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...
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) are an economically and ecologically important fish species that interact with humans during farming, fishing and research operations. Routine handling in nets exposes fish to mesh and causes scale loss. To...
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...
Gastrointestinal stasis is a common perianaesthetic complication in rabbits. The objective of this study was to assess the impact on gastrointestinal transit time of ketamine–midazolam (KMZ) versus ketamine–medetomidine (later antagonised by atipamezole) (KMT-A) in rabbits...
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...
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...
Rabbits are prone to complications from both anaesthesia and anxiety. Given that anxiety can often impact quality of anaesthesia, we developed a novel cage-side anxiety assessment, and sought to determine whether it correlated to pre-...
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...
In this review, we focus primarily on the refinement of common methods used in fish research based on emerging knowledge with the aim of improving the welfare of fish used in scientific studies. We consider...
The number of fish used in research has increased in the last decades. Anaesthesia is required when fish must be held immobile and it is crucial to promote fish welfare, because these vertebrates can show...
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 revised fifth edition of Clinical Laboratory Animal Medicine: An Introduction is an accessible guide to basic information for conducting animal research safely and responsibly. It includes a review of the unique anatomic and physiologic...
Aquatic vertebrates and cephalopods, amphibians, reptiles, and birds offer unique safety and occupational health challenges for laboratory animal personnel. This paper discusses environmental, handling, and zoonotic concerns associated with these species.
Fish are the second most widely utilized vertebrate group used for scientific procedures in the United Kingdom, but the development and application of 3Rs (the principles of replacement, reduction, and refinement) in aquaculture disease research...
The aim of this study was to evaluate a total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA) protocol using propofol and sufentanil without neuromuscular blocking agents (NBAs) for a non-recovery lung pathology study in rabbits including 10 h of...
Handling and restraining rabbits for routine procedures may be impossible without prior sedation, result in unnecessary stress or injury to the rabbit or handler, and increase experimental variability. Parenteral administration of sedatives can cause stress...
Local anesthetics are an integral part of routine pain management in mammals, yet their use is relatively limited in fish, amphibians and reptiles. These animals frequently undergo potentially painful surgical procedures and therefore could possibly...
Specific positioning for different imaging modalities is essential in our small animal imaging core. While we have different animal holders designed to position the animal inside the MRI, additional securing of the animal to the...
Clinical Laboratory Animal Medicine: An Introduction, Fourth Edition offers a user-friendly guide to the unique anatomy and physiology, care, common diseases, and treatment of small mammals and nonhuman primates. Carefully designed for ease of use...
The authors describe various methods of handling and restraining rabbits, and propose that while many methods are appropriate, rabbits respond better if only one method is used consistently.
Routine laboratory procedures can be stressful for laboratory animals. We wanted to determine whether human handling of adult rabbits could induce a degree of habituation, reducing stress and facilitating research-related manipulation. To this end, adult...
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...
COST Action B-24 established four working groups to research and discuss issues relevant to laboratory animal science. These included the housing of animals, environmental needs, refinement of procedures, genetically modified animals, and cost-benefit analysis. Based...
This article provides details to consider when preparing to use animals in biomedical research. The stress of transport and receipt of animals into a new environment mandate the need for a period of stabilization and...
Expanding on the National Research Council’s Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, this book deals specifically with mammals in neuroscience and behavioral research laboratories. It offers flexible guidelines for the care of...

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