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AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia

(Formerly Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia)

_________________________________

June 2007

AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia (Formerly Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia) _________________________________ June 2007 Caution

Caution - The AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia (formerly the 2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia) have been widely misinterpreted. Please note the following:

The guidelines are in no way intended to be used for human lethal injection.

The application of a barbiturate, paralyzing agent, and potassium chloride delivered in separate syringes or

stages (the common method used for human lethal injection) is not cited in the report. The report never mentions pancuronium bromide or Pavulon, the paralyzing agent used in human lethal injection.

AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia (Formerly Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia)

Table of Contents

PREFACE

1

INTRODUCTION

1

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

3

4

HUM AN BEHAVIORAL CONSIDERATIONS

4

MODES OF ACTION OF EUTHANATI ZING AGENTS

5

INHALANT AGENTS

6

INHALANT ANESTHETICS

6

CARBON DIOXIDE

7

NITROGEN, AR GON

9

CARBON MONOXIDE

9

NONINHALANT PHARM ACEUTICAL AGENTS

11

BARBITURIC ACID DERIV ATIVES

11

PENTOBARBITAL COMBINATIONS

11

CHLORAL HYDR ATE

11

T-61

12

TRICAINE METHANE SULFONATE (MS 222, T MS)

12

POTASSIUM CHLORIDE IN CONJUNCTION WITH PR IOR GENERAL ANESTHES IA

12

UNACCEPTABLE INJECTAB LE AGENTS

12

PHYSICAL M ETHODS

12

PENETRATING C APTIVE B OLT

13

EUTHANAS IA BY A BLOW TO THE HEAD

13

GUNSHOT

13

CERVIC AL DISLOC ATION

14

DECAPITATION

14

E LECTROCUTION

15

MICROWAVE IRRAD IATION

15

T HORACIC (CARDIOPULMONARY, CARDIAC) COMPRESSION

16

KILL TR

16

MACERATION

17

ADJUNCTIVE METHODS

17

Exsa nguination

17

Stunning

17

Pithing

17

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

18

EQUINE EUTHANASIA

18

AN IM ALS INTENDED FOR HUMAN OR ANIM AL FOOD

18

E U T H A N A S I A O F N O N C O N V E N T I O N A L S P E C I E S : ZOO, WILD, AQUATIC, AND ECTOTHERMIC ANIM ALS

18

Zoo Animals

18

Wildlife

19

Diseased, Injured, or Live -Ca ptured Wildlife or Feral Species

19

Birds

20

Amphibians, Fish, and Reptile s

20

Marine Mammals

21

EUTHANAS IA OF ANIM ALS RAISED FO R FUR P R O D UC TIO N

21

PRENATAL AND NEONATAL EUTHANAS IA

22

MASS EUTHANAS IA

22

AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia (Formerly Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia)

Table of Contents

POSTFACE

22

REFERENCES

23

APPENDIX 1—AGENTS AND M ETHODS OF EUTHANASIA BY SPECIES

28

APPENDIX 2—ACCEPTABLE AGENTS AND M ETHODS OF EUTHANASIA

30

APPENDIX 3—CONDITIO NALLY ACCEPTAB LE AGENTS AND M ETHODS OF EUTHANASIA

32

APPENDIX 4—SOM E UNACCEPTABLE AGENTS AND M ETHODS OF EUTHANASIA

35

PREFACE

At the request of the Americ an Veterinar y Medical Associatio n’s ( AVM A) Co uncil on Researc h, the Executive Board of the AVMA convened a Panel on Euthanasia in 1999 to review and make necessary revi­

be interpreted a nd understood b y a br oad se gme nt o f the ge ner al population, a ve terinarian should be consulted in the application of these recommendations. The practice of veterinary medicine is complex and involves diverse

sio n s to t he fi ft h P a ne l Re p o rt,

p ub l is he d

i n

1 9 9 3 .

  • 1 animal specie s. Whene ver possible, a veterinarian experienced with the specie s in que stion sho uld be consulted when selecting the method of euthanasia, particularly when little species-specific euthanasia research has been done. Altho ugh interpretation a nd use of these guidelines cannot be limited, the AVM A’s overriding co mmitment is to give veterinaria ns guidance in relie ving pain and suffer ing of animals that are to be euthanatized. The recommendations in these guidelines are intended to serve as guidance for veterinarians who must then use professio nal judgme nt in applying them to the various settings where animals are to be euthanatized.

