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. 
Background: Conventional methods for individually housing, training, and testing rodents in behavioral assays can impose constraints that may limit some kinds of experimental external validity, preempt environmental enrichment, impose heavy experimenter time burdens that limit...
There are instances when animals are introduced and expected to live alongside unfamiliar conspecifics within zoos, laboratories and wildlife sanctuaries. These pairings of unfamiliar animals may result in stress, trauma, or even death, in addition...
Compared to peers raised in well-resourced, 'enriched' environments (‘EE’), female laboratory mice from conventional barren cages are more aggressive to their cage-mates, and less sociable with familiar non-cage-mates (especially if these too are from conventional...
The presence of a conspecific can be calming to some species of animal during stress, a phenomenon known as social buffering. For rodents, social buffering can reduce the perception of and reaction to aversive experiences...
Precise oral dosing in rodents is usually achieved by intragastric gavage. If performed incorrectly due to technical difficulties, inexperience, or animal resistance, oral gavage may have animal welfare implications such as esophageal and gastric rupture...
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...
A number of studies have provided evidence that animals, including rats, remember past episodes. However, few experiments have addressed episodic-like memory from a social perspective. In the present study, we evaluated Wistar rats in the...
The designer receptor exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADD) system is one of the most widely used chemogenetic techniques to modulate the activity of cell populations in the brains of behaving animals. DREADDs are activated...
Drug administration to experimental rodents is often invasive and stressful, thus reducing animal welfare and potentially confounding experimental results. Methods of oral drug delivery in which rodents cooperate voluntarily minimize stress, pain and morbidity. We herein...
The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...
The RSPCA/UFAW rodent and rabbit welfare group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 27 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and share...
Identification marking mice commonly involves ear-punching with or without anaesthetic, or tail-marking with ink. To identify which is most humane, we marked weanling male BALB/c mice using ear-punching (EP), ear-punching with anaesthetic EMLATM cream (EP+A)...
Much of the research done on aging, oxidative stress, anxiety, and cognitive and social behavior in rodents has focused on caloric restriction (CR). This often involves several days of single housing, which can cause numerous...
Chronic vascular access devices are widely used in a variety of species for repeated blood sampling or substance administration. Jugular catheters are commonly used for studying addiction-related behaviors in rats. Rats with catheters have historically...
Oro-gastric gavage is used to accurately administer nutritional substances or drugs to animals. However, it induces stress and has a substantial risk of mishap. Incorporation into edible gels is difficult for lipid-based preparations. We report...
When given the opportunity, mice will choose to build nests using multiple different materials. Studies indicate that providing mice with choices which mimic the natural environment allows laboratory mice to build the best quality nests...
In this case study, a housing system for rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was developed, complying with the new German Welfare Regulation, and evaluated on-farm with regard to the rabbits' behaviour during four fattening periods. The housing...
Introduction: Single housing of laboratory mice is a common practice to meet experimental needs, or to avoid intermale aggression. However, single housing is considered to negatively affect animal welfare and may compromise the scientific validity...
Chronic exposure to stressful environments can negatively impact cats' health and welfare, affecting behavioral, autonomic, endocrine, and immune function, as with cats in shelters. Low-stress handling practices likely improve shelter cat welfare, but data supporting...
The Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a solitary and naturally territorial animal, with female hamsters being more aggressive than males. This behavior makes handling difficult because they are usually housed in groups, which can lead...
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...
As pets are considered members of the family, their health has received widespread attention. Since pets cannot talk and complain when they feel uncomfortable, monitoring vital signs becomes very helpful in disease detection, as well...
Elizabethan collars are used in companion animals primarily to prevent self-trauma and associated negative welfare states in animals. However, they have been anecdotally associated with negative impacts on animal health and welfare including distress, abraded/ulcerated...
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...
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...

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