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. 

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill rodents. However, a large body of research has now established that CO2 is aversive to them. A multidisciplinary symposium organized by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill laboratory rats. Rats find CO2 aversive and aversion varies between individuals, indicating that rats vary in CO2 sensitivity. Healthy humans experience feelings of anxiety at concentrations similar...

The 2013 AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals recommends a chamber volume displacement rate of 10% to 30% per minute (v/min) when euthanizing small laboratory rodents with CO2. Group euthanasia of mice is a...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the most commonly used euthanasia agents for mice, yet it is highly aversive and nociceptive. Inert gases are a possible alternative, however there are qualitative reports of seizures resulting...

The 2013 edition of the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals recommends a 10% to 30% volume displacement rate (VDR) per minute for CO2 euthanasia of rodents. Here we sought to evaluate behavior and...

All currently accepted methods of euthanasia for laboratory mice involve some degree of stress, fear, anxiety, or pain. We evaluated the voluntary oral administration of a euthanasia drug in 99 male and 81 female mice...

Sodium pentobarbital is a commonly used agent for euthanizing laboratory rats, however its high pH can cause abdominal discomfort after intraperitoneal injection. Previous studies suggest that the addition of a local anaesthetic may alleviate this...

This study compared behavioral and physiologic changes in Sprague–Dawley and Brown Norway rats that were euthanized by using a 30% volume displacement rate of CO2 in either their home cage or an induction chamber; rats...

In the European Union (EU) millions of laboratory mice are used and killed for experimental and other scientific purposes each year. Although controversially discussed, the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) is still permitted for killing...

The odor of blood may have both aversive and attractive properties for mammals, depending on the species of the odor donor and the species perceiving the odor. To better understand the informational content of blood...

Exposure to high concentrations of CO2 is a common means of stunning and killing laboratory rodents. However, there is concern regarding the potential for animals to have aversive experiences, such as pain or breathlessness, prior...

Current recommendations for assessing animal wellbeing during euthanasia suggest that measuring neuroendocrine hormones—such as ACTH, noradrenaline, and adrenaline—is preferable to measuring corticosterone and blood glucose because of the sensitivity of neuroendocrine hormones to the acute...

Rodent euthanasia using exposure to increasing concentrations of CO2 has come under scrutiny due to concerns of potential pain during the euthanasia process. Alternatives to CO2, such as isoflurane and barbiturates, have been proposed as...

The commercial meat rabbit industry is without validated on-farm euthanasia methods, potentially resulting in inadequate euthanasia protocols. We evaluated blunt force trauma (BFT), a mechanical cervical dislocation device (MCD), and a non-penetrating captive bolt device...

The humane euthanasia of animals in research is of paramount importance. Neonatal mice frequently respond differently to euthanasia agents when compared with adults. The AVMA's Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals includes intraperitoneal injection of...

Selecting an appropriate, effective euthanasia agent is controversial. Several recent publications provide clarity on the use of CO2 in laboratory rats and mice. This review examines previous studies on CO2 euthanasia and presents the current...

Euthanasia of laboratory animals is one of the main concerns for animal welfare, especially the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) which has been described to induce aversive-like behaviours. In order to refine mass euthanasia in...

Euthanasia protocols are designed to mitigate the stress experienced by animals, and an environment that induces minimal stress helps achieve that goal. A protocol that is efficient and practical in a typical animal research facility...

Several questions have been raised in recent years about the euthanasia of laboratory rodents. Euthanasia using inhaled agents is considered to be a suitable aesthetic method for use with a large number of animals simultaneously...

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