Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every four months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

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, Setting, 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, and only publications dated 2020 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Setting. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 

Animal research has always been crucial for various medical and scientific breakthroughs, providing information on disease mechanisms, genetic predisposition to diseases, and pharmacological treatment. However, the use of animals in medical research is a source...

Being social animals, rats exhibit a range of social behaviors that help them build social bonds and maintain group cohesion. Behavior is influenced by multiple factors, including stress exposure, and the expression of the impact...

In intense breeding programs, rabbits are exposed to numerous stress factors which could affect their welfare and health. It has been suggested that group housing is more comfortable for does and similar to the living...

Zebrafish is a valuable model for neuroscience research, but the housing conditions to which it is exposed daily may be impairing its welfare status. The use of environmental enrichment and the refinement of methodology for...

The objective of the study was to investigate the effects of housing (deep litter + concrete floor vs. deep litter + ground soil with the possibility to dig burrows), and genotype (Mecklenburg or Hyplus) on...

Social play is a dynamic and rewarding behavior abundantly expressed by most mammals during the juvenile period. While its exact function is debated, various rodent studies on the effects of juvenile social isolation suggest that...

Drug safety and efficacy studies frequently use oral gavage, but repetitive usage may cause problems. Administration through voluntary ingestion represents an opportunity for refinement. We aimed to develop a protocol for voluntary ingestion of gelatin-based...

Zebrafish (Danio rerio) are a popular model organism in behavioral pharmacology research due to many genetic and neurological similarities with humans. As a social species, the presence (or absence) of conspecifics during housing and testing...

Healthy brain development depends on early social practices and experiences. The risk gene CACNA1C is implicated in numerous neuropsychiatric disorders, in which key characteristics include deficits in social functioning and communication. Recently, we reported sex-dependent...

The usefulness of blood collection using venipuncture versus kissing bugs or medicinal leeches and the collection of saliva, faeces, hair, urine, and tears for measuring “immunoreactive” C (iC) concentration in Alpine ibexes was verified using...

Conducting safety evaluations of new drugs using conscious animals has been a specialty of our working group for thirty years. In this article, we review the various technical challenges and solutions dealt with over the...

Measuring energy balance and energy metabolism can provide crucial information for understanding the ecological and behavioral drivers of an animal’s energetic and physiological condition. Both urinary C-peptide (uCP) of insulin and urinary total triiodothyronine (uTT3)...

Central nervous (CNS) and respiratory systems are routinely investigated in safety pharmacology core battery studies. For small molecules, the assessment of both vital organ systems is frequently done in rats in two distinct studies. With...

Background As a prey species, rabbits tend to hide their illnesses and injuries. Consequently, pet rabbit owners often do not notice that their pet may be suffering. Methods Data on the housing and health of...

Oral vaccines are gaining attention for their ease of administration and ability to activate mucosal immune responses. However, preclinical studies using this route often require the use of gavage, which has limitations. In this comment...

Social housing of laboratory rabbits is encouraged and thought to improve animal welfare due to the social nature of this species. However, there is limited published information comparing the physiologic and cardiovascular (CV) effects of...

This study investigated the social relationships observed within a captive breeding group of western lowland gorillas Gorilla gorilla gorilla at a European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) accredited facility: Blackpool Zoo, UK. Gorillas are...

Housing breeding female rabbits in multi-litter instead of single-litter cages allows for more natural behaviour and social contact with conspecifics. Hierarchy fights among does, however, inhibit uptake on farms. Past focus on high reproductive performances...

Understanding how biological markers of stress relate to stressor magnitude is much needed and can be used in welfare assessment. Changes in body surface temperature can be measured using infrared thermography (IRT) as a marker...

Since 2015, the National Institutes of Health has called for its funded preclinical research to include both male and female subjects. However, much of the basic animal research that has studied heart rate and blood...

Background: Conventional methods for individually housing, training, and testing rodents in behavioral assays can impose constraints that may limit some kinds of experimental external validity, preempt environmental enrichment, impose heavy experimenter time burdens that limit...

Here, we evaluated if visual barriers could reduce intraspecific agonism in an all-male group of Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) living in a zoo. Crocodiles were monitored for nearly 100 h, and four “hotspots” of aggression...

There are instances when animals are introduced and expected to live alongside unfamiliar conspecifics within zoos, laboratories and wildlife sanctuaries. These pairings of unfamiliar animals may result in stress, trauma, or even death, in addition...

The presence of a conspecific can be calming to some species of animal during stress, a phenomenon known as social buffering. For rodents, social buffering can reduce the perception of and reaction to aversive experiences...

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...