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. 

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...

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...

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...

Reactions to dying and dead conspecifics have been observed in many non-human animals. Elephants, particularly African elephants, are thought to have an awareness of the death of their conspecifics, as they show compassionate behaviour towards...

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...

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...

Since its recent reformulation, alfaxalone has gained popularity as an injectable veterinary anesthetic, including promising studies demonstrating the use of alfaxalone-xylazine for anesthesia in mice. Here we sought to expand these studies by testing additional...

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

In the past, there was a strong focus on avoiding or reducing negative animal welfare in animal experimentation. Recently, the importance of promoting positive animal welfare in laboratory animals has been highlighted. To ensure and...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Working Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 25 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and...

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...

Rabbits are prone to complications from both anaesthesia and anxiety. Given that anxiety can often impact quality of anaesthesia, we developed a novel cage-side anxiety assessment, and sought to determine whether it correlated to pre-...

In accordance with the ‘refinement’ component of the 3Rs, the primary aim of this study was to investigate and compare ketamine + medetomidine (KM) and s-ketamine + medetomidine (SKM) anaesthetic protocols in C57BL/6J mice (both sexes). We sought to...

Calvarial bone surgery on rabbits is frequently performed. This report aims to document a simple and practical anaesthetic and perioperative management for this procedure. Fourteen male New Zealand white rabbits were included in the study...

To best promote animal wellbeing and the efficacy of biomedical models, scientific, husbandry, and veterinary professionals must consider the mechanisms, influences, and outcomes of rodent thermoregulation in contemporary research environments. Over the last 2 decades...

Within the scope of the 3Rs of Russel and Burch, the number of laboratory animals can be reduced by repeated use of an animal. This strategy only becomes relevant, if the total amount of pain...

A host of scholarly work has characterized the positive effects of exercise and environmental enrichment on behaviour and cognition in animal studies. The purpose of this study was to investigate the uptake and longitudinal impact...

Cephalopods are the sole invertebrates included in the list of regulated species following the Directive 2010/63/EU. According to the Directive, achieving competence through adequate training is a requisite for people having a role in the...

At research institutions, isoflurane delivered by precision vaporizer to a face mask is the standard for rodent surgery and for procedures with durations that exceed a few minutes. Pure oxygen is often used as the...

The α2 adrenergic agonist xylazine produces a sedative effect and is typically combined with ketamine and used for anesthesia or chemical restraint of laboratory mice. Xylazine's sedative effect—and its undesirable side effects of bradycardia, hypotension...

The aim of this study was to evaluate a total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA) protocol using propofol and sufentanil without neuromuscular blocking agents (NBAs) for a non-recovery lung pathology study in rabbits including 10 h of...

Mice are routinely anesthetized with isoflurane in an induction chamber. The AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals states that distress should be minimized during euthanasia but does not address this point in regard to...

According to the EU Directive 2010/63, the severity of a procedure has to be classified as mild, moderate or severe. General anesthesia is thought to be mild, but the Directive does not differentiate between single...

Handling and restraining rabbits for routine procedures may be impossible without prior sedation, result in unnecessary stress or injury to the rabbit or handler, and increase experimental variability. Parenteral administration of sedatives can cause stress...

Laboratory mice (Mus musculus) are prone to develop hypothermia during anesthesia for surgery, thus potentially impeding anesthetic recovery, wound healing, and future health. The core body temperatures of isoflurane-anesthetized mice are influenced by the choice...

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