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. 
The increasing potential for radiation exposure from nuclear accidents or terrorist activities has intensified the need to develop pharmacologic countermeasures against injury from total body irradiation (TBI). Many initial experiments to develop and test these...
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...
Cattle are subjected to routine procedures that require restraint and close contact to humans, which are both potentially aversive to the animal. Positive reinforcement training techniques may affect how animals perceive and respond to these...
Housing systems and environmental features can influence beef cattle welfare. To date, little information has been synthesized on this topic. The aim of this scoping review was to examine the relationship between housing and welfare...
The Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS) at the Royal Veterinary College in London suggested providing post-operative pain relief (carprofen) to rats in raspberry flavoured jelly to avoid the use of s.c. injections. This article provides a...
This poster describes how the Animal Technologists at Envigo adapted their current practices and procedures for a new species at their laboratory: the cotton rat. The paper describes cotton rat biology and behaviour; housing; environmental...
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...
This study aimed at assessing whether a reduction in stocking density (SKD) would mitigate lameness and positively affect the performance and health of Charolais bulls in an Italian commercial farm. Bulls were distributed in groups...
Limited space in dairy cattle farming is associated with frequent encounters between cows, often resulting in agonistic interactions and injuries, especially in horned cows. Previous studies with dairy cows investigated space allowances in the waiting...
The AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals considers injection of barbiturates to be an acceptable method of euthanasia in rodents but states there is a potential for pain when administered intraperitoneally. This study examined...
Burrowing and nest building are examples of highly motivated innate behaviours in rodents. Assessments based on these behaviours can be used as non-invasive indicators of pain, distress and suffering. In this study, we investigated the...
Surgical implantation of tumour pieces has been used regularly in the passage of tumour models. This involves an invasive surgical procedure, carried out under anaesthesia, ensuring mice have adequate pain relief and peri-operative care. The...
There are varying methods used for animal restraint and angle of injection. It remains unclear whether one method is more accurate than others. The primary objectives were to examine whether inverted restraint of rats resulted...
Repeated injections in rats and mice are typically done via the tail vein. For hamsters, the tail is not an option. In this paper we explore the development and refinement of IV dosing in the...
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...
Farmed fish are typically reared at densities much higher than those observed in the wild, but to what extent crowding results in abnormal behaviours that can impact welfare and stress coping styles is subject to...
High stall stocking rates have been shown to alter behavior of cows in parlor-milked systems; however, no studies have examined stocking rates for cows milked with automatic milking systems (AMSs). Therefore, we examined the influence...
Germ-free rats are fairly uncommon, relative to germ-free mice, and restraining these animals safely and effectively for compound administration and blood collection can be challenging. There are many commercially available varieties of restraint devices, but...
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...
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women, and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women in North America. The use of laboratory mice in research is an...
Studies typically involve groups of animals that are injected with placebo compounds. As there are studies that demonstrate that restraint and injection can affect behavior and corticosteroid levels in rodents, the basis of such placebo...
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...
Due to potential adverse effects on animal wellbeing, the use of nonpharmaceutical-grade substances in animal research must be scientifically justified in cases where a pharmaceutical-grade version of the substance exists. This requirement applies to all...
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...

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