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. 

Infra-red thermography (IRT) is increasingly being used to estimate physiological stress responses in animals via changes in eye surface temperature. The aim of this study was to determine whether eye temperature of harbour seals (Phoca...

Yangtze finless porpoises use high-frequency clicks to navigate, forage, and communicate. The way in which click production may vary depending on social or environmental context has never been investigated. A group of five captive Yangtze...

Despite the use of Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) in research, little is known about the evaluation of pain in this species. This study investigated whether the frequency of certain behaviors, a grimace scale, the treat-take-test...

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...

Animals are likely to appraise events as positive or negative based on their subjective perception, current state and past experiences. We tested the effects of anticipating positive (food anticipation), negative (inaccessible food) and neutral (clicker...

Captive welfare studies in odontocete species have been mostly conducted on bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) while the welfare of many other species’ -including endangered species- remains poorly studied. More research is needed to find and...

Outdoor and extensive farming systems allow animals to behave in a natural way and are often perceived as welfare friendly. Nonetheless, the natural environment poses multiple challenges to the welfare of animals, sometimes hampering their...

Ensuring that laboratory rodent pain is well managed underpins the ethical acceptability of working with these animals in research. Appropriate treatment of pain in laboratory rodents requires accurate assessments of the presence or absence of...

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...

Rabbits are the third species in terms of number of animals reared for meat production in the world. However, in comparison to other species, very few studies have focused on their welfare. The aim of...

Modern day zoos and aquariums continuously assess the welfare of their animals and use evidence to make informed management decisions. Historically, many of the indicators of animal welfare used to assess the collection are negative...

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small and highly conserved non-coding RNA molecules that orchestrate a wide range of biological processes through the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. An intriguing aspect in identifying these molecules as biomarkers is...

The measurement of pain in animals is surprisingly complex, and remains a critical issue in veterinary care and biomedical research. Based on the known utility of pain measurement via facial expression in verbal and especially...

Until now, most research has focused on the development of indicators of negative welfare, and relatively few studies provide information on valid, reliable, and feasible indicators addressing positive aspects of animal welfare. However, a lack...

The assessment of hoof conformation is important due to its recognized relationship with the biomechanical functionality of the hoof. Hoof conformation can be assessed using objective measures or subjective scores. However, to date, there are...

This article describes the rehoming of 10 laboratory female rabbits now living as a group in a private shelter.

The purpose of this study was to quantitatively assess gait characteristics and weight-bearing forces during ambulation in goats free of lameness using a pressure-sensing walkway as a biometric tool for stride, gait, and force analysis...

In the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of zoo-based touchscreen studies of animal cognition around the world. Such studies have contributed to the field of comparative cognition despite the...

This second edition is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists...

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...

This research investigated whether using qualitative behaviour assessment (QBA) with a fixed list of descriptors may be related to quantitative animal- (ABM) and resource-based (RBM) measures included in the AWIN (Animal Welfare Indicators) welfare assessment...

Many animals display a suite of increased vigilance and/or activity responses in relation to upcoming events, termed “anticipatory behavior.” Anticipatory behavior toward positive events has been suggested as a cross‐species measure of affective state as...

Repeated injections in rats and mice are typically done via the tail vein. For hamsters, the tail is not an option. In this paper we explore the development and refinement of IV dosing in the...

There are no proven species-specific indicators of pain in harbour seals (Phoca vitulina). The analysis of facial expressions has proven to be a repeatable, accurate and valid method of identifying pain in multiple species, but...

Marine mammals include cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians, sea otters and polar bears, many of which are charismatic and popular species commonly kept under human care in zoos and aquaria. However, in comparison with their fully terrestrial...

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