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. 
Species-specific welfare indicators are important in promoting positive welfare for zoo animals. Reptiles are a notoriously understudied group in regards to behavior, welfare needs, and husbandry requirements. Using opportunistically obtained samples, we evaluated how blood...
Dogs and cats have been extensively studied of late in relation to their paw preferences, with both species showing preferential motor bias at the level of the individual. Over the years, a wide range of...
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...
Pregnancy diagnosis and embryo counting are important end points in reproductive, developmental biology and toxicology studies. The purpose of the present study was to assess the feasibility and efficacy of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for...
Adolescence is a critical period of establishing social relations through social interactions that affect the emotional development associated with stress responses, anxiety, depression, and cognitive development. We investigated the behavioral and neurobiological changes induced by...
Rats (Rattus norvegicus) bred for research are typically confined with their litters until weaning, but will spend time away from pups when given the opportunity. We aimed to assess how dam welfare is affected by...
Melengestrol acetate (MGA) implants are progestin-based reversible contraceptives used to manage fertility in zoo populations. Although it is recommended that MGA implants should be replaced every 2 years, the duration of efficacy has not been...
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...
Describing certain animal behaviours as 'depression-like' or 'depressive' has become common across several fields of research. These typically involve unusually low activity or unresponsiveness and/or reduced interest in pleasure (anhedonia). While the term 'depression-like' carefully...
Research with captive wildlife in Animal Biosafety Level 2 (ABSL2) and 3 (ABSL3) facilities is becoming increasingly necessary as emerging and re-emerging diseases involving wildlife have increasing impacts on human, animal, and environmental health. Utilizing...
Reactions to dying and dead conspecifics have been observed in many non-human animals. Elephants, particularly African elephants, are thought to have an awareness of the death of their conspecifics, as they show compassionate behaviour towards...
Use of scruffing and scruffing tools (eg, clipnosis clips) to immobilise cats is contentious, and cat handling guidelines vary in recommendations regarding these techniques. The current study examined whether cats show negative responses to the...
Conservation behavior involves the application of general principles of animal behavior for solving conservation problems. In primates, adoption of infants has been reported in several species and consists of an individual other than the biological...
Convergent evidence in literature shows that rapid disruption of maternal care and breastfeeding due to an early weaning protocol changes the development of several neurobehavioral patterns in rodents, including the circadian pattern of feeding. The...
At the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign (UIUC), we routinely teach novice research personnel how to appropriately handle, restrain, and perform basic experimental techniques on rats. Barriers to teaching include fear of animal bites...
When individuals exchange helpful acts reciprocally, increasing the benefit of the receiver can enhance its propensity to return a favour, as pay-offs are typically correlated in iterated interactions. Therefore, reciprocally cooperating animals should consider the...
Emotional contagion, the ability to feel what other individuals feel without necessarily understanding the feeling or knowing its source, is thought to be an important element of social life. In humans, emotional contagion has been...
Research in ecology and wildlife biology remains crucial for increasing our knowledge and improving species management and conservation in the midst of the current biodiversity crisis. However, obtaining information on population status often involves invasive...
Caring for all aspects of zoo elephants’ well-being is considered a major challenge. Providing an appropriate flooring substrate to facilitate lying rest presents a meaningful part of a holistic management concept. Investigating the impact of...
Pathological lesions of feet occur frequently in captive elephant populations. To improve foot health, it is important to identify risk factors associated with such pathologies. Several previous studies have analyzed potentially influencing factors but were...
The aim of this review is to summarize evidence regarding rat emotional experiences during carbon dioxide (CO2) exposure. The studies reviewed show that CO2 exposure is aversive to rats, and that rats respond to CO2...
This poster describes the development of a sifting cage change method for rats to improve welfare. I came up with the idea after seeing how skittish and stressed the rats in my unit were and...
The most widespread reproductive rhythm practiced in rabbit farming is based on artificial insemination (AI) performed at around 11 days pospartum. This approach results in high production rates, but requires high yearly replacement of animals...
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...
Recent studies demonstrated that cats form social bonds with both conspecifics and humans. One of the key factors regulating social interactions is the transfer of emotions between the individuals. The present study aimed at investigating...

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