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. 
Social animals commonly establish dominance relationships by means of aggressive interaction, leading to hierarchical stability and priority of access to limited resources by high-ranked individuals. In poikilothermic animals, temperature is a major abiotic factor influencing...
Ecological studies on the critically endangered European eel Anguilla anguilla often incorporate stable isotope analysis that typically uses dorsal muscle sampled from euthanised eels. To minimise the lethal sampling of imperilled populations, fin tissue and/or...
Glucocorticoid (GC) stress hormones are well-known for their impact on phenotypic traits ranging from immune function to behaviour and cognition. For that reason, consistent aspects of an individual’s physiological stress response (i.e. GC responsiveness) can...
Zebrafish, like all fish species, use sound to learn about their environment. Thus, human-generated (anthropogenic) sound added to the environment has the potential to disrupt the detection of biologically relevant sounds, alter behavior, impact fitness...
In conclusion, the investigations carried out up to now demonstrate that during the early stages fish show high sensitivity to many types of stressors involving an array of responses to overcome alterations that could affect...
This study investigated the effect of 4-d acute thermal treatments at 18 °C, 26 °C (control) and 34 °C on the nervous system of adult zebrafish (Danio rerio) using a multidisciplinary approach based on behavioural...
Horse practitioners have difficulties with undesirable behaviors exhibited by their horses (Equus caballus), such as cribbing, weaving, or head shaking. It has been suggested that most of behavioral disorders originate from the animals’ attempt to...
Bedding materials affect stable air hygiene, and thus the development and exacerbation of equine asthma. There is limited knowledge concerning the effects of different types of bedding material on equine lower airway inflammation. The objective...
This 30-chapter volume informs students and professionals about the behavioral biology of animals commonly housed in laboratory and other captive settings. Each species evolved under specific environmental conditions, resulting in unique behavioral patterns, many of...
The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...
Thanks to its small size, external fertilization and fecundity, over the past four decades, zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become the dominant fish model species in biological and biomedical research. Multiple lines of evidence, however, suggest...
The study of human–animal interactions has provided insights into the welfare of many species. To date, however, research has largely focused on human relationships with captive mammals, with relatively little exploration of interactions between humans...
Vertebrates possess circadian clocks, driven by transcriptional–translational loops of clock genes, to orchestrate anticipatory physiological adaptations to cyclic environmental changes. This work aims to investigate how the absence of a light-dark cycle and a feeding...
The horse’s welfare and, consequently, the emotional arousal may be connected with stressful environmental conditions. This study aimed to determine whether horses show behavioural or physiological symptoms of thermal discomfort and if their behaviour and...
Thyroid hormones are essential for metabolism, energy homeostasis and reproduction. Hormones can be measured in various biological source materials: blood, feces, urine, saliva and others. The aim of our study was to verify usefulness of...
Various pharmaceutical products have been derived from horse blood and urine for over a century. Production of biologics and therapeutics from these samples is a niche industry and often occurs in regions with little regulation...
Every animal species has particular environmental requirements that are essential for its welfare, and when these so-called “basic needs” are not fulfilled, the animals suffer. The basic needs of horses have been claimed to be...
Changes in skin mucus production and composition offer a new means to study how fish cope with changes in the environment. We explored the utility of skin mucus as an indicator of physiological responses and...
The satisfaction of leisure horses’ behavioral needs has begun to be considered a priority, linked to the awareness that horses kept in single boxes may be deprived of social contact and the possibility to perform...
Taste preferences in fishes are known mainly for carnivorous species, whereas herbivorous consumers were rarely used in such studies. The main goal of the present study was to evaluate the taste preferences in the herbivorous...
Despite how frequently stereotypic behaviours are discussed in the field of animal behaviour and welfare, research on stereotypies in captive elasmobranchs is far less represented in the literature compared to studies on mammalian species. This...
Appropriate end-points are integral to the refinement of laboratory animal experiments. Our recent experience has highlighted that ambiguity around end-points is hampering their adoption in experiments that cause severe suffering to fish. In toxicology, the...
Zebrafish are an increasingly popular model organism in many aspects of animal research; however, some aspects of their husbandry needs are quite disparate from that which most lab animal technicians are trained. Possibly the most...
One of our colony’s five guinea pigs started to develop a moderate case of pododermatitis (bumblefoot) on one paw, which staff were keen to alleviate to prevent any detrimental effects that this might have on...
There are a multitude of health monitoring techniques/ methods available. It can be difficult to know which of these to use and when to use them. This is an attempt to simplify, maximise the efficacy...

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