INTRODUCTION

T h e t e r m e u t h a n a s i a i s d e r i v e d f r o m t h e G r e e k

ter ms eu mea ning good and thanatos meaning death. 2 A “ g o o d d e a t h ” wo u l d b e o n e t h a t o c c u r s wi t h mi n i ma l pain and distress. In the co ntext of these guidelines, eutha na sia is the act o f inducing huma ne death in an animal. It is o ur re spo nsib ility a s veterinaria ns a nd huma n b eings to ensure that if an animal’s life is to be

taken, it is done wi t h t he h i g h e st d e gr e e o f r e sp e c t, a nd

wi t h a n e mp h a sis on ma king the

death as painle ss a nd

distress free as p o s s i b le . E u t h a n a s i a t e c h n i q u e s s h o u ld

r e s u l t i n r a p id loss

cardiac or respiratory

of conscio usness follo wed b y a rr e st a nd t h e u lt i ma te lo s s o f

b r a in f u nc tio n. I n a d d i tio n, the te c hniq ue sho uld mini mize distre ss a nd a nxi ety e xperienced b y the animal prior to loss of conscio usne ss. The pa nel reco gniz ed tha t the ab se nce o f pain a nd distress ca nnot alwa ys be achie ved. These guidelines attempt to balance the ideal o f minimal pain a nd distress with the reality o f the many e nvironme nts in which e uthana sia is performed. A veterinarian with appropriate training and expertise for the species involved should be consulted to ensure that proper procedures are used. Cri te ri a fo r p a i nle s s d e a t h c a n b e e sta b li s he d o n l y after the mec ha nisms o f pain a re understood. Pain is that sensation (perception) tha t results fro m nerve imp ulse s reaching the cerebral cortex via asce nding ne ural pathwa ys. Under nor mal circ umsta nces, the se pathwa ys are relatively specific, but the nervous system is sufficie ntly plastic that a ctivatio n of nociceptive pathwa ys does not a lwa ys re sult in pain and stimula tion

T he R e p o rt o f t he 2 0 0 0 AV M A P a ne l o n E ut h a n a s ia wa s p ub l is he d i n t h e J o u rn a l o f th e A m e r ic a n Ve te rin a ry Me d ic a l As so c ia t io n . 2 1 6 I n t h a t v e r s i o n o f t h e r e p o rt , t h e p a n e l u p d a te d i n fo r ma t io n o n e u th a na sia o f a n i ma ls i n r e s e a r c h and animal care and control facilities; expanded informa t i o n o n e c to t h e r mi c , a q u a t ic , a n d f u r - b e a ri n g a n i ma l s ; a d d e d i n f o r ma t i o n o n h o r s e s a n d wi l d l i f e ; a n d deleted methods or age nts considered unacceptable. Because the panel’s deliberations were based on currently available scientific information, some euthanasia methods a nd a ge nts ar e no t d isc ussed. In 2006, the AVM A Exec utive Board approved a recomme ndation tha t the AVMA conve ne a panel of scientists at least o nce ever y 10 years to review all literature that scientifically evaluates methods a nd potential methods of e utha nasia for the purpose of producing AVMA Guideline s on Eutha nasia. During interim years, requests for inclusio n of ne w or altered eutha na sia procedures or agents in the AVMA Guidelines o n Eutha nasia ar e directed to the AVM A Animal Welfare Co mmittee (AWC). Re visions are based on a thorough evaluation of the a vailable scie nce and require Executive Board approval. The first interim revision, approved in 2006, is the addition of a physical method (maceratio n) for euthana sia of chic ks, poults, and pipped eggs. Sub stantive interim additions in the Guidelines are indicated b y te xt tha t is underlined. W e l fa r e i s s ue s a r e i nc r e a si n gl y b e i n g id e n ti fi e d i n

the ma na geme nt of free-ra nging wildlife, and the need f o r h u ma n e e u t h a n a s i a g u i d e l i n e s i n t h i s c o n t e x t i s g r e a t. C o l le c t io n o f a n i ma l s f o r s c ie n t i fi c i n v e s t i g a ­ t i o n s , e u t h a n a s i a o f i n j u r e d o r d i s e a s e d w i l d l i f e species, removal o f animals c ausing dama ge to property or threatening human safety, and euthanasia of anima l s i n e x c e s s p o p u l a t io n a r e d r a wi n g mo r e p u b l i c attentio n. These issue s are ackno wled ged in the se guideline s and special consid erations are described for handling a n i ma l s u n d e r fr e e -r a n g i n g c o n d i t io n s ,

wh e r e t h e i r needs are far different fro m dome stic counterparts.

