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 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...

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...

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...

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate SC administration of alfaxalone-midazolam and dexmedetomidine-midazolam for sedation of ball pythons (Python regius). ANIMALS: 12 healthy juvenile ball pythons. PROCEDURES: In a randomized crossover study, each snake was administered a combination of...

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...

Anolis lizards have served as important research models in fields ranging from evolution and ecology to physiology and biomechanics. However, anoles are also emerging as important models for studies of embryo development and tissue regeneration...

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...

OBJECTIVE: To characterize induction and recovery characteristics of 3 commonly used inhalant anesthetics in prairie rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis): isoflurane, sevoflurane, and desflurane. ANIMALS: 12 healthy adult prairie rattlesnakes. PROCEDURES: In a randomized crossover design, snakes...

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...

Injectable anesthesia protocols for five striped palm squirrels (Funambulus pennantii) are poorly described in the literature. In this study, male intact squirrels received intramuscular injections of either alfaxalone (6 mg/kg) and ketamine (40 mg/ kg...

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...

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...

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...

Traditional animal welfare paradigms have focused on maintaining physical health and mitigating negative impacts to wellbeing. Recently, however, the field has increasingly recognized the importance of positive welfare (i.e., mental and physical states that exceed...

We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...

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...

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-...

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...

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...

Few studies evaluate anesthesia in black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus). Isoflurane inhalant anesthesia is used in this species most commonly, but injectable protocols are poorly described. Here we compared the physiologic effects, including anesthetic depth...

In this review, we focus primarily on the refinement of common methods used in fish research based on emerging knowledge with the aim of improving the welfare of fish used in scientific studies. We consider...

The number of fish used in research has increased in the last decades. Anaesthesia is required when fish must be held immobile and it is crucial to promote fish welfare, because these vertebrates can show...

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...

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...

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