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. 

Relocating laboratory animal research from one animal facility room to another in advance of major renovations can be a daunting task for scientists and animal care personnel alike. This is especially so regarding controlled lighting...

Plasma lipid and glucose levels are important parameters for evaluating the onset and development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In clinical and experimental studies of humans or mice, fasting is often required before testing plasma...

Previous research has shown that competition, familiarity, diet, and relatedness can all influence aggregation patterns in garter snakes. We controlled for these factors and examined social aggregation patterns in juvenile Eastern garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis...

‘Crunching’ is the term often used to describe the abnormal behaviour of mice that habitually crunch their pelleted diet, causing substrate levels to rise as the crumbs settle on the cage floor ultimately burying the...

According to the Guide, cage change frequencies must be considered when cage density requirements are exceeded. We monitored ammonia, carbon dioxide, cage wetness, health status, and breeding parameters of trio and pair breeding cages containing...

The author describes how she used an automated system to reduce how frequently mouse cage bedding is changed without compromising cleanliness. This idea came from the desire to reduce animal stress to a minimum.

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 26 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues, and share experiences of...

The accepted norm in most laboratories around the globe is feeding laboratory mice an ad libitum diet, although several health impairments are well-established. In contrast, reducing the animals' body weight by feeding them less food...

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...

This article describes the care of central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) as well as Pygmy bearded dragons (Pogona henrylawsoni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling and sexing technique, as well as the general health...

Aggression in male mice often leads to injury and death, making social housing difficult. We tested whether (1) small group size, (2) early age of allocation to a group decreases aggression and 3) manipulation increases...

Commercial mouse chow is designed to provide a complete, nutrient-rich diet, and it can contain upwards of 100 mg/kg manganese, an essential mineral. Manganese acts as a relaxation time-shortening contrast agent for both T1 and T2...

The use of millions of mice in scientific studies worldwide emphasises the continuing need for a reduction of sample sizes, however, not at the expense of scientific validity. Split-plot designs have been suggested to enhance...

In semi-natural mixed-sex groups, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) organize their social life by forming a hierarchy, which is characterized by linearity and stability. Compared to the natural environment, many factors are different in contemporary breeding systems...

This article describes the care of the Children’s python (Antaresia childreni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling, as well as the general health care of these animals. The information presented is derived from Standard...

Fasting of mice is a common procedure, which can affect the outcome of the study as well as animal welfare. In this study, we assess the effects of fasting, fasting duration and fasting initiation time...

Over the past decade, there has been an enormous shift away from the use of open top rodent cages to the use of individually ventilated cages (IVCs). This has brought with it many benefits, including...

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...

Captive environments for snakes commonly involve small enclosures with dimensions that prevent occupants from adopting straight line body postures. In particular, the commercial, hobby, and pet sectors routinely utilize small vivaria and racking systems, although...

The methods and conditions for housing research mice have been the subject of many discussions and publications in recent years. At our institution, we began to explore these matters with the goal of reducing stress...

Many husbandry routines in zoo herpetology are based on tradition, authoritarianism, anecdote, or speculation. However, relatively few empirical studies underlie many very common practices. We compared growth rates among littermates of Boa constrictor raised under...

Laboratory mice (Mus musculus) are typically housed in simple cages consisting of one open space. These standard cages may thwart mouse ability to segregate resting areas from areas where they eliminate, a behaviour that is...

Laboratory mice (Mus musculus) communicate a variety of social messages through olfactory cues and it is often speculated that these cues are preserved in nesting material. Based on these speculations, a growing number of husbandry...

Literature is replete with studies on stressors to laboratory rodents; knowing the impact research and husbandry interventions, such as routine cage changing, have on rodents’ stress levels, physiology and behaviour, we hypothesised that animals recovering...

Many animals use their excrements to communicate with others. In order to increase signal efficacy, animals often behaviourally select for specific defecation sites that maximize the detectability of their faecal deposits, such as the tip...

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