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. 

Environmental enrichment (EE) has been studied as a protocol that can improve brain plasticity and may protect against negative insults such as chronic stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of...

Maternal deprivation (MD) causes cognitive deficits that persist until adulthood. Thereby, the environmental enrichment (EE) is widely used to increase brain plasticity. Here, pregnant female rats were used and their offspring were submitted to neonatal...

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...

Individual or singly-housing laboratory rats is common in many animal facilities, but has an adverse impact on the welfare of this social species. It has previously been shown that a small proportion of individually housed...

Chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (CCH) is a common pathophysiological basis for Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular dementia in the early stages. It has been confirmed that blood-brain barrier (BBB) destruction is a key factor in CCH-related cognitive...

The Becton Dickinson (BD) Research Animal Care Program has developed an acclimation and enrichment program that has enhanced animal welfare for studies requiring single housing, contributed to a culture of care, increased transparency, and improved...

Due to limited space and resource for equipment, we came up with some easy and cost-effective ways to improve enrichment for the rat colony. Since implementing our protocol for forage feeding and out of cage...

Many studies report differences between animals raised in an enriched environment and those living in standard conditions. Animals reared in enriched conditions demonstrate better memory and learning abilities, increased activity, reduced level of anxiety, etc...

Although rarely used, long-term behavioral training protocols provide opportunities to shape complex skills in rodent laboratory investigations that incorporate cognitive, motor, visuospatial and temporal functions to achieve desired goals. In the current study, following preliminary...

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...

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...

Environmental enrichment is a key component in improving the psychological and physiological well-being of animals under professional care. Environmental enrichment involves the addition of stimuli, including objects and cognitive challenges, into the environment in order...

Neuro-inflammation is responsible for cognitive impairments and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, we aimed to investigate the enriched environment (EE) effect on learning and memory impairment as well as on pro-inflammatory...

This article describes the steps for making a DIY guinea pig or rabbit cardboard foraging ball. Pictures are provided for each step as well as the completed ball. These cardboard foraging balls can be made...

This article describes how an Animal Care Technician at Mayo Clinic Rochester campus designed and created a novel enrichment item for rats: a ‘hammock’ made of PVC tunnels hung onto the lid of standard laboratory...

Cognitive enrichment aims to provide animals with opportunities to use their cognitive skills and to promote behaviors associated with positive wellbeing. Cooperation in mammals has been recorded during various behavioral contexts such as hunting, mating...

Environmental enrichment (EE) is one experimental manipulation that induces changes in the brain. However, it is important to distinguish between physical and social components of enrichment. To this end we established four groups of rats...

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...

Captive welfare studies in odontocete species have been mostly conducted on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) while the welfare of many other species’ -including endangered species- remains poorly studied. More research is needed to find and...

A recent discussion on the Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum (LAREF) focused on new enrichment ideas for rabbits. Contributors shared their experiences about which toys and treats get rave reviews from rabbits.

Environmental enrichment (EE) can alter anxiety as well as perception of nociceptive stimuli, suggesting a relationship between well-being and analgesia. Considering that, we aimed to evaluate the influence of different EE types on anxiety and...

In the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of zoo-based touchscreen studies of animal cognition around the world. Such studies have contributed to the field of comparative cognition despite the...

Stress can influence the secretion of neuroendocrine mediators, thereby exposing immune cells to altered signaling and interactions. Here we investigated the synergetic effect of stress and environmental enrichment on the immune response of Long–Evans rats...

This study assessed the effects of an elevated plastic-slatted platform and/or a plastic hiding tube in collective pens with large group sizes (27 or 36 rabbits/pen; 16 rabbits/m2) on the performance and welfare of rabbits...

Stereotypies in captive animals are typically defined as repetitive, invariant behavioral patterns with no obvious goal or function. They are often attributed to boredom or fear and treated by introducing occupational stimuli. The present work...

Share This!