivacaine, administered intraperitoneally in dogs undergoing ovariohysterectomy surgery. Thirty female dogs were divided into three groups...

Over-activity, or excessive locomotion and barking in the kennel, may be unattractive to adopters and an indicator of poor welfare of kenneled dogs. The study assessed the efficacy of two common enrichment strategies, providing calm...

It is well established that human interaction has positive effects on shelter dogs. This work set out to answer the question: “Does one 15-min petting session make a difference for shelter dogs?” Fifty-five dogs were...

Human physical contact is known to be effective in decreasing dogs' level of stress, assessed through endocrine, physiological, and behavioral parameters. Gentle touching has been found to be beneficial for dogs while experiencing or after...

Rabbits are known to be finicky about food and will reject it based upon several factors: odor, texture, form, or method of presentation. It can be an even greater challenge to get rabbits to eat...

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