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. 
Stress during handling can negatively impact the welfare of an animal. Gradual habituation or systematic desensitisation can reduce this but is not always possible. Blindfolding has been shown to decrease stress indicators, including heart rate...
Based on queries received during our 2021 LASA 3Rs’ presentation, we describe operational highlights and concerns that came up during the rollout of nonaversive handling as standard of care at our mouse breeding facility. We...
General anesthesia as used for rodent research can have adverse effects on physiologic mechanisms. Thermoregulation is often greatly inhibited, with resultant deleterious effects on cardiac and respiratory function. These potential effects can be mitigated by...
As part of our commitment to continuous improvement of laboratory animal welfare, the North American 3Rs Collaborative (NA3RsC) brought together several experts to examine the evidence, impact, and practicality of alternative methods for picking up...
Human hair removal brands such as Nair™ are sometimes used in research to remove hair from mice before surgery, imaging, and other procedures.1,3 While the use of these depilatory creams in rodent research is relatively...
Non-aversive handling is a well-documented refinement measure for improving rodent welfare. Because maternal stress is related to reduced productivity, we hypothesized that welfare benefits associated with non-aversive handling would translate to higher production and fewer...
Modified Handling for Mice: Handling mice by gripping the base of the tail has been shown to negatively impact animal welfare by increasing anxiety and aversion to handling. We aimed to refi ne the dosing...
There is increasing evidence that, compared to non-aversive handling methods (i.e., tunnel and cupping), tail handling has a negative impact on mouse welfare. Despite this evidence, there are still research organisations that continue to use...
Rabbits are frequently used as surgical models in research. However, studies assessing the effects of various hair removal methods on wound healing and surgical site infection (SSI) in rabbits are sparse. Here we evaluated the...
Isoflurane has been characterized as a distressing agent for rodents, causing both physiologic and behavioral effects. Using a "darkened home cage" has been recommended during CO2 administration for rodent euthanasia; this is arguably a similar...
Surgical procedures are commonly performed using mice but can have major effects on their core body temperature, including development of hypothermia. In this study, we evaluated active perioperative warming with and without surgical draping with...
The use of head fixation in mice is increasingly common in research, its use having initially been restricted to the field of sensory neuroscience. Head restraint has often been combined with fluid control, rather than...
Sociocultural changes in the human–animal relationship have led to increasing demands for animal welfare in biomedical research. The 3R concept is the basis for bringing this demand into practice: Replace animal experiments with alternatives where...
Studies in mice have shown that less aversive handling methods (e.g. tunnel or cup handling) can reduce behavioural measures of anxiety in comparison to picking mice up by their tail. Despite such evidence, tail handling...
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...
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...
General anesthesia induces many systemic effects, including thermoregulatory impairment and subsequent perioperative hypothermia. Due to the animals' small size, monitoring and maintaining body temperatures in laboratory rodents during anesthesia is important for successful surgical outcomes...
Mouse handling and restraint affect behavior, physiology, and animal welfare, yet little information is available on how various mouse restraint methods affect cardiovascular parameters. We validated the use of a smartphone-based ECG sys- tem in...
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...
The key to non-aversive methods of handling lies in understanding what capture method creates the least anxiety in mice: be this tunnel or cupping or another method. It is important that we do not get...
Background: General anesthesia in rabbits is associated with higher morbidity and mortality relative to other mammalian species commonly anesthetized. Unique challenges related to endotracheal intubation (ETI) in rabbits contribute to this risk. Objective: To improve...
Background: Animal models used to study pathologies requiring rehabilitation therapy, such as cardiovascular and neurologic disorders or oncologic disease, must be as refined and translationally relevant as possible. Sometimes, however, experimental procedures such as those...
Handling laboratory animals for husbandry and other procedures can be an important source of anxiety and stress, compromising animal welfare as well as the reliability of research that is sensitive to background stressors. Studies have...
Both endotracheal tubes and supraglottic airway devices appear to provide adequate unassisted ventilation in anaesthetised rabbits. However, it is highly recommended that a capnograph is used with both airway devices to monitor ventilation changes, especially...

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