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. 

Failing to provide hamsters with a method to wear down their teeth can lead to detrimental behaviour such as bar chewing, and health issues, for example, overgrown teeth and tooth loss. However, hamsters use their...

Our social relationships determine our health and well-being. In rodent models, there is now strong support for the rewarding properties of aggressive or assertive behaviors to be critical for the expression and development of adaptive...

Relocating laboratory animal research from one animal facility room to another in advance of major renovations can be a daunting task for scientists and animal care personnel alike. This is especially so regarding controlled lighting...

Hamsters have historically been used in our pharmacokinetic (PK) studies using the retro-orbital (RO) bleeding technique to collect blood samples. If performed incorrectly, this technique has the potential for animal welfare complications not usually seen...

The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the...

Larval, or tadpole-stage Xenopus laevis frogs are a popular research model for developmental biology and disease studies. Existing euthanasia guidance documents offer recommendations for both eggs and adult stages, yet do not specifically address the...

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...

Husbandry staff set a goal to develop a health monitoring program for a Xenopus laevis colony that included not only specific pathogen freedom, but wellness. This article describes environmental enrichment and a water recipe for...

Xenopus laevis have a unique process for consuming food. They lack a tongue and must utilize inertial suction, jaw prehension, forearm scooping, overhead kicking, and terrestrial lunges when hunting prey. The mechanism by which Xenopus...

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...

Demarking individual animals within a group is often required in research. However, the process of invasive tagging induces stress and if a tag becomes detached it may wound the animal and/or prevent identification. Photo identification...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is commonly used to kill rodents. However, a large body of research has now established that CO2 is aversive to them. A multidisciplinary symposium organized by the Swiss Federal Food Safety and...

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...

It is vital to provide appropriate nutrition to maintain healthy populations in conservation breeding programs. Knowledge of the wild diet of a species can be used to inform captive diet formulation. The nutritional content of...

The Critically Endangered mountain chicken frog (Leptodactylus fallax) has undergone drastic population decline due to habitat loss, hunting, invasive species, and chytridiomycosis. In response, several partner institutions initiated a conservation breeding program. It is important...

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.

Often few alternative anesthetics for exotic species are available, due to the small numbers of these animals used in research. In this study, we evaluated the depth and duration of anesthesia in Xenopus laevis after...

Xenopus tropicalis is an increasingly important animal model in a variety of biological research fields. In many countries legislation exists to promote and increase welfare wherever possible, including the ability to view animals during daily...

The keeping of exotic pets is currently under debate and governments of several countries are increasingly exploring the regulation, or even the banning, of exotic pet keeping. Major concerns are issues of public health and...

Although Syrian hamsters are thought to be naturally solitary, recent evidence from our laboratory demonstrates that hamsters may actually prefer social contact. Hamsters increase their preference for a location associated with an agonistic encounter regardless...

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...

Laboratory animals are still necessary in scientific investigation and vaccine testing, but while novel methodological approaches are not available for their replacement, the search for new, humane, easy, and painless methods is necessary to diminish...

Various animal models are indispensible in biomedical research. Increasing awareness and regulations have prompted the adaptation of more humane approaches in the use of laboratory animals. With the development of easier and faster methodologies to...

The captive environment of a laboratory animal can profoundly influence its welfare and the scientific validity of research produced. The African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) is a common model organism, however current husbandry guidelines lack...

Covering species-typical behavior as well as abnormal/malfunctional behavior and stereotypes observed in mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils, this is an excellent resource for those looking to implement or enhance an existing behavioral husbandry and enrichment...

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