Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every four months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

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, Setting, 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, and only publications dated 2020 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Setting. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 

Zebrafish is a valuable model for neuroscience research, but the housing conditions to which it is exposed daily may be impairing its welfare status. The use of environmental enrichment and the refinement of methodology for...

The aim of this study was to identify whether or not dairy calves change their facial expression and heart rate according to their emotional state when subjected to a stroking or umbrella stimulus. Thirty-two mixed-breed...

Measuring energy balance and energy metabolism can provide crucial information for understanding the ecological and behavioral drivers of an animal’s energetic and physiological condition. Both urinary C-peptide (uCP) of insulin and urinary total triiodothyronine (uTT3)...

Background As a prey species, rabbits tend to hide their illnesses and injuries. Consequently, pet rabbit owners often do not notice that their pet may be suffering. Methods Data on the housing and health of...

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...

Morphometric data that provide information on body conditions can be used to monitor the health and well-being of animals. In laboratory animals, they can help to evaluate the stress due to experiments or treatments, following...

Physiological data can provide valuable information about the health and welfare of animals. Unfortunately, few validated assays and a lack of information on species-typical levels of circulating biomarkers for wildlife make the measurement, interpretation, and...

Debates around fishes’ ability to feel pain concern sentience: do reactions to tissue damage indicate evaluative consciousness (conscious affect), or mere nociception? Thanks to Braithwaite’s research leadership, and concerns that current practices could compromise welfare...

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...

Among the growing list of novel tools with which to assess animal welfare is the use of thermal (infrared) imaging. The technology has already been utilized to identify emotional arousal in several nonhuman primate species...

In humans, inflammatory markers predict health risks. As great apes experience many similar conditions, measuring inflammation may provide valuable health information. We examined four serum inflammatory markers in zoo-housed gorillas (n = 48): albumin, CRP, IL-6, and...

Respirometry has become the standard method for measuring the metabolic rate of fishes. Traditionally, respirometry has required the fish to be kept in captivity and tested under controlled conditions; however, many species do not readily...

Hematology is a common tool for wildlife health assessments. Manual leukocyte counts are required in reptiles, however, disagreement between quantification methods has been observed in some chelonians. This study determined agreement between two methods of...

Salivary immunoglobulin A (sIgA) has been proposed as a potential indicator of welfare for various species, including Asian elephants, and may be related to adrenal cortisol responses. This study aimed to distinguish circadian rhythm effects...

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...

Assessing and treating cardiovascular disease (or heart disease) is a growing concern for institutions housing great apes, as it is a major cause of mortality in all four taxa managed in human care. As part...

Zebrafish are an important and expanding experimental system for brain research. We describe a noninvasive electrophysiology technique that can be used in living larvae to measure spontaneous activity in the brain and spinal cord simultaneously...

Knowledge of physiological portal and hepatic blood flow in cattle is essential for the use of Doppler ultrasound for diagnostic purposes. In this paper, we describe a protocol for the systematic ultrasonography evaluation of the...

Respiration rate (RR) is commonly used to assess states of cattle health and welfare such as pain, stress and disease. Traditionally, RR is measured by counting flank movements, a method often considered to be labour-intensive...

Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) populations, both in the wild and in captivity, have been continually declining over the decades. The present study examined the physiological stress response of captive Asian elephants in relation to body...

Stress in teleosts is an increasingly studied topic because of its interaction with growth, reproduction, immune system and ultimately fitness of the animal. Whether it is for evaluating welfare in aquaculture, adaptive capacities in fish...

Elephants experience a number of health issues that can contribute to their well-being and survival. In managed populations, housing conditions and management practices can influence individual health, so potential risk factors associated with morbidity or...

No data have been published on the use of infrared thermography (IRT) to evaluate sheep emotions. We assessed whether this technique can be used as a non-invasive measure of negative emotions. Two voluntary animal approach...

C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase protein often used as a biomarker for inflammation related to acute trauma or chronic illness. Animal studies showing elevations in CRP following events such as road transport and...

For humans and for non-human primates heart rate is a reliable indicator of an individual’s current physiological state, with applications ranging from health checks to experimental studies of cognitive and emotional state. In humans, changes...