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. 

While recent work has assessed how environmental and managerial changes influence elephant welfare across multiple zoos, few studies have addressed the effects of management changes within a single institution. In this paper, we examine how...

The introduction of elephants into new groups is necessary for breeding programmes. However, behavioural studies on the reactions of these animals at first encounters are missing. In the present study, female African elephants (Loxodonta africana)...

Responses to stress are unavoidable, adaptive mechanisms in humans and non-human animals. However, in humans, chronic stress has been linked to poor health outcomes and early mortality. Allostatic load, the physiologic dysregulation that occurs when...

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate SC administration of alfaxalone-midazolam and dexmedetomidine-midazolam for sedation of ball pythons (Python regius). ANIMALS: 12 healthy juvenile ball pythons. PROCEDURES: In a randomized crossover study, each snake was administered a combination of...

The welfare status of elephants under human care has been a contentious issue for two decades or more in numerous western countries. Much effort has gone into assessing the welfare of captive elephants at individual...

Previous research has shown that competition, familiarity, diet, and relatedness can all influence aggregation patterns in garter snakes. We controlled for these factors and examined social aggregation patterns in juvenile Eastern garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis...

Anolis lizards have served as important research models in fields ranging from evolution and ecology to physiology and biomechanics. However, anoles are also emerging as important models for studies of embryo development and tissue regeneration...

Modern zoos strive to improve standards of animal management, husbandry and welfare of their animals as part of a continual evaluation process. Elephants (Elephantidae) have received particular attention in recent years due to the challenge...

Ensuring good health and welfare is an increasingly important consideration for conservation of endangered species and includes breeding of individuals managed under human care. Understanding how factors in the captive environment affect individual animal wellbeing...

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate SC administration of 2 sedation protocols, ketamine-midazolam (KM) and alfaxalone-midazolam (AM), in African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris). ANIMALS: 9 healthy adult hedgehogs (5 males, 4 females). PROCEDURES: A randomized, blinded, complete crossover...

OBJECTIVE: To characterize induction and recovery characteristics of 3 commonly used inhalant anesthetics in prairie rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis): isoflurane, sevoflurane, and desflurane. ANIMALS: 12 healthy adult prairie rattlesnakes. PROCEDURES: In a randomized crossover design, snakes...

Nineteen raccoons were enrolled in this study. The aim was to evaluate and compare the quality of anesthesia and the cardiorespiratory effects following treatment with a ketamine-based combination with either dexmedetomidine (KD group) or midazolam...

The captive environment can limit some important behavioral options for nonhuman animals, which often results in decreased welfare. The companion of a conspecific can be a source of complexity in captivity, but this aspect has...

Elephants have complex social systems that are predominantly driven by ecological factors in situ. Within zoos, elephants are held in relatively static social groups and the factors observed driving social relationships in the wild are...

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...

Zoos play a vital role in managing and conserving a wide range of threatened species and in enhancing their populations in natural habitats through captive breeding and reintroduction programmes. Most small felids are poor breeders...

A recent large-scale welfare study in North America involving 106 Asian (Elephas maximus) and 131 African (Loxodonta africana) elephants at 64 accredited facilities identified links (i.e., risk factors) between zoo environmental factors and a number...

The European hedgehogs may require the use of chemical restraint for clinical examination because of their tendency to roll up as a defensive behaviour. Inhalant anaesthetics have been used to immobilise different small wildlife mammals...

The Andean bear alopecia syndrome is a progressive and chronic condition documented in ex situ populations. Recent advances focus on treating symptoms, not preventing future cases. We therefore explored the epidemiology of this syndrome through...

This study aimed to evaluate the applicability of rodent behavioral tests to assess the effects of midazolam and flumazenil in green iguanas. Four tests commonly used to assess sedation in rodents—the open field test, forced...

Stereotypic behavior in zoo elephants is considered an indicator of impaired welfare. The underlying causes are diverse and many aspects are still unexplored. Nevertheless, many zoological institutions take huge efforts to improve the well-being of...

As the number of Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) in captivity increases, an understanding of captive social dynamics and behavior is becoming increasingly important. In the wild, devils are solitary, although sometimes, they congregate to feed...

"When you keep adult Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) males, adult Cynomolgus (Macaca fascicularis) males or adult Vervet males (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), in the same enclosure, is it advisable to have the canines of the males blunted...

Nest building is an advanced and complex activity that wild orangutans engage in, yet they do so on a daily basis and with potential safety consequences. Like their wild counterparts, zoo-housed orangutans also make nests...

Compared to other megafauna managed in zoos and aquariums, the current state of welfare for the Nile hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) is poorly understood. Complex behavior and physiological characteristics make hippos a difficult species to manage...

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