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. 
Stress during handling can negatively impact the welfare of an animal. Gradual habituation or systematic desensitisation can reduce this but is not always possible. Blindfolding has been shown to decrease stress indicators, including heart rate...
General anesthesia as used for rodent research can have adverse effects on physiologic mechanisms. Thermoregulation is often greatly inhibited, with resultant deleterious effects on cardiac and respiratory function. These potential effects can be mitigated by...
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...
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...
Brushing produces a relaxing effect and improves the welfare of ewes and lambs and the human-animal relationship. Lambs gently handled during rearing are less fearful to humans in their adulthood, but there are few studies...
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...
Introduction: Transport to the clinic is a major source of stress for cats. The process involves being put into a carrier, driven in a car and handled. Cats are therefore removed from the safe-haven of...
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...
Use of scruffing and scruffing tools (eg, clipnosis clips) to immobilise cats is contentious, and cat handling guidelines vary in recommendations regarding these techniques. The current study examined whether cats show negative responses to the...
Tattooing traumatizes the skin, which can result in microbial infections with the severity ranging from minor to life-threating septicemia. Additionally, the metals in colored tattoo ink are known to cause dermal inflammation in some people...
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...
A group of 36 1+ age class Salmo trutta were surgically implanted with dummy acoustic tags and monitored for 370 days. In total 13 tags were expelled throughout the experiment with an overall tag loss...
Female lambs have a stronger attachment with their mothers and show a greater susceptibility to stressors than male lambs. Male lambs grow faster than female lambs do, achieving a greater nutritional independence from their mothers...
Gentling of cats in a shelter has been shown to increase contented behaviors and reduce anxiety, but it is not clear how gentling should be provided. Two experiments were conducted in cats confined to cages...
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...
Owned, shelter, and laboratory cats undergo handling and restraint throughout their lifetime for routine health examinations and necessary procedures. Many cats display fear and aggressive behaviour during health examinations, and there is potential for these...
The weekend effect hypothesis proposes that captive primates are more likely to give birth during times of low disturbance and reduced staff activity. The hypothesis specifically predicts that laboratory‐housed primates will be more likely to...
Demarking individual animals within a group is often required in research. However, the process of invasive tagging induces stress and if a tag becomes detached it may wound the animal and/or prevent identification. Photo identification...
Neurophysiologic studies of NHP commonly involve their transfer from a housing enclosure to a laboratory by using a mobile chair. This transfer should be performed in a manner that is safe and minimizes stress for...
Tracking individual animals with small-sized passive integrated transponder tags (PIT tags) has become a popular and widespread method, one which can be used for investigating life history traits, including dispersal patterns of small protected animals...
In fiscal year 2016, agricultural animals such as swine, sheep, goats, and cattle represented 10% of the 820 812 animals used in USDA-regulated research. In addition to traditional agricultural animals, research studies using captive wildlife...
Fishes in captivity, such as those used in laboratory research, may experience handling on a regular basis. In the laboratory, handling is usually done with dip-nets, and involves pursuit, confinement and capture and removal of...
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...
The use of agricultural animals in biomedical research is increasing. Their overall size and metabolic rate, organ size, longer gestation period, and other physiological similarities make them good candidates for animal models of human disease...

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