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. 

Environmental enrichment (EE) has been studied as a protocol that can improve brain plasticity and may protect against negative insults such as chronic stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of...

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...

Euthanasia is one of the most commonly performed procedures in biomedical research, involving tens of millions of animals in North America and Europe every year. The use of sodium pentobarbital, injected intraperitoneally, for killing rodents...

In the central nervous system, certain neurons store zinc within the synaptic vesicles of their axon terminals. This vesicular zinc can then be released in an activity-dependent fashion as an intercellular signal. The functions of...

Historically, we provided 2 compressed cotton squares for nesting and enrichment. The logistics of managing nesting material distribution, disposal, and costs are major considerations for our program, which provides husbandry to approximately 60,000 rodent cages...

Failing to provide hamsters with a method to wear down their teeth can lead to detrimental behaviour such as bar chewing, and health issues, for example, overgrown teeth and tooth loss. However, hamsters use their...

Exotic rodents are becoming increasingly popular in industry; however, there is limited empirical evidence to guide husbandry practices. African pygmy dormice (Graphiurus murinus) are typical in this respect. This research aimed to determine the effect...

Environmental enrichment (EE) has been shown to promote neural plasticity. Its capacity to induce functional repair in models which exhibit profound sensory deficits due to aberrant axonal guidance has not been well-characterized. Ten-m3 knockout (KO)...

The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the...

Group-housing is highly important for social animals. Group-housing of male mice in captivity though often leads to aggression with partially disastrous consequences for the animals as well as for the quality of experimental data. In...

This article describes the authors’ experience with the housing, social housing, husbandry, handling, and environmental enrichment of chinchillas in laboratories.

Maternal deprivation (MD) causes cognitive deficits that persist until adulthood. Thereby, the environmental enrichment (EE) is widely used to increase brain plasticity. Here, pregnant female rats were used and their offspring were submitted to neonatal...

Neuro-inflammation is responsible for cognitive impairments and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, we aimed to investigate the enriched environment (EE) effect on learning and memory impairment as well as on pro-inflammatory...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of an environmental enrichment (EE) plan on the reproductive performance of Swiss Webster mice and their female offspring used as recipients for embryo transfer. A...

Background: There has been increased concern about the suitability of CO2 as a method for euthanasia of laboratory mice and rats, including the potential discomfort, pain or distress that animals may experience prior to loss...

Individual or singly-housing laboratory rats is common in many animal facilities, but has an adverse impact on the welfare of this social species. It has previously been shown that a small proportion of individually housed...

Euthanasia in rodents is an ongoing topic of debate due to concerns regarding the aversive nature of gases with anesthetic properties such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and isoflurane. The aim of this study was to...

Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (CCH) is a common pathophysiological basis for Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular dementia in the early stages. It has been confirmed that blood-brain barrier (BBB) destruction is a key factor in CCH-related cognitive...

Environmental enrichment (EE) is one experimental manipulation that induces changes in the brain. However, it is important to distinguish between physical and social components of enrichment. To this end we established four groups of rats...

This article describes how an Animal Care Technician at Mayo Clinic Rochester campus designed and created a novel enrichment item for rats: a ‘hammock’ made of PVC tunnels hung onto the lid of standard laboratory...

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...

The aim of this review is to summarize evidence regarding rat emotional experiences during carbon dioxide (CO2) exposure. The studies reviewed show that CO2 exposure is aversive to rats, and that rats respond to CO2...

Due to limited space and resource for equipment, we came up with some easy and cost-effective ways to improve enrichment for the rat colony. Since implementing our protocol for forage feeding and out of cage...

Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) have been used in research since the 19th century to collect data due to their physiological similarities to humans. Today, animals perform a vital role in experiments and concerns for laboratory...

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