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. 

Poor reproducibility is considered a serious problem in laboratory animal research, with important scientific, economic, and ethical implications. One possible source of conflicting findings in laboratory animal research are environmental differences between animal facilities combined...

High and variable pre-weaning mortality is a persistent problem in laboratory mouse breeding. Assuming a modest 15% mortality rate across mouse strains, means that approximately 1 million more pups are produced yearly in the EU...

Convergent evidence in literature shows that rapid disruption of maternal care and breastfeeding due to an early weaning protocol changes the development of several neurobehavioral patterns in rodents, including the circadian pattern of feeding. The...

Perinatal mortality is a widespread problem in laboratory mouse breeding and is often manifested by the loss of the entire litter within the first days of life. High mortality is an animal health and welfare...

Skin closure clips are widely used within the University of Edinburgh to close incision sites for various procedures in both rats and mice. In rats the skin closure clips very often come out as a...

To attempt to reduce, refine and replace, we have employed a several new approaches to rederive mouse strains. By using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) with fresh or frozen sperm we can reduce the timeframe and...

In March 2017 MRC Ares bought an ultrasound machine to assist in determining pregnancy in timed mating mice. Prior to this, visual checks or palpation would be used to confirm pregnancy. There were limitations with...

For studies requiring accurate conception-timing, reliable, efficient methods of detecting oestrus reduce time and costs, whilst improving welfare. Standard methods use vaginal cytology to stage cycle, and breeders are paired-up using approximately five proven females...

The point of the session was to have a collaborative discussion about environmental enrichment. The organisers wanted to know people’s experiences with enrichment, the barriers they have faced, if they have overcome any, and also...

Early death of mouse pups is a commonly known problem in breeding mice colonies, which is still often regarded as ‘normal’ or is even overlooked due to the counting procedures applied. As reduced breeding performance...

The practice of continually breeding lines to maintain them as a live resource either in-between studies or indefinitely “just in case” is common practice in many animal facilities. This process of “ticking over” colonies has...

The presentation I gave at IAT Congress 2019 was based on the changes and refinements the University of Dundee, Medical School Resource Unit (MSRU) has made over the past 18 months. These changes, described in...

The social environment is a major determinant of individual stress response and lifetime health. The present study shows that (1) social enrichment has a significant impact on neuroplasticity and behaviour particularly in females; and (2)...

Synchronisation of oestrous cycle is a commonly used method to manage pregnancies either for breeding or for research purposes. Based on Whitten effect, the aim of our study was to introduce a new refined method...

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...

Here we describe a case of pseudopregnancy in a New Zealand White rabbit as a result of pair housing with an aggressive conspecific. Clinical signs included fur pulling and nest building that developed shortly after...

One of 2 models required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for registration of a treatment for osteoporosis, the ovariectomized (OVX) rat model, is widely used in scientific studies investigating sex hormone-deficient bone loss...

Lactating mice in laboratory conditions are thought to be under considerable stress. Dams may manifest this stress through a decrease in milk yield and/or increase in infanticide. The purpose of this study was to examine...

An essential aspect of genetically-engineered mice (GEM) is the ability to produce live animals after the appropriate injection procedure. Animals are produced by implantation of manipulated embryos into pseudopregnant females for gestation, parturition, and growth...

The incidence of obesity is on the rise in most western countries and represents major risks to health. Obesity causes complex metabolic dysfunctions and can be associated with a large number of secondary diseases. To...

The choice of laboratory cage bedding material is often based on both practical and husbandry issues, whereas behavioral outcomes rarely appear to be considered. It has been noted that a breeding success difference appears to...

The 2011 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals contains recommendations regarding the amount of cage space for mothers with litters. Literature on cage-space use in breeding rats is sparse. We hypothesized that...

While numerous published studies have evaluated the effect of housing density on the wellbeing of laboratory mice, little is known on the effect of breeding configuration. The eighth edition of the Guide for the Care...

Environmental enrichment is a strategy to improve animal welfare, providing brain plasticity with changes at cellular, molecular and behavioral levels. In order to test the long-term effects of enriched housing and the importance of testosterone...

On Swiss rabbit breeding farms, group-housed does are usually kept singly for 12 days around parturition to avoid pseudogravidity, double litters and deleterious fighting for nests. After this isolation phase there is usually an integration...

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