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. 

Group-housing is highly important for social animals. Group-housing of male mice in captivity though often leads to aggression with partially disastrous consequences for the animals as well as for the quality of experimental data. In...

This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...

Environmental enrichment (EE) has been shown to promote neural plasticity. Its capacity to induce functional repair in models which exhibit profound sensory deficits due to aberrant axonal guidance has not been well-characterized. Ten-m3 knockout (KO)...

‘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...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

In the central nervous system, certain neurons store zinc within the synaptic vesicles of their axon terminals. This vesicular zinc can then be released in an activity-dependent fashion as an intercellular signal. The functions of...

Compared to female mice raised in large, environmentally enriched (EE) cages, those from “shoebox” non-enriched (NE) cages demonstrate more stereotypic behaviour (SB) and depressive-like effects (i.e. learned helplessness; and inactive-but-awake behaviour [IBA], where a mouse...

This study assessed the effects of an elevated plastic-slatted platform and/or a plastic hiding tube in collective pens with large group sizes (27 or 36 rabbits/pen; 16 rabbits/m2) on the performance and welfare of rabbits...

Shredding of feed (food grinding or food wasting) is a common behavior among certain strains of mice. It is seen in both captive and wild rodents and may either be an abnormal behavior or a...

The objective was to investigate if providing two types of nesting materials could modulate parental behavior and anxiety in laboratory mice. For that, 54 full-sib BALB/cJ and 50 randomly mated Swiss Webster mouse pairs were...

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an age‐related neurodegenerative disorder. One of the pathological features of AD is neuronal loss in brain regions associated with cognition, particularly the hippocampus. An enriched environment (EE) can facilitate neuronal plasticity...

The aim of this research was to evaluate the possible usefulness of mirrors in improving rabbit behavior in a free-range breeding system. Three groups (each consisting of nine replicates of three animals) were compared: isolated...

Those who have worked with C57BL/6 males know how aggressive they can be towards their cage mates. We poured over academic journals, reading every article we could find regarding male home cage aggression. Three articles...

The presentation I gave at IAT Congress 2019 was based on the changes and refinements the University of Dundee, Medical School Resource Unit (MSRU) has made over the past 18 months. These changes, described in...

Appropriate housing and husbandry, including environmental enrichment, must take the natural habitat, biology and behaviour of each species into consideration. The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (1996) states that the goal...

Early death of mouse pups is a commonly known problem in breeding mice colonies, which is still often regarded as ‘normal’ or is even overlooked due to the counting procedures applied. As reduced breeding performance...

The point of the session was to have a collaborative discussion about environmental enrichment. The organisers wanted to know people’s experiences with enrichment, the barriers they have faced, if they have overcome any, and also...

Nesting material, for example shredded paper, is a common form of enrichment for laboratory mice. However, there has been limited research performed regarding its apparent safety when given to mice fitted with exteriorised devices such...

A recent discussion on the Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum (LAREF) focused on new enrichment ideas for rabbits. Contributors shared their experiences about which toys and treats get rave reviews from rabbits.

Animal welfare requires the adequate housing of animals to ensure health and well-being. The application of environmental enrichment is a way to improve the well-being of laboratory animals. However, it is important to know whether...

Voluntary wheel running occurs in mice of all strains, sexes, and ages. Mice find voluntary wheel running rewarding, and it leads to numerous health benefits. For this reason wheels are used both to enhance welfare...

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...

It is argued that mice have poor colour vision and are insensitive to the colour red, which they in theory perceive as dark. Therefore, the red tinted Bio-Serv Mouse Igloo® is used to provide mice...

Cardiovascular exercise (CVE) is associated with healthy aging and reduced risk of disease in humans, with similar benefits seen in animals. Most rodent studies, however, have used shorter intervention periods of a few weeks to...

A three-week enrichment preference study trialling different substrates, food and pen structures was carried out in three, group-housed female New Zealand White Rabbits (NZW). Preference results: structural - rabbits spent the most time with a...

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