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. 

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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.

Animal models of fear and anxiety provide important insight into anxiety-related symptoms in humans. Environmental physical conditions and social contact influence behavior and brain plasticity particularly at early developmental stages and have long lasting effects...

This article describes the importance of providing laboratory animals with opportunities to engage in play, and provides a few practical ideas for how to do this.

Behavioural experience, such as environmental enrichment (EE), induces long-term effects on learning and memory. Learning can be assessed with the Hebbian paradigm, such as spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP), which relies on the timing of neuronal activity...

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 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...

Epidemiological and clinical studies suggest that early-life stress (ELS) may lead to the development of mental disorders in adulthood. Maternal separation (MS) is a valid animal model of ELS that produces detrimental effects on brain...

This article describes how to make an inexpensive 'rat hammock' out of PVC tunnels for standard-housed laboratory rats.

The current study tested the effect of voluntary running on future anxiety-like behavior, physiological response to stress, and ethanol intake/preference, while including a chronically stressed group and healthy group housed conspecifics. When given concurrently, voluntary...

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 aim of this research was to evaluate the possible usefulness of mirrors in improving rabbit behavior in a free-range breeding system. Three groups (each consisting of nine replicates of three animals) were compared: isolated...

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...

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...

The animal preference for complexity is most clearly demonstrated when the environmental change takes the form of an increase in complexity. Therefore, one of the potential difficulties in interpretation is that the preference for perceptual...

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...

Although the positive effect of environmental enrichment on animals’ cognitive capacities is well-known, it remains unclear what role changeability plays in this context. Our study aims to analyse the impact of environmental changeability on the...

Food rewards are commonly used as positive reinforcement in rodent behavioral experiments. Bioserv dustless precision pellets and Noyes formula P precision pellets are both used for this purpose in behavioral experiments in multiple laboratories, as...

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...

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