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 AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia state that, to decrease potential distress of animals, the home cage should be used for the euthanasia of mice. The current study evaluated this recommendation by comparing behavioral and physiologic...

Feelings of fear, anxiety, dyspnea and panic when inhaling carbon dioxide (CO2) are variable among humans, in part due to differences in CO2 sensitivity. Rat aversion to CO2 consistently varies between individuals; this variation in...

There is an art and science to performing mouse anesthesia, which is a significant component to animal research. Frequently, anesthesia is one vital step of many over the course of a research project spanning weeks...

Oxygen supplementation is rarely considered when anesthetizing laboratory mice, despite reports that mice become profoundly hypoxic under anesthesia. Little is known about the effects of hypoxia on anesthetic performance. This article focuses on the effects...

Laboratory mice are commonly euthanised with carbon dioxide (CO2); however, there is ample evidence that this gas is aversive. Previous work suggests that sedation achieved via injection with benzodiazepines prior to CO2 administration could reduce...

Evidence indicates that carbon dioxide (CO2) induces negative affective states (including anxiety, fear and distress) in laboratory rodents, but many countries still accept it for euthanasia. Alternative methods (e.g. inhalant anaesthetic) may represent a refinement...

Gastrointestinal stasis is a common perianaesthetic complication in rabbits. The objective of this study was to assess the impact on gastrointestinal transit time of ketamine–midazolam (KMZ) versus ketamine–medetomidine (later antagonised by atipamezole) (KMT-A) in rabbits...

In this study, the effect of four anaesthetic protocols that included the combination of xylazine (X) and ketamine (K) with acepromazine (A) and opioids (methadone (Me), morphine (Mo) or tramadol (T)) was evaluated in laboratory...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Viral-transduced gene expression is the current standard for cell-type-specific labeling and cell tacking in experimental neuroscience. To achieve widespread gene expression, a viral delivery method to neonatal rodents was introduced more than two decades ago...

The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Intraperitoneal (IP) injection is a common route of anesthetic administration in mice. Ketamine-xylazine (KX) anesthesia is one of the most widely used IP protocols, but has limitations. Etomidate is an alternative to ketamine that has...

Due to their unpredictability and variable effects, injectable anesthetic regimens in laboratory rodent species warrant refinement. In our study we sought to evaluate alfaxalone, which has gained recent popularity in veterinary medicine, alone and in...

In this study, adult intact male and female (n = 10) naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) were anesthetized by using a combination of ketamine (20 mg/kg IM), and alfaxalone (4.0 mg/kg IM). Induction and recovery...

Accurate pain assessment methods are necessary to ensure animal welfare and reliable data collection in animal research. The Rat Grimace Scale (RGS), a facial expression pain scale, allows effective identification of pain. However, the potential...

Background: Investigating brain function requires tools and techniques to visualise, modify and manipulate neuronal tissue. One powerful and popular method is intracerebral injection of customised viruses, allowing expression of exogenous transgenes. This technique is a...

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