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. 

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...

Research to assess the relationship between cats and humans is in a nascent stage. Some studies have assessed the stress status in cats using physiological indicators, such as the cortisol hormone, but have not focused...

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...

Routine handling has been shown to affect stress levels in a variety of animal species. This could result in a general decrease in welfare and may confound the results of scientific experiments or observations on...

Chronic exposure to stressful environments can negatively impact cats' health and welfare, affecting behavioral, autonomic, endocrine, and immune function, as with cats in shelters. Low-stress handling practices likely improve shelter cat welfare, but data supporting...

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...

As pets are considered members of the family, their health has received widespread attention. Since pets cannot talk and complain when they feel uncomfortable, monitoring vital signs becomes very helpful in disease detection, as well...

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...

This article describes the care of central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) as well as Pygmy bearded dragons (Pogona henrylawsoni). It includes information on housing, feeding, handling and sexing technique, as well as the general health...

Capybaras, also known as “water pigs,” are the world’s largest rodent. Although these animals are closely related to guinea pigs, with a shoulder height of approximately 2 ft, coarse brown fur, and partially webbed feet...

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...

Reptiles are popular as pets and it is, therefore, important to understand how different aspects of housing and husbandry impact on their behaviour and welfare. One potential cause of stress in captive reptiles is interaction...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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.

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...

Marmota monax is a valuable laboratory animal species used in studies of Hepatitis B virus (HBV), food intake, obesity, hibernation, and circannual cycles. This article describes the woodchuck’s (also known as groundhog) natural behavior and...

The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) originates from the solitary living African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). However, through domestication, the domestic cat has become more social towards conspecifics and group housing of cats is common...

The separate influences of spatial density and housing quality on the behavior of captive animals are difficult to measure because the two factors are often intrinsically linked. Here, we recorded affiliative and agonistic behavior in...

Reduced space can lead to crowding in social animals. Crowding increases the risk of agonistic interactions that, in turn, may require additional physiological defensive coping mechanisms affecting health. To determine the stress induced from increased...

As research subjects, cats have contributed substantially to our understanding of biological systems, from the development of mammalian visual pathways to the pathophysiology of feline immunodeficiency virus as a model for human immunodeficiency virus. Few...

While clinical reptile medicine as a science is in its ascendancy among veterinary surgeons and other interested groups, familiarity with the often related issue of reptilian behavioural and psychological health appears less common. Behavioural change...

Traditional techniques used to capture New World monkeys, such as net capture, can induce high levels of acute stress detrimental to welfare. Alternatively, training nonhuman animals via operant conditioning to voluntarily participate in husbandry and/or...

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