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. 

Captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are well-documented as being prone to behavioural disorders and, as a result, their welfare is the cause of increasing concern. There is therefore a need for an evidence-based approach to...

The aim of this study was to develop and describe a protocol for assessing welfare in camels reared in intensive or semi-intensive systems. A literature review was conducted searching for scientific papers on assessment of...

Attention bias is a new approach to assessing animal affect that has shown promising results in several animal species. It describes a tendency to preferentially attend to emotional compared to neutral cues and is influenced...

Steroid-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head (SONFH) is a condition documented in humans and animals exposed to chronic steroid administration. The rabbit has become a preferred animal model for investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of...

This study aimed to apply a protocol for assessing camel welfare, to develop a scoring system for the welfare measures, to produce overall assessment indices, and to classify the animal units (i.e., pens) according to...

The combination of bedding substrate and nesting material within the microenvironment of mice is an important consideration for animal care programs in regard to optimizing animal wellbeing. We used 3 general or breeding mouse colonies...

Although nesting material is beneficial to the welfare of laboratory mice, provision of appropriate amounts may impair visualization of the mice. In anticipation of our academic research institution transitioning to providing 6 grams of nesting...

A primary goal in preclinical animal research is respectful and responsible care aimed toward minimizing stress and discomfort while enhancing collection of accurate and reproducible scientific data. Researchers use hands-on clinical observations and measurements as...

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...

Some captive breeding colonies of rhesus macaques live in large outdoor multimale, multifemale social groups. These groups are composed of several matrilineal families, governed by a clear female dominance hierarchy. Aggression within the same or...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Traditional laboratory caging for nonhuman primates is typically configured in a 2-tiered manner, with caging arranged in 2 horizontal rows stacked vertically. Studies of the effects of cage row have yielded inconsistent results with respect...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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...

A hallmark symptom of rheumatoid arthritis in humans is painful swollen joints. Pain can manifest before any inflammation is noticeable as well as persist long after inflammation has resolved. In rodent models of arthritis, ankle...

Despite the importance for both animal welfare and scientific integrity of effective welfare assessment in non-human primates, there has been little or no consensus as what should be assessed. A Delphi consultation process was undertaken...

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