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. 

Assessing the well-being of an animal is hindered by the limitations of efficient communication between humans and animals. Instead of direct communication, a variety of parameters are employed to evaluate the well-being of an animal...

The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate whether behavioral or locomotor tests (Open Field (OF), rotarod (RR), and CatWalk (CW)) can help assess the severity of laparotomy in rats. The new EU Directive...

Ensuring that laboratory rodent pain is well managed underpins the ethical acceptability of working with these animals in research. Appropriate treatment of pain in laboratory rodents requires accurate assessments of the presence or absence of...

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...

Comparative severity assessment of animal models and experimental interventions is of utmost relevance for harm-benefit analysis during ethical evaluation, an animal welfare-based model prioritization as well as the validation of refinement measures. Unfortunately, there is...

Intraperitoneal (IP) injection of sodium pentobarbital (PB) is an accepted method of euthanasia for mice. However, this method has important drawbacks, including the potential for pain or misinjection. The objective of this prospective, randomized, blinded...

Animal models in psychiatric research are indispensable for insights into mechanisms of behaviour and mental disorders. Distress is an important aetiological factor in psychiatric diseases, especially depression, and is often used to mimic the human...

Behavioural indicators of affective state, including burrowing, clinical scores and the Mouse Grimace Score have not yet been validated in mouse models of chronic gastrointestinal disease. Additionally, a comparison of these methods has not been...

According to European Union directive 2010/63/EU a severity classification of experimental procedures performed on laboratory animals is mandatory. This includes a prospective evaluation of all interventions performed within the experiment, as well as an assessment...

To maintain and foster the welfare of laboratory mice, tools that reliably measure the current state of the animals are applied in clinical assessment. One of these is the Mouse Grimace Scale (MGS), a coding...

Carbon dioxide and isoflurane are widely used for killing rats, yet may not truly achieve “euthanasia”, because they elicit aversion. The inhalant anesthetic desflurane is faster acting than isoflurane, representing a potential refinement. Using an...

Driven by the longer lifespans of humans, particularly in Westernised societies, and the need to know more about ‘healthy ageing’, ageing mice are being used increasingly in scientific research. Many departments and institutes involved with...

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...

Severity assessment for experiments conducted with laboratory animals is still based mainly on subjective evaluations; evidence-based methods are scarce. Objective measures, amongst which determination of the concentrations of stress hormones, can be used to aid...

The Mouse Grimace Scale (MGS) is an established method for estimating pain in mice during animal studies. Recently, an improved and standardized MGS set-up and an algorithm for automated and blinded output of images for...

Objectively recognizing postoperative pain in mice is challenging, making it difficult to determine an appropriate postoperative analgesic regimen. Adult male mice produce ultrasonic vocalizations after exposure to adult female urine (FiUSV). To determine if FiUSV...

In many animal experiments scientists and local authorities define a body-weight reduction of 20% or more as severe suffering and thereby as a potential parameter for humane endpoint decisions. In this study, we evaluated distinct...

Rabbits are the third species in terms of number of animals reared for meat production in the world. However, in comparison to other species, very few studies have focused on their welfare. The aim of...

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...

Identifying early indicators of distress in mice is difficult using either periodic monitoring or current technology. Likewise, poor pain identification remains a barrier to providing appropriate pain relief in many mouse models. The Time to...

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...

This poster offers two visual health monitoring scoring sheets for mice. The first consists of a red-amber-green coding system to determine the frequency of daily health checks and when a humane endpoint is reached. The...

The Mouse Grimace Scale (MGS) has been widely used for the noninvasive examination of distress/pain in mice. The aim of this study was to further improve its performance to generate repeatable, faster, blinded and reliable...

In order to foster animal welfare as well as high quality of research, many countries regulate by law that the severity of animal experiments must be evaluated and considered when performing biomedical research. It is...

Nest building and burrowing are highly motivated natural behaviors in rodents, and changes in these behaviors can serve as welfare assessment tools. In this study, we investigated: 1) the limits of agreement between 2 observers...

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