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 increased use of opioids to treat pain has led to a dramatic increase in opioid abuse. Our previous data indicate that pain may facilitate the development of opioid abuse by increasing the magnitude and...

Research has demonstrated that stress can exacerbate AD pathology in transgenic mouse models of AD. The purpose of the present studies was to extend this work by determining whether a social stressor, isolation stress, would...

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...

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...

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...

The use of millions of mice in scientific studies worldwide emphasises the continuing need for a reduction of sample sizes, however, not at the expense of scientific validity. Split-plot designs have been suggested to enhance...

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...

Laboratory male mice are often housed individually due to aggressive behavior or experimental requirements, though social isolation can cause welfare issues. As a strategy to refine housing of male mice, we introduce the separated pair...

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...

Our prior work showed that exposing single housed rats to intermittent physical stress (IPS) in mid-adolescence (PD35-46) led to increased risk-taking/decreased anxiety behaviour in adulthood, as indexed by their greater willingness to explore the open-arms...

In semi-natural mixed-sex groups, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) organize their social life by forming a hierarchy, which is characterized by linearity and stability. Compared to the natural environment, many factors are different in contemporary breeding systems...

Little research has been carried out into how guinea pigs are cared for in the UK, and information regarding potential welfare issues is sparse. This study was designed to examine the five welfare needs, collecting...

Rearing laboratory mice in groups is important since social isolation after weaning induces brain alterations, which entails behavioral abnormalities in adulthood. Age is an important factor when grouping males of different litters due to inter-male...

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...

Although group housing of naturally social animals like rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is desirable for ethical reasons, social conflicts can significantly increase the risk for injuries as well as stress incidences and negatively affect their welfare...

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...

Early life stress compromises brain development and can contribute to the development of mental illnesses. A common animal model used to study different facets of psychiatric disorders is social isolation from early life on. In...

The aim of this study was to verify the motivation of rabbit does to social contact or seclusion. The results of two different research activities assessed in Italy (experiment 1) and Germany (experiment 2) through...

Our social relationships determine our health and well-being. In rodent models, there is now strong support for the rewarding properties of aggressive or assertive behaviors to be critical for the expression and development of adaptive...

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...

The study aimed at evaluating different management protocols of grouping does in regard to aggressive interactions and the establishment of a hierarchy under commercial conditions. Fifty-seven multiparous rabbit does of the Hycole hybrid maternal line...

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...

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

In the wild, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are social but territorial. Recent surveys suggest that over half of pet rabbits are housed singly. We aimed to compare welfare in single versus paired rabbits. We predicted singletons...

Injurious home-cage aggression (fighting) in mice affects both animal welfare and scientific validity. It is arguably the most common potentially preventable morbidity in mouse facilities. Existing literature on mouse aggression almost exclusively examines territorial aggression...

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