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. 
Background: Conventional methods for individually housing, training, and testing rodents in behavioral assays can impose constraints that may limit some kinds of experimental external validity, preempt environmental enrichment, impose heavy experimenter time burdens that limit...
Decisions about which foods to use during training and enrichment for captive animals may be based on invalid assumptions about individuals’ preferences. It is important to assess the stability of food preferences given that one-time...
Small animal models are frequently used to improve our understanding of the molecular and biological signaling pathways underlying the beneficial effects of physical activity and exercise. Unfortunately, when running wheels are employed, mice and rats...
Automated touchscreen techniques find increasing application for the assessment of cognitive function in rodents. However, hardly anything is known about the potential impact of touchscreen-based training and testing procedures on the animals under investigation. Addressing...
The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...
It is sometimes essential to have an animal in the hand to study some of their ecological and biological characteristics. However, capturing a solitary, cryptic, elusive arboreal species such as the red panda in the...
The recognition of novel objects is a common cognitive test for rodents, but current paradigms have limitations, such as low sensitivity, possible odor confounds and stress due to being performed outside of the homecage. We...
Mouse handling and restraint affect behavior, physiology, and animal welfare, yet little information is available on how various mouse restraint methods affect cardiovascular parameters. We validated the use of a smartphone-based ECG sys- tem in...
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...
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...
Despite the widely used application of standardized capture-handling protocols to collect blood and assess the physiological stress response, the actual sampling design (e.g., timing and the number of blood samples) often differs between studies, and...
The fitting of tracking devices to wild animals requires capture and handling which causes stress and can potentially cause injury, behavioural modifications that can affect animal welfare and the output of research. We evaluated post...
During the development of potential new medicines or agrochemicals, an assessment of the safety profile to humans and environmental species is conducted using a range of different in silico and in vitro techniques in conjunction...
Background: General anesthesia in rabbits is associated with higher morbidity and mortality relative to other mammalian species commonly anesthetized. Unique challenges related to endotracheal intubation (ETI) in rabbits contribute to this risk. Objective: To improve...
Research with captive wildlife in Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2) and 3 (ABSL3) facilities is becoming increasingly necessary as emerging and re-emerging diseases involving wildlife have increasing impacts on human, animal, and environmental health. Utilizing...
Accredited zoos and aquariums continually strive to ensure high levels of animal welfare for the animals under their professional care. Best management practices include conducting research to better understand factors that lead to optimal welfare...
Background: Animal models used to study pathologies requiring rehabilitation therapy, such as cardiovascular and neurologic disorders or oncologic disease, must be as refined and translationally relevant as possible. Sometimes, however, experimental procedures such as those...
The way an animal uses its habitat can serve as an indicator of habitat appropriateness for the species and individuals. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus and Tursiops aduncus) in accredited zoos and aquariums experience a range...
Both endotracheal tubes and supraglottic airway devices appear to provide adequate unassisted ventilation in anaesthetised rabbits. However, it is highly recommended that a capnograph is used with both airway devices to monitor ventilation changes, especially...
Dealing with potential stress in species that have high husbandry requirements, such as elephants, is a challenge for zoos. The objective of the present study was to determine whether positive reinforcement training (PRT) and exposure...
Comprehensively explains animal learning theories and current best practices in animal training within zoos. This accessible, up-to-date book on animal training in a zoo/aquaria context provides a unified approach to zoo animal learning, bringing together...
Captive welfare studies in odontocete species have been mostly conducted on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) while the welfare of many other species’ -including endangered species- remains poorly studied. More research is needed to find and...
Positive reinforcement training (PRT) is associated with increases in species-typical behavior and decreases in stereotypic and abnormal behavior in participating animals. Physiological changes following PRT, for example, increases in oxytocin (OXT) and/or decreases in cortisol...
The radial arm maze (RAM) is a common behavioral test to assess spatial working and reference memory in mice. However, conventional RAM experiments require a substantial degree of manual handling and animals are usually subjected...
Since 1997, APOPO, a non-profit organization based in Tanzania, has deployed African giant pouched rats (Cricetomys ansorgei) to detect landmines in post-conflict areas. More recent research suggests the pouched rats can also be trained to...

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