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. 

Gentle tactile stimuli have been shown to play an important role in the establishment and maintenance of affiliative social interactions. Oxytocin has also been shown to have similar actions. We investigated the effects of gentle...

Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...

Physical touch can help to decrease the effects of stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of tactile stimulation on the hormonal and behavioral responses of young adult rats submitted to...

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...

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 Named Veterinary Surgeon (NVS) at the Royal Veterinary College in London suggested providing post-operative pain relief (carprofen) to rats in raspberry flavoured jelly to avoid the use of s.c. injections. This article provides a...

Despite evidence for rat tickling’s animal welfare benefits, the technique is rarely implemented in part because of a lack of training. This study’s purpose was to determine the efficacy of online-only or online + hands-on...

Guinea pigs are often involved in animal-assisted therapy (AAT) but there is little knowledge about the effects of human contact on guinea pigs involved in AAT. The aim of this study was to investigate effects...

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...

This article investigates the barriers to implementing higher caging in animal research establishments in the UK. The use of animals in research and testing in the UK is regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act...

The AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals considers injection of barbiturates to be an acceptable method of euthanasia in rodents but states there is a potential for pain when administered intraperitoneally. This study examined...

There is a growing interest in the use of voluntarily displayed ongoing behaviours in laboratory animals to assess the pain experience. In rats, two behavioural pain scales, the Rat Grimace Scale (RGS, a facial expression...

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...

The revised fifth edition of Clinical Laboratory Animal Medicine: An Introduction is an accessible guide to basic information for conducting animal research safely and responsibly. It includes a review of the unique anatomic and physiologic...

Laboratory rat welfare is critically influenced by laboratory animal personnel through their implementation, or lack of implementation, of various enrichment techniques. One such promising technique is heterospecific play, or “rat tickling”, which mimics aspects of...

Burrowing and nest building are examples of highly motivated innate behaviours in rodents. Assessments based on these behaviours can be used as non-invasive indicators of pain, distress and suffering. In this study, we investigated the...

Environmental factors play a significant role in well-being of laboratory animals. Regulations and guidelines recommend, if not require, that stressors such as bright lighting, smells, and noises are eliminated or reduced to maximize animal well-being...

Laboratory rats may experience stress during handling which can reduce their welfare. Rat tickling, a handling technique that mimics aspects of rat rough-and-tumble play, has been found to induce positive affect based on production of...

Germ-free rats are fairly uncommon, relative to germ-free mice, and restraining these animals safely and effectively for compound administration and blood collection can be challenging. There are many commercially available varieties of restraint devices, but...

Repeated injections in rats and mice are typically done via the tail vein. For hamsters, the tail is not an option. In this paper we explore the development and refinement of IV dosing in the...

This feature describes creative ways in which technology can be used to study animals within their home cages, eliminating the need to handle, restrain, and separate them from cage mates. One example includes voluntary brain...

There are varying methods used for animal restraint and angle of injection. It remains unclear whether one method is more accurate than others. The primary objectives were to examine whether inverted restraint of rats resulted...

Rats find initial interactions with humans frightening, which can lead to negative affect, and poor welfare. A handling technique called “tickling”, which mimics rat rough-and-tumble play, can be used to reduce these negative effects. When...

Guinea pigs are included in various animal-assisted interventions (AAIs), but no research has been published to date on behavioral changes in guinea pigs interacting with humans. The goal of this study was to evaluate the...

Surgical implantation of tumour pieces has been used regularly in the passage of tumour models. This involves an invasive surgical procedure, carried out under anaesthesia, ensuring mice have adequate pain relief and peri-operative care. The...

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