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. 
Glucocorticoid (GC) stress hormones are well-known for their impact on phenotypic traits ranging from immune function to behaviour and cognition. For that reason, consistent aspects of an individual’s physiological stress response (i.e. GC responsiveness) can...
Vocalizations are used by group-living animals as aggressive and submissive signals during agonistic interactions, and are also used to maintain dominance hierarchies in many species. For gregarious strepsirrhines with large vocal repertoires and differentiated dominance...
The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) is working with industry to promote social housing during cardiovascular telemetry recordings within non-rodent safety pharmacology and toxicology studies. Following surveys...
Thyroid hormones are essential for metabolism, energy homeostasis and reproduction. Hormones can be measured in various biological source materials: blood, feces, urine, saliva and others. The aim of our study was to verify usefulness of...
Quantitative blood pressure measurement is a critical parameter for assessing cardiovascular health, monitoring physiologic status under anesthesia, and making clinical decisions. The placement of an arterial catheter is the most accurate way to measure blood...
Among the growing list of novel tools with which to assess animal welfare is the use of thermal (infrared) imaging. The technology has already been utilized to identify emotional arousal in several nonhuman primate species...
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...
Respirometry has become the standard method for measuring the metabolic rate of fishes. Traditionally, respirometry has required the fish to be kept in captivity and tested under controlled conditions; however, many species do not readily...
Hematology is a common tool for wildlife health assessments. Manual leukocyte counts are required in reptiles, however, disagreement between quantification methods has been observed in some chelonians. This study determined agreement between two methods of...
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...
Assessing and treating cardiovascular disease (or heart disease) is a growing concern for institutions housing great apes, as it is a major cause of mortality in all four taxa managed in human care. As part...
Zebrafish are an important and expanding experimental system for brain research. We describe a noninvasive electrophysiology technique that can be used in living larvae to measure spontaneous activity in the brain and spinal cord simultaneously...
Understanding the physiological processes that underpin primate performance is key if we are to assess how a primate might respond when navigating new and changing environments. Given the connection between a mammal's ability to thermoregulate...
Measuring the heartbeat and respiration of small conscious animals is important for assessing their health and behavior, but present techniques such as electrocardiogram (ECG), ultrasound, and auscultation rely on close skin contact with the animal...
The importance of marmosets for comparative and translational science has grown in recent years because of their relatively rapid development, birth cohorts of twins, family social structure, and genetic tractability. Despite this, they remain understudied...
Stress in teleosts is an increasingly studied topic because of its interaction with growth, reproduction, immune system and ultimately fitness of the animal. Whether it is for evaluating welfare in aquaculture, adaptive capacities in fish...
Salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) enzyme functions as a digestive enzyme in many species that consume starch in their diet. Human studies have also revealed that sAA enzyme activity levels are positively correlated with the release of...
Quantitating glucocorticoids (GCs) in hairs is a popular method for assessing chronic stress in studies of humans and animals alike. The cause-and-effect relationship between stress and elevated GC levels in hairs, sampled weeks later, is...
Only a handful of primate taxa use ultrasonic vocalisations (those ≥20 kHz) to communicate. The extent and uses of ultrasonic communication remain poorly understood, potentially ranging from echolocation, advertisement of reproductive status and resource availability...
Blood pressure is a critical parameter for evaluating cardiovascular health, assessing effects of drugs and procedures, monitoring physiologic status during anesthesia, and making clinical decisions. The placement of an arterial catheter is the most direct...
Cortisol levels are often used as a physiological measure of the stress response in captive primates, with noninvasive measures of this being an important step in welfare assessment. We report a method of collecting saliva...
C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase protein often used as a biomarker for inflammation related to acute trauma or chronic illness. Animal studies showing elevations in CRP following events such as road transport and...
For humans and for non-human primates heart rate is a reliable indicator of an individual’s current physiological state, with applications ranging from health checks to experimental studies of cognitive and emotional state. In humans, changes...
Hair is a useful source of biological information. For example, the bulb can be a source of high-quality genetic material, whereas the shaft can be useful for measuring heavy metals and some hormones, such as...
Recording an accurate body temperature is important to assess an animal's health status. We compared temperature data from sedated cynomolgus macaques (Macaca fascicularis) to evaluate differences between rectal, infrared (inguinal and chest), and implanted telemetry...

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