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. 

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...

General anesthesia is a common procedure in laboratory rats; however, it impairs thermoregulation, rapidly leading to hypothermia as warm core blood is distributed to the cooler periphery. The protective strategy of prewarming before the onset...

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...

Rabbits are popular companion animals. There are numerous welfare issues affecting the majority of the population, including the fact that most rabbits are fearful when handled. Pet Remedy ™ (Unex Designs) is an herbal product...

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...

Physical touch can help to decrease the effects of stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of tactile stimulation on the hormonal and behavioral responses of young adult rats submitted to...

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...

Our rat training program teaches the standard method of handling and restraining that involves picking the rat up by the base of the tail and placing it on the wire mesh to be restrained. We...

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 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...

There is a growing interest in the use of voluntarily displayed ongoing behaviours in laboratory animals to assess the pain experience. In rats, two behavioural pain scales, the Rat Grimace Scale (RGS, a facial expression...

Skin closure clips are widely used within the University of Edinburgh to close incision sites for various procedures in both rats and mice. In rats the skin closure clips very often come out as a...

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...

This feature describes creative ways in which technology can be used to study animals within their home cages, eliminating the need to handle, restrain, and separate them from cage mates. One example includes voluntary brain...

The social environment is a major determinant of individual stress response and lifetime health. The present study shows that (1) social enrichment has a significant impact on neuroplasticity and behaviour particularly in females; and (2)...

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...

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...

Here we describe a case of pseudopregnancy in a New Zealand White rabbit as a result of pair housing with an aggressive conspecific. Clinical signs included fur pulling and nest building that developed shortly after...

Gentling can reduce the fear reactions of young laboratory rats toward people long term. We were able to show this outcome in a previous study that involved a successful but elaborate gentling program. In the...

One of 2 models required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for registration of a treatment for osteoporosis, the ovariectomized (OVX) rat model, is widely used in scientific studies investigating sex hormone-deficient bone loss...

The 2011 Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals contains recommendations regarding the amount of cage space for mothers with litters. Literature on cage-space use in breeding rats is sparse. We hypothesized that...

Specific positioning for different imaging modalities is essential in our small animal imaging core. While we have different animal holders designed to position the animal inside the MRI, additional securing of the animal to the...

Social housing is recommended for laboratory rats because they are highly social mammals but research constraints or medical issues often demand individual housing and, when social housing is practiced, it typically involves housing with only...

On Swiss rabbit breeding farms, group-housed does are usually kept singly for 12 days around parturition to avoid pseudogravidity, double litters and deleterious fighting for nests. After this isolation phase there is usually an integration...

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