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. 
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
The present study assessed the diurnal variation in salivary cortisol in captive African elephants during routine management (baseline) and in relation to a potential stressor (translocation) to evaluate to what extent acute stress may affect...
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...
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...
This article describes the rehoming of 10 laboratory female rabbits now living as a group in a private shelter.
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...
The aim of this study was to assess hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that were subjected to relocation and surgery to evaluate HPA-axis activity; in addition, we used this marker...
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...
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...
To investigate how long relocation modified hair cortisol concentrations in New Zealand white rabbits, 19 rabbits were subjected to a change in their breeding facility at the beginning of the trial and then were kept...
Biotelemetry can contribute towards reducing animal numbers and suffering in disciplines including physiology, pharmacology and behavioural research. However, the technique can also cause harm to animals, making biotelemetry a ‘refinement that needs refining’. Current welfare...
This is the third volume of discussions that took place on the Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum (LAREF). This forum is dedicated to the exchange of personal experiences of refining the conditions under which...
The concentration of glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) in rabbit faeces has been suggested as a non-invasive indicator of stress. In the present study, GCM concentrations were measured in faeces of fattening rabbits kept in groups of...
The RSPCA/UFAW Rodent Welfare Group holds a one-day meeting every autumn so that its members can discuss current welfare research, exchange views on rodent welfare issues and share experiences of the implementation of the 3Rs...
The physiologic and anatomic structure of rabbits can cause high mortality rates in rabbit oral gavage. Rabbits are capable of a wide variety of jaw movement due to 3 jaw-closing muscle groups (masseter, temporalis, pterygoid)...
The report sets out how to provide: optimal enclosure characteristicsand size; social housing; solid flooring and substrate; raised areas; refuges; gnawing objects and dietary enrichment; positive interaction with humans; toys and objects to manipulate; for...
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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