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. 
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...
Despite the use of Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) in research, little is known about the evaluation of pain in this species. This study investigated whether the frequency of certain behaviors, a grimace scale, the treat-take-test...
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...
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...
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...
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...
This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...
What is animal welfare? Why has it proved so difficult to find a definition that everyone can agree on? This concise and accessible guide is for anyone who is interested in animals and who has...
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...
The Mouse Grimace Scale (MGS) was developed 10 years ago as a method for assessing pain through the characterisation of changes in five facial features or action units. The strength of the technique is that...
The assessment of welfare and disease progression in animal models is critical. Most tools rely on evaluating individual subjects, whereas social behaviors, also sensitive to acute illness, chronic diseases, or mental health, are scarcely monitored...
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)...
In order to assess the extent to which the legally prescribed training for the acquisition of animal experimentation expertise provides scientific personnel with the necessary competence and expertise to carry out a correct harm-benefit analysis...
Regardless of the microbiological status of an animal facility, research animals may experience health problems, leading to pain, suffering and distress. Simple and efficient tools are needed to collect data systematically, allowing researchers to react...
A species-specific composite pain scale is a prerequisite for adequate pain assessment. The aim of this study was to develop a multidimensional pain scale specific to rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) called the Bristol Rabbit Pain Scale...
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...
Subcutaneous tumor models in mice are the most commonly used experimental animal models in cancer research. To improve animal welfare and the quality of scientific studies, the distress of experimental animals needs to be minimized...
Whether animals have emotions was historically a long-lasting question but, today, nobody disputes that they do. However, how to assess them and how to guarantee animals their welfare have become important research topics in the...
Cancer-bearing mice are at risk of developing anxiety, pain, or malaise. These conditions may not only harm welfare but could also undermine data quality and translational validity in studies to develop therapeutic interventions. We aimed...
Laboratory animals frequently undergo routine experimental procedures such as handling, restraining and injections. However, as a known source of stress, these procedures potentially impact study outcome and data quality. In the present study, we, therefore...
Evidence-based severity assessment in laboratory animals is, apart from the ethical responsibility, imperative to generate reproducible, standardized and valid data. However, the path towards a valid study design determining the degree of pain, distress and...
Infra-red thermography (IRT) is a non-invasive tool for measuring eye temperature as an indicator of stress and welfare in animals. Previous studies state that images are taken from 90° but do not specify a reference...
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...
Voluntary wheel running (VWR) behaviour is a sensitive indicator of disturbed wellbeing and used for the assessment of individual experimental severity levels in laboratory mice. However, monitoring individual VWR performance usually requires single housing, which...

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