those of their

T

h e se g u i d e li n e s a r e i n t e nd e d f o r u s e b y me mb e r s

o f t h e veterinar y professio n who carry out or oversee

the euthanasia of animals. Although the guidelines may

of other (non-nociceptive) peripheral and ce ntral neurons can give rise to pain. The term nociceptive is derived from the word noci meaning to injure and cep­ tive mea ning to receive, a nd is used to describe neur o na l inp u t c a u se d b y no x io u s sti mu l i, wh i c h t hr e a te n to, or actually do, destroy tissue. These noxious stimuli initiate ner ve imp ulse s b y acting a t primar y noci ceptors and other sensor y ner ve endings that respond to noxious and no n-noxious stimuli fro m mec hanica l, thermal, or chemical activity. Endogenous chemical substa nce s suc h as hydroge n ions, potassium ions, ATP, serotonin, histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins, as well as electrical currents, are capable of generating nerve impulses in nociceptor nerve fibers. Activity in no c i c e p t i ve p a th wa ys c a n a l s o b e tri g ge r e d i n no r ma l ­ ly sile nt receptors that beco me se nsitized b y chronic pain conditions. 3,4 Nerve impulse activity ge nerated by nociceptors is conducted via nociceptor primar y a ffere nt fibers to the sp ina l cord o r the bra instem wher e it is tra nsmitted to t wo g e n e r a l se t s o f n e u r a l n e t wo r k s . O n e s e t i s r e l a t e d t o n o c i c e p ti v e r e fl e x e s ( e g , wi t h d r a wa l a n d fl e x i o n reflexes) that are mediated at the spinal level, and the second set consists of ascending pathways to the reticular for matio n, hypothalamus, thalamus, and cerebral cortex (somatosensory cortex and limbic system) for sensor y processing. It is importa nt to understand that

ascending nociceptive pathwa ys are numerous, ofte n r e d u n d a n t , a n d a r e c a p a b le o f c o n s id e r a b l e p la s t i c it y

u n d e r c h r o n i c

c o n d i t i o n s ( p a t h o l o g y o r i n j u r y ) .

Moreover, even the transmission of nociceptive ne ural

activity in a given pathway is highly variable. Under c e r ta i n c o nd i t io n s , b o t h t h e n o c i c e p ti v e r e fl e x e s a n d t h e a s c e n d i n g p a t h wa ys ma y b e s u p p r e s s e d , a s , f o r example, in epidural a nesthe sia. Under another set of conditions, nociceptive re fle x actions ma y occur, but activity in the asce nding pathwa ys is suppressed; thus,

n o x i o u s s t i m u l i a r e

r e c t to u se t he te r m

n o t p e r c e i v e d

a s p a i n . I t i s i n c o r ­

p a i n fo r sti mu li, r e c e p to r s, r e fle x ­

es, or pathwa ys beca use the ter m implies perception, wh e r e a s a l l t h e a b o v e ma y b e a c t i v e wi t h o u t c o n s e ­ que ntia l p ain per cep tio n. 5, 6 Pain is divided into two broad categories: (1) sen­ sor y-discriminative, whic h indicates the site of origin and the stimulus giving rise to the pain; a nd (2) moti­ vational-a ffective in which the severity o f the stimulus is perceived and the animal’s response is determined. S e n s o r y - d i s c r i m i n a t i v e p r o c e s s i n g o f n o c i c e p t i v e impulses is most likely to be accomplished by subcor­ tical and cortical mechanisms similar to those used for processing other sensor y-disc riminative input that pro­

vide s the ind ivid ual with infor matio n abo ut the inte n­

sity, duration, location, and quality of the stimulus. Motivationa l-a ffective processing involve s the a scend ­ i n g r e t i c u l a r f o r ma t i o n f o r b e h a v i o r a l a n d c o r ti c a l aro usa l. It also invo lve s tha lamic inp ut to the foreb ra in and the limbic system for perceptions such as discom­ fort, fear, anxiety, and depression. The motivational- affec tive ne ural networks also have strong inputs to the l i mb i c s ys t e m, h yp o t h a l a mu s a n d t h e a u t o n o mi c n e r ­ vous system for refle x activa tion of the cardiovasc ular, pulmo nar y, a nd pituitar y-adr enal systems. Re sponses

