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...
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...
Long-term, multi-institutional assessments have become a reliable tool for evaluating patterns of wounding in zoo-living primates, with results informing on best practices for species-specific care protocols and population management strategies. For western lowland gorillas (Gorilla...
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...
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...
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...
The increasing potential for radiation exposure from nuclear accidents or terrorist activities has intensified the need to develop pharmacologic countermeasures against injury from total body irradiation (TBI). Many initial experiments to develop and test these...
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...
A top priority of modern zoos is to ensure good animal welfare (AW), thus, efforts towards improving AW monitoring are increasing. Welfare assessments are performed through more traditional approaches by employing direct observations and time-consuming...
Published data are sparse regarding the recognition of clinically relevant pain and appropriate analgesia in amphibians. The amphibian analgesia literature has primarily focused on nociceptive pathways in a single species, the northern leopard frog (Rana...
In humans, inflammatory markers predict health risks. As great apes experience many similar conditions, measuring inflammation may provide valuable health information. We examined four serum inflammatory markers in zoo-housed gorillas (n = 48): albumin, CRP, IL-6, and...
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...
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...
Evidence-based severity assessment is essential as a basis for ethical evaluation in animal experimentation to ensure animal welfare, legal compliance and scientific quality. To fulfil these tasks scientists, animal care and veterinary personnel need assessment...
The Mouse Grimace Scale (MGS) has been widely used for the noninvasive examination of distress/pain in mice. The aim of this study was to further improve its performance to generate repeatable, faster, blinded and reliable...
The Mouse Grimace Scale (MGS) is an established method for estimating pain in mice during animal studies. Recently, an improved and standardized MGS set-up and an algorithm for automated and blinded output of images for...

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