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. 

Feelings of fear, anxiety, dyspnea and panic when inhaling carbon dioxide (CO2) are variable among humans, in part due to differences in CO2 sensitivity. Rat aversion to CO2 consistently varies between individuals; this variation in...

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 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...

Euthanasia in rodents is an ongoing topic of debate due to concerns regarding the aversive nature of gases with anesthetic properties such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and isoflurane. The aim of this study was to...

Carbon dioxide and isoflurane are widely used for killing rats, yet may not truly achieve “euthanasia”, because they elicit aversion. The inhalant anesthetic desflurane is faster acting than isoflurane, representing a potential refinement. Using an...

Euthanasia is one of the most commonly performed procedures in biomedical research, involving tens of millions of animals in North America and Europe every year. The use of sodium pentobarbital, injected intraperitoneally, for killing rodents...

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...

The aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds...

The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the...

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...

Background: There has been increased concern about the suitability of CO2 as a method for euthanasia of laboratory mice and rats, including the potential discomfort, pain or distress that animals may experience prior to loss...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill rodents. However, a large body of research has now established that CO2 is aversive to them. A multidisciplinary symposium organized by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill laboratory rats. Rats find CO2 aversive and aversion varies between individuals, indicating that rats vary in CO2 sensitivity. Healthy humans experience feelings of anxiety at concentrations similar...

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

The use of carbon dioxide (CO2) for stunning and killing animals is considered to compromise welfare due to air hunger, anxiety, fear, and pain. Despite decades of research, no alternatives have so far been found...

Completely updated and revised, and with a new author team, this second edition of Farm Animal Behaviour continues to provide essential information on normal and stereotypic behaviors in a wide variety of farm animals to...

Sodium pentobarbital is a commonly used agent for euthanizing laboratory rats, however its high pH can cause abdominal discomfort after intraperitoneal injection. Previous studies suggest that the addition of a local anaesthetic may alleviate this...

Abnormal repetitive behaviours (ARBs) are associated with past, or present, welfare problems and are common elements of the behavioural repertoire of some captive animals, including birds. Millions of birds from hundreds of species are held...

This study compared behavioral and physiologic changes in Sprague–Dawley and Brown Norway rats that were euthanized by using a 30% volume displacement rate of CO2 in either their home cage or an induction chamber; rats...

Exposure to high concentrations of CO2 is a common means of stunning and killing laboratory rodents. However, there is concern regarding the potential for animals to have aversive experiences, such as pain or breathlessness, prior...

Previous research has shown that rats reared in simple/impoverished environments demonstrate greater repetitive responding for sensory reinforcers (e.g., light onset). Moreover, the brains of these rats are abnormally developed, compared to brains of rats reared...

Current recommendations for assessing animal wellbeing during euthanasia suggest that measuring neuroendocrine hormones—such as ACTH, noradrenaline, and adrenaline—is preferable to measuring corticosterone and blood glucose because of the sensitivity of neuroendocrine hormones to the acute...

The commercial meat rabbit industry is without validated on-farm euthanasia methods, potentially resulting in inadequate euthanasia protocols. We evaluated blunt force trauma (BFT), a mechanical cervical dislocation device (MCD), and a non-penetrating captive bolt device...

Selecting an appropriate, effective euthanasia agent is controversial. Several recent publications provide clarity on the use of CO2 in laboratory rats and mice. This review examines previous studies on CO2 euthanasia and presents the current...

Although zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) have been used in biomedical research for many years, no published reports are available about euthanizing these small birds. In this study, we compared 5 methods for zebra finch euthanasia...

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