a c t i v a t e d b y t h e s e s y s t e

m s f e e d b a c k t o t h e f o r e b r a i n

a n d e n h a n c e p e r c e p t io n s d e r i v e d v i a mo t i v a t io n a l -

affec tive inp uts. On the basis of ne urosurgical e xperi­ ence in huma ns, it is possible to separate the sensor y- d i s c r i mi n a t i v e c o mp o n e n t s fr o m t h e mo t i v a t i o n a l - a ffe ctive co mpo ne nts o f p ain. 7 For pain to be experienced, the cerebral cortex and subcortical str uctures must be functio nal. If the cere bral cortex is nonfunc tional because of hypo xia, depression by drugs, electric shock, or concussion, pain is not experienced. Therefore, the choice of the e uthana sia agent or method is less critic al if it is to be used on an animal that is ane sthe tized or unco nscio us, provided that the animal does not regain co nsciousness prior to death. A n u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e c o n t i n u u m t h a t r e p r e ­

sents stress and distress is essential for evalua ting tec h­ n i q u e s t h a t mi n i mi z e a n y d i s t r e s s e x p e r ie n c e d b y a n

a n i ma l b e i n g e u t h a n a t i z e d . St r e s s

h a s b e e n d e fi n e d a s

the e ffect o f physical, physiologic, or emotio nal factors (stressors) that induce a n a lteration in a n animal’s homeostasis or adaptive state. 8 The response of an ani­ ma l t o s t r e s s r e p r e se n t s t h e a d a p t i v e p r o c e s s t h a t i s ne ce ssa r y to re store the ba se line me nta l a nd p hysio lo g­ ic state. These response s ma y involve cha nges in a n animal’s neuroendocrinologic system, autonomic ner­ vous system, a nd mental status that ma y result in overt b e h a v io r a l c h a n g e s . An a n i ma l ’s r e s p o n s e v a r ie s according to its experience, age, species, breed, and curre nt p hysiolo gic a nd p syc holo gic state. 9 Str e s s a nd t he r e s ult i n g r e sp o n se s ha ve b e e n d i vid ­ ed into three p hases. 10 Eustr ess results when har mless stimuli initiate adaptive responses that are beneficial to t h e a n i ma l . N e u t r a l s tr e s s r e s u l t s wh e n t h e a n i ma l ’s respo nse to stimuli ca use s ne ither har mful no r be ne fi­ cial effects to the animal. Distress results when an ani­ mal’s response to stimuli interferes with its well-being and co mfort. 11 As with ma ny other procedures involving a nimals, so me methods of e utha nasia require physical handling of the a nima l. The amount of control and kind of

restraint required will be deter mined b y the a nimal’s species, breed, size, state of domestication, degree of taming, presence of painful injur y or disea se, degree of excitement, and method of euthana sia. Proper handling is vital to minimize pain and distress in animals, to ensure sa fety of the person perfor ming e utha nasia, a nd, ofte n, to pro tec t o the r peo ple and a nima ls. An in-depth discussion o f e uthana sia procedures is

b e yo nd t he sc o p e o f t he se g uid e li ne s; ho we v e r, p e rso n ne l who perfor m euthana sia must have appropriate certific a tio n a nd tr a i ni n g, e xp e rie nc e wi t h th e te c h n iq u e s to be used, and experience in the

huma ne

restraint

of

the

s p e c i e s

o f

a n i ma l

t o

b e

e u t h a n a t i z e d , to e n s u r e t h a t a n i m a l p a i n a n d d i s t r e s

s

a r e m i n i m i z e d d u r i n g e utha na sia. Training a nd

experience should include f a mi l i a r i t y wi t h t h e n o r ma l

b e h a v io r o f t h e s p e c i e s b e i n g e u t h a n a t i z e d , a n a p p r e c i a t i o n o f ho w h a n d l i n g and re stra int a ffec ts tha t be ha vior, a nd a n understa nd ing of the mec ha nism b y whic h the se lected technique induce s loss of consciousne ss and death. Prior to being assigned full responsibility for perfor ming eutha na sia, a l l p e r s o n n e l

m u s t h a v e d e

m o n s t r a t e d p r o f i c i e n c y i n the use o f the

technique in a closely supervised environment. Refere nces provided at the end of this docume nt ma y b e use ful for tra ining pe rso nne l. 12-21 Selection o f the most appropriate method of

