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. 

Whether you are an animal care/husbandry technician, facility manager, or veterinarian, everyone bemoans a leaky drinking valve (often referred to as a lixit). Leaking drinking valves and flooded cages are a fairly common problem when...

Due to the lack of L-cones in the rodent retina, it is generally assumed that red light is invisible to rodents. Thus, red lights and red filter foils are widely used in rodent husbandry and...

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...

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...

Plasma lipid and glucose levels are important parameters for evaluating the onset and development of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. In clinical and experimental studies of humans or mice, fasting is often required before testing plasma...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 26 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues, and share experiences of...

This article describes the care of the Children’s python (Antaresia childreni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling, as well as the general health care of these animals. The information presented is derived from Standard...

This article describes the care of central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) as well as Pygmy bearded dragons (Pogona henrylawsoni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling and sexing technique, as well as the general health...

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...

Relocating laboratory animal research from one animal facility room to another in advance of major renovations can be a daunting task for scientists and animal care personnel alike. This is especially so regarding controlled lighting...

Nonhuman primate (NHP) colonies housed in research settings are manipulated frequently due to research protocols, for breeding, and for veterinary procedures. These manipulations come with maneuvering complex group dynamics that can be challenging for baboon...

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...

We searched a selection of the scientific literature to document evidence for, and explorations into reptile sentience. The intention of this review was to highlight; (1) to what extent reptile capability for emotions have been...

Environmental enrichment provides physiological and emotional benefits to laboratory rodents. Red tinted shelters are a common enrichment found in laboratories that provide rodents with a hiding space shielded from bright light. Red tinting alters the...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Working Group has held a one-day meeting every autumn for the last 25 years, so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on welfare issues and...

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...

Many animals use their excrements to communicate with others. In order to increase signal efficacy, animals often behaviourally select for specific defecation sites that maximize the detectability of their faecal deposits, such as the tip...

Many husbandry routines in zoo herpetology are based on tradition, authoritarianism, anecdote, or speculation. However, relatively few empirical studies underlie many very common practices. We compared growth rates among littermates of Boa constrictor raised under...

The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 14 November 2017 in Weybridge, UK. The first session addressed meeting animals' needs and aiming for a 'good life', with the needs...

This work aimed at evaluating the effects of housing system, pen floor type, and lactation management on rabbit doe and kit performance throughout a reproductive cycle, including categorization of aggressiveness and injuries. Forty multiparous pregnant...

Rabbits are known to be finicky about food and will reject it based upon several factors: odor, texture, form, or method of presentation. It can be an even greater challenge to get rabbits to eat...

Many reptiles require ultraviolet-B radiation between 290 and 315 nm (UV-B) to synthesize vitamin D3 and process dietary calcium. In captivity, exposure to too little or too much UV-B can result in health problems such...

We recorded the thermoregulatory patterns of five Aldabra giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) (25-193 kg) during spring (ZRH spring trial), after the installation of a heating area (concrete heat pad and basking lamp) at Zurich Zoo...

Minimum space allowances for laboratory rats are legislated based on weight and stocking rates, with the understanding that increased housing density encourages crowding stress. However, there is little evidence for these recommendations, especially when considering...

Although the number of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) produced in Europe is important, they are under-represented in welfare research. Studies on the effects of housing conditions have focused on performance and mortality. We conducted a meta-analysis...

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