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. 
Vaccinations via intramuscular injection are a key component of preventative health care in horses. Development of problematic behavioral aversion to injections is quite common. Our clinical impression has been that topical anesthetic applied to injection...
Digital dermatitis (DD) is an infectious skin disease in cattle that causes pain and discomfort, significantly impacting animal welfare. Although DD lesions are painful and prone to bleeding when touched, pain resulting from DD has...
We assessed effects of two-step debonding strategies in calf rearing systems with different types of prolonged cow-calf contact (CCC) on stress responses, health and performance of dairy cows and calves. Forty-eight Holstein Friesian cow-calf pairs...
Rabbits are frequently used as surgical models in research. However, studies assessing the effects of various hair removal methods on wound healing and surgical site infection (SSI) in rabbits are sparse. Here we evaluated the...
Calves are frequently disbudded to reduce the number of injuries due to horns to other animals and farm workers. The most commonly used method is thermal disbudding which is increasingly causing animal welfare concerns (Stafford...
Many wild animals perform hiding behaviours for a variety of reasons, such as evading predators or other conspecifics. Unlike their wild counterparts, farmed animals often live in relatively barren environments without the opportunity to hide...
Most dairy calves are housed individually in early ontogeny but social housing has positive effects on calf welfare including an advantage of social buffering, i.e., when negative effects of stress are mitigated through social support...
In dairy industry, quality of produced milk must be more important than quantity without a high somatic cells count (SCC) or pathogens causing mastitis of dairy cows and consumer diseases. Preserving the good health of...
Background: The efficacy of procaine as anaesthetic for disbudding of calves is largely unknown. Likewise, information about effect of interval from local anaesthesia to disbudding and the size of the hot iron used is missing...
Bovine castration can be performed surgically, chemically, or immunologically and the method used can influence animal welfare. The use of facial expressions is an efficient tool to quantify pain, but there has been limited study...
Tri-Solfen® is a combination topical anaesthetic and antiseptic solution containing lidocaine, bupivacaine, adrenaline and cetrimide. Applied to wounds, it is reported to reduce the pain experienced by calves following thermocautery disbudding. While lidocaine and bupivacaine...
Disbudding of calves is a common, painful intervention. Due to cytotoxic and anesthetic properties, the injection of clove oil or its component isoeugenol may be less detrimental to animal welfare. We investigated mechanical nociceptive threshold...
The evaluation and assessment of the level of pain calves are experiencing is important, as the experience of pain (e.g., due to routine husbandry procedures) severely affects the welfare of calves. Studies about the recognition...
Castration is a common management procedure employed in North American cattle production and is known to cause a pain response. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of unmitigated surgical castration on the...
Pain causes behavioral, autonomic, and neuroendocrine changes and is a common cause of animal welfare compromise in farm animals. Current societal and ethical concerns demand better agricultural practices and improved welfare for food animals. These...
Weaning calves at a young age can generate great stress, but it is widely practiced in the industry despite that. So, to what extend weaning in early ages is more stressful than at later ones...
Background: Pain in horses is an emergent welfare concern, and its assessment represents a challenge for equine clinicians. This study aimed at improving pain assessment in horses through a convergent validation of existing tools: we...
In aquaculture, to ensure animal welfare in pre-slaughter and slaughter stages, it is fundamental that fish are insensible. A method for evaluating fish insensibility is based on visual sensibility indicators (VSI) assessment (i.e., self-initiated behavior...
Gentle human-animal interactions can induce positive emotions in cattle and enhance their welfare. We investigated whether a change in the animals’ perceived control over the situation influences their perception of the interactions. We compared the...
There is an interest in alternative rearing systems that allow for prolonged cow-calf contact (CCC). Yet, a better understanding of cows’ affiliative behaviour in those systems is needed. We evaluated the effect of type of...
Digital dermatitis (DD) is an infectious disease affecting the bovine digital skin which can cause lameness and significantly affect animal welfare and economics. Digital dermatitis has emerged in feedlots and early identification of DD lesions...
Background: General anesthesia in rabbits is associated with higher morbidity and mortality relative to other mammalian species commonly anesthetized. Unique challenges related to endotracheal intubation (ETI) in rabbits contribute to this risk. Objective: To improve...
Both endotracheal tubes and supraglottic airway devices appear to provide adequate unassisted ventilation in anaesthetised rabbits. However, it is highly recommended that a capnograph is used with both airway devices to monitor ventilation changes, especially...
Cattle are subjected to routine procedures that require restraint and close contact to humans, which are both potentially aversive to the animal. Positive reinforcement training techniques may affect how animals perceive and respond to these...
Early cow–calf separation management induced various welfare problems for dairy calves. We mimicked the maternal licking by manually brushing right after the Holstein female calves were born and during their first week of life, termed...

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