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. 

Chronic vascular access devices are widely used in a variety of species for repeated blood sampling or substance administration. Jugular catheters are commonly used for studying addiction-related behaviors in rats. Rats with catheters have historically...

When given the opportunity, mice will choose to build nests using multiple different materials. Studies indicate that providing mice with choices which mimic the natural environment allows laboratory mice to build the best quality nests...

Chronic exposure to stressful environments can negatively impact cats' health and welfare, affecting behavioral, autonomic, endocrine, and immune function, as with cats in shelters. Low-stress handling practices likely improve shelter cat welfare, but data supporting...

The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...

As pets are considered members of the family, their health has received widespread attention. Since pets cannot talk and complain when they feel uncomfortable, monitoring vital signs becomes very helpful in disease detection, as well...

Elizabethan collars are used in companion animals primarily to prevent self-trauma and associated negative welfare states in animals. However, they have been anecdotally associated with negative impacts on animal health and welfare including distress, abraded/ulcerated...

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...

Fish models are essential for research in many biological and medical disciplines. With a typical lifespan of only 6 months, the turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) was recently established as a time- and cost-efficient model to...

Nesting material, for example shredded paper, is a common form of enrichment for laboratory mice. However, there has been limited research performed regarding its apparent safety when given to mice fitted with exteriorised devices such...

Rat telemetry is widely used for biomedical research purposes and is used routinely in early pre-clinical drug development to screen for the potential cardiovascular risk of candidate drugs. Historically, these studies have been conducted in...

We studied how space allowance affects measures of animal welfare in mice by systematically varying group size and cage type across three levels each in both males and females of two strains of mice (C57BL/6ByJ...

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...

Minimum space allowances for laboratory rats are legislated based on weight and stocking rates, with the understanding that increased housing density encourages crowding stress. However, there is little evidence for these recommendations, especially when considering...

There is considerable interest in refining laboratory rodent environments to promote animal well-being, as well as research reproducibility. Few studies have evaluated the long term impact of enhancing rodent environments with resources and additional cagemates...

The ornamental fish trade is estimated to handle up to 1.5 billion fishes. Transportation and handling of fishes imposes a range of stressors that can result in mortality at rates of up to 73%. Given...

An unfavourable yet necessary side-effect of stereotaxic surgery involves the social isolation of post-surgery rats, in order to protect their wound site or skull-mounted implant from damage. Social isolation can cause a myriad of behavioural...

Various types of restraint collars have been used for research animals, and the Elizabethan collar (E-collar) is the most commonly used. However, animals can be choked by the E-collar or they tend to remove it...

While ex situ conservation programs of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas Linnaeus, 1758), before release to natural habitats, have been conducted in several countries, the optimal‐stocking density for husbandry has not yet been reported. The...

The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) originates from the solitary living African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). However, through domestication, the domestic cat has become more social towards conspecifics and group housing of cats is common...

The separate influences of spatial density and housing quality on the behavior of captive animals are difficult to measure because the two factors are often intrinsically linked. Here, we recorded affiliative and agonistic behavior in...

Reduced space can lead to crowding in social animals. Crowding increases the risk of agonistic interactions that, in turn, may require additional physiological defensive coping mechanisms affecting health. To determine the stress induced from increased...

Biotelemetry can contribute towards reducing animal numbers and suffering in disciplines including physiology, pharmacology and behavioural research. However, the technique can also cause harm to animals, making biotelemetry a ‘refinement that needs refining’. Current welfare...

While clinical reptile medicine as a science is in its ascendancy among veterinary surgeons and other interested groups, familiarity with the often related issue of reptilian behavioural and psychological health appears less common. Behavioural change...

In the majority of countries where there are legislative requirements pertaining to the use of animals in research, figures are quoted for minimum cage sizes or space allocation to be provided per animal. These figures...

Fish have the same stress response and powers of nociception as mammals. Their behavioural responses to a variety of situations suggest a considerable ability for higher level neural processing – a level of consciousness equivalent...

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