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. 
Animal welfare is important for the humane treatment of animals under our care. Zoos and rescue centres manage various charismatic animals, such as big cats, with limited resources. It is therefore essential for caretakers to...
Steroid-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head (SONFH) is a condition documented in humans and animals exposed to chronic steroid administration. The rabbit has become a preferred animal model for investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of...
The teleost zebrafish (Danio rerio), an established model for human skeletal diseases, is reared under controlled conditions with defined parameters for temperature and photoperiod. Studies aimed at defining the proper rearing density have been performed...
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...
The zebrafish is becoming an increasingly popular research animal around the world. Its welfare is affected by an array of environmental factors, such as food access and water quality. Holding density is an important welfare...
Deflighting zoo birds is a practice that receives increasing criticism due to its presumed incompatibility with animal welfare. To our knowledge, this is the first approach to address this problem in a scientific way. To...
Horses kept for meat production are reared in intensive breeding farms. We employed a checklist adapted from the Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN) assessment protocol. Our evaluation aims to assess whether welfare indicators are influenced by...
In animal studies on bone healing, the effect of housing space and physical activity are seldom taken into account. Bone formation was evaluated in New Zealand White rabbits (mean ± SEM BW: 3.9 ± 0.11...
Examining the literature suggests equine personality is of interest to behavior and welfare scientists and those involved in the equine industry. Study and assessment of personality is critical because of the profound implications certain traits...
Horses reared for meat production can be kept in intensive breeding farms where they are housed in group pens at high stocking densities. The present study aimed to evaluate whether the expressed behaviours correlated with...
Calvarial bone surgery on rabbits is frequently performed. This report aims to document a simple and practical anaesthetic and perioperative management for this procedure. Fourteen male New Zealand white rabbits were included in the study...
Individual animal personalities affect experiences of zoo environments, and thus potentially welfare. Incorporating keeper knowledge of animal personality in a reliable way has great value in optimising welfare in zoo-housed animals. Assessment of animal personality...
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...
Elizabethan collars (E-collars) are commonly used in various species to safeguard healing wounds. However, E-collars inadvertently restrict the expression of normal species-typical behaviors, including coprophagy, self-grooming, and social housing. To maintain social housing in accordance...
Collection of blood from pregnant mares for extraction of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) is a critical but relatively unknown and poorly regulated practice in the countries in which it occurs. Equine chorionic gonadotropin is a...
Guinea pigs are a commonly used model for tuberculosis vaccine research. Loss of body weight is the most frequently described humane endpoint for animals used in these studies. During a chronic study, we noted labored...
Myxoma virus is a member of Leporipoxviridae whose tropism is tightly restricted to lagomorphs. In susceptible Oryctolagus rabbits, the virus causes a highly lethal disease known as myxomatosis, which begins as a localized infection but...
A number of mutilating procedures, such as dehorning in cattle and goats and beak trimming in laying hens, are common in farm animal husbandry systems in an attempt to prevent or solve problems, such as...
The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent (and now Rabbit) Welfare Group held a one-day meeting on 1 November 2016 at the University of Edinburgh and was attended by 70 delegates. Presentation topics included refinements in blood sampling rodents...
The average survival rate for our Zebrafish (ZF) embryos was 65%. When it was time to create our next generation of Wild Type (WT) (used for embryo production), we decided to run a trial focussing...
In order to determine whether a combination of guaiphenesin, ketamine and xylazine can induce safe and satisfactory anaesthesia in mules undergoing field castration, eight healthy adult intact male mules were employed. They were premedicated with...
When engaging in procedures that horses may find aversive, restraint methods are often used to help ensure safety of both horse and handler. Twitching is a common restraint method, but its use is sometimes considered...
For anyone who has housed rabbits in an artificial plastic environment, what to provide as a nonfood enrichment can be an issue. Nonfood enrichment, or environmental enrichment, can be any toy, engaging sights or sounds...
This report is based on discussions and submissions from an expert working group consisting of veterinarians, animal care staff and scientists with expert knowledge relevant to the field. It aims to facilitate the implementation of...
Fish have the same stress response and powers of nociception as mammals. Their behavioural responses to a variety of situations suggest a considerable ability for higher level neural processing – a level of consciousness equivalent...

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