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. 
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...
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...
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...
Gastrointestinal stasis is a common perianaesthetic complication in rabbits. The objective of this study was to assess the impact on gastrointestinal transit time of ketamine–midazolam (KMZ) versus ketamine–medetomidine (later antagonised by atipamezole) (KMT-A) in rabbits...
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...
In this study, the effect of four anaesthetic protocols that included the combination of xylazine (X) and ketamine (K) with acepromazine (A) and opioids (methadone (Me), morphine (Mo) or tramadol (T)) was evaluated in laboratory...
This poster describes how the Animal Technologists at Envigo adapted their current practices and procedures for a new species at their laboratory: the cotton rat. The paper describes cotton rat biology and behaviour; housing; environmental...
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...
Due to their unpredictability and variable effects, injectable anesthetic regimens in laboratory rodent species warrant refinement. In our study we sought to evaluate alfaxalone, which has gained recent popularity in veterinary medicine, alone and in...
In this study, adult intact male and female (n = 10) naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber) were anesthetized by using a combination of ketamine (20 mg/kg IM), and alfaxalone (4.0 mg/kg IM). Induction and recovery...
Accurate pain assessment methods are necessary to ensure animal welfare and reliable data collection in animal research. The Rat Grimace Scale (RGS), a facial expression pain scale, allows effective identification of pain. However, the potential...
The weekend effect hypothesis proposes that captive primates are more likely to give birth during times of low disturbance and reduced staff activity. The hypothesis specifically predicts that laboratory‐housed primates will be more likely to...
Calvarial bone surgery on rabbits is frequently performed. This report aims to document a simple and practical anaesthetic and perioperative management for this procedure. Fourteen male New Zealand white rabbits were included in the study...
Rabbits are prone to complications from both anaesthesia and anxiety. Given that anxiety can often impact quality of anaesthesia, we developed a novel cage-side anxiety assessment, and sought to determine whether it correlated to pre-...
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...
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...
Rice rats (Oryzomys palustris) are an unconventional laboratory species that has been used to study photoperiodicity, periodontitis, and osteonecrosis of the jaw. Interventional procedures that require anesthesia, including oral procedures, are sometimes necessary in preclinical...
In this review, we focus primarily on the refinement of common methods used in fish research based on emerging knowledge with the aim of improving the welfare of fish used in scientific studies. We consider...
For studies requiring accurate conception-timing, reliable, efficient methods of detecting oestrus reduce time and costs, whilst improving welfare. Standard methods use vaginal cytology to stage cycle, and breeders are paired-up using approximately five proven females...
The number of fish used in research has increased in the last decades. Anaesthesia is required when fish must be held immobile and it is crucial to promote fish welfare, because these vertebrates can show...
A simple but reliable and safe anaesthetic procedure is required for surgical interventions in small rodents. Combined ketamine and xylazine injections are often used in rats for less invasive surgery, possibly with spontaneous breathing and...
To improve infarct healing following myocardial infarction in humans, therapeutic interventions can be applied during the inflammatory response. Animal models are widely used to study this process. However, induction of MI in rodents is associated...
General anaesthesia disrupts thermoregulation in mammals, which can cause hypothermia. Decreases in core body temperature of 1℃ cause significant postoperative complications in humans, and peri-anaesthetic hypothermia in mice increases data variability, which can potentially increase...

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