e u t h a n a s i a i n a n y g i v e n s i t u a t i o n d e p e n d s o n t h e species of animal involved, available means of animal restraint, skill o f personnel, number of animals, and other considerations. Available information focuses primarily on do mestic a nima ls, but the same ge neral considerations sho uld be applied to all species. T h e se g u i d e l i n e s i n c l u d e fo u r a p p e nd i c e s t h a t s u m ma rize infor mation fro m the text. Appendix 1 lists acceptable a nd co nd itio na lly a cce ptable me thod s o f eutha na sia, categorized b y sp ecies. Appendices 2 and 3 provide summa rie s o f c har ac teristics fo r acc ep tab le a nd co nditionally acceptable methods of e utha na sia. Appendix 4 provides a summary of so me unacceptable eutha na sia a gents a nd methods. Criteria used for acceptable, conditionally acc eptable, and unacceptable methods are as follo ws: acce ptable me thods are tho se that consistently p r o d u c e a h u m a n e d e a t h wh e n u s e d a s t h e s o l e m e a n s o f e u t h a n a s i a ; c o n d i t io n a l l y a c c e p ta b le me t h o d s a r e those technique s that b y the nature of the technique or because of greater potential

for

operator

error

or safety h a z a r d s mi g h t n o t

c o n s i s t e n t l y p r o d u c e h u ma n e d e a t h or are methods not well documented in the scientific l i t e r a t u r e ; a n d u n a c c e p t a b l e t e c h n iq u e s a r e t h o s e me t h o d s d e e me d

i

n h u ma n e

f o u n d

p o s e d

a p p l y i n g

u n d e r

t h e

a n y

c o n d it i o n s

o r r i s k T h e

t h a t t o

t h e t h e

p a n e l

h u m a

n a l s o

a

s u b s ta n t i a l t e c h n i q u e .

g u i d e l i n e s

i

n c l u d e

d i s c u s s io n

o f

s e v e r a l

a d j u n c ti v e

me t h o d s ,

w h i c

h a r e t

h o

s e m e t h o d s t h a t c a n n o t b e u s e d a s t h e

sole method of e utha nasia, b ut that can be used in con­

j u n c t io n wi t h death.

o t h e r

me t h o d s

t o

p r o d u c e

a h u ma n e

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

I n

e v a l u a t i n g

m e t h o d s o f e u t h a n a s i a , t h e p a n e l

used the follo wing criteria: (1) ability to induce loss of

c o n s c i o u s n e s s a

n d

d e a t h

w i t h o u t c a u s i n g p a i n , d i s ­

t r e s s , a n x i e t y, o r a p p r e h e n s io n ; ( 2 ) ti me r e q u ir e d

to

ind uc e lo s s o f c o n sc io us ne s s; ( 3 ) r e l ia b i lit y; ( 4 ) sa f e t y

of personnel; (5) irreversibility; (6) co mpatibility with

r e q u i r e me n t a n d

p u r p o s e ;

( 7 )

e mo t i o n a l e ff e c t o n

o b se r v e r s o r o p e r a to r s ; ( 8 ) c o mp a t i b il i t y wi t h s u b s e ­

q u e n t e v a l u a t io n , e x a mi n a t i o n , o r

u s e

o f

t i s s u e ;

( 9 )

drug availability a nd huma n abuse potential; (10) com­

patibility with species, a ge, and health status; (11) abil­

i

t y t o m a i n t a i n e q u i p m e n t i n p r o p

e r w o r k i n g o r d e r ;

a n d ( 1 2 ) s a f e t y f o r p r e d a t o r s / s c a v e n g e r s s h o u l d

t h e

carcass be consumed.

 

T he

p a ne l d is c us se d t he d e fi n it io n

o f e ut ha n a s ia

used in these guideline s as it applies to circumsta nces

whe n the degree o f control over the a nimal ma kes it

diffic ult to e nsure death without pain and

distress.

Slaughter of animals for food, fur, or fiber may represent such situa t i o n s . H o we v e r , t h e s a me s t a n d a r d s f o r e u t h a n a s i a should be applied to the killing of anima ls

for

food,

fur,

or

fiber, and

wildlife or feral a nimals.

Animals intend e d fo r fo o d s h o u l d b e s la u g h t e r e d h u ma n e l y, t a k i n g i n t o a c c o u n t a n y s p e c i a l

2 2

r e q u i r e me n t s o f t h e U S D e p a r t me n t o f Ag r i c u l t u r e . P a i n l e s s d e a t h c a n b e achieved by properly stunning the animal, follo wed i m m e d i a t e l y b y e x s a n g u i n a t i o n .

