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...

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...

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...

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...

The most widespread reproductive rhythm practiced in rabbit farming is based on artificial insemination (AI) performed at around 11 days pospartum. This approach results in high production rates, but requires high yearly replacement of animals...

Metabolism cages are designed to conduct absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) studies, enabling an ‘excretion balance’ scientific objective to be met. Historically, the design of dog metabolism cages has involved single housing. This type...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Saliva sampling is an easy, noninvasive method to assess short-term physiological changes, and as such is a valuable addition to behavioral studies in dogs. Different methods for collecting saliva samples in dogs have been reported...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 14 November 2017 in Weybridge, UK. The first session addressed meeting animals' needs and aiming for a 'good life', with the needs...

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...

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...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 1 November 2016 at the University of Edinburgh and was attended by 70 delegates. Presentation topics included refinements in blood sampling rodents...

Our goal was to improve dog socialization by increasing novel human interactions, while also providing non-animal care staff opportunity to interact with the dogs. Our volunteer dog socialization program was developed to explore the possibility...

The most common methods for rabbit urine collection are newborn stroking, cystocentesis, and transfer to a metabolism cage.2 None of these options allow for a significant, quality amount of urine to be collected in vivo...

Here we describe a case of pseudopregnancy in a New Zealand White rabbit as a result of pair housing with an aggressive conspecific. Clinical signs included fur pulling and nest building that developed shortly after...

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