H a n d l i n g o f a n i ma l s prior to

slaughter should be as

stress free as possible. Electric prods or other devices should not be used to e ncour age mo veme nt of anima ls and are not needed if c hute s and ramps are properly designed to enable anim a l s t o b e m o v e d a n d

r e s t r a i n e d w i t h o u t u n d u e stress. 23-27 Animals must not be restrained in a painful position before slaughter.

E t h i c a l

c o n s i d e

r a t i o n s

t h a t

m u s t

b e

a d d r e s s e d

whe n e utha natizing healthy and

un

wanted

a nimals

reflect professional and societal concerns.28,29 These

s s u e s a r e c o m p l e x a n d wa r r a n t t h o r o u g h c o n s i d e r a tion by the profession and all those concer ned

i

with the we l f a r e o f a ni m a ls. W he r e a s t he p a n e l

r e c o g n iz e d t he ne ed for tho se r e spo nsib le for the

(eg, wildlife, zoo, and feral species), the degree o f

restraint required to perform any eutha nasia procedure

t i l e

s ti mu l a t i o n . W h e n s t r ug g l i n g

d u r i n g c a p t u r e o r

restr aint ma y ca use pa in, inj ur y, or a nxie ty to the a ni­

mal or danger to the operator, the use of tranquilizers,

eutha na sia o f a nimals to be cognizant of these issues, it did not believe t h a t i t s r e p o r t w a s t h e a p p r o p r i a t e f o r u m f o r a n i n - depth d isc ussio n o f this top ic . It is the intent of AVM A that eutha nasia be per­

s h o u l d b e c o n s id e r e d wh e n e v a l u a t i n g v a r i o u s me t h ­ ods. When ha ndling these a nimals, calming ma y be a c c o mp li s he d b y mi n i mi z i n g vi s ua l, a ud i to r y, a nd ta c ­

formed in accordance with applicable federal, state, and

local laws governing drug acquisition and storage, occu­

pational safety, and methods used for eutha nasia a nd

disposal of a nimals. Ho wever, space does not per mit a

a n a l g e s i c s , a nd /o r a n e s t h e tic s ma y b e n e c e s s a r y. A

r o u t e o f i n j e

c t i o

n s h o u l d b

e c h o s e n t h a t c a u s e s t h e

review of curre nt federal, state , and local regulatio ns. The panel was aware that circumsta nces ma y arise

l

e a s t d i s t r e s s i n t

h e a n i m a l f o r wh i c h e u t h a n a s i a m u s t

be performed. Vario us tec hniques for oral deliver y of

s e d a ti v e s t o d o g s a n d

c a t s h a v e b e e n d e s c ri b e d t h a t

ma y be use ful und er the se c ir cu msta nce s. 30,31

kno wled ge of clinically acceptable techniq ues in select­

that are not clearly covered b y its report. Whenever suc h

situa tions arise, a veterinarian experienced with the

species sho uld use professional judgme nt and

Facial e xpressions a nd bod y postures that indicate

v

a r i o u s

e m o t i o n a l

s t a t e s

o f

a n i m a l s

h a v e b e e n

ing a n appropriate eutha nasia technique. Professiona l judgme nt in the se circumstances will ta ke into consid ­

described for some species. 32-37 Behavioral and physio­

l

o g i c r e sp o n s e s t o no x i o u s s t i mu l i i n c l u d e d i s tr e s s

vocalization, str uggling, attemp ts to escape, defensive

or redirected aggression, sa livation, urinatio n, defeca­

t i o n , e v a c u a ti o n o f a n a l sa c s , p u p i l l a r y d i l a t a t io n ,

i n j e c t a b l e o r i n h a l a n t a g e n t m a y a p p e a r d e a d , b u t

eration the animal’s size and its species-specific physi­

ologic and beha vioral chara cteristics. I n all circ um­

stances, the euthanasia method should be selected and

used with the highest ethical standards and social con­ science. It is imperative that death be verified after eutha na sia a nd b e for e dispo sal o f the a nima l. An a ni­ mal in deep narcosis follo wing ad ministration o f a n

might eve ntually recover. De ath must be confirmed b y examining the a nima l for cessation of vital signs, and

tachycardia, sweating, and reflex skeletal muscle con­ tractions causing shivering, tremors, or other musc ular spasms. Unconscious as well as conscious animals are capable of some of these responses. Fear can cause immobility or “playing dead” in certain species, partic­ ularly rabbits and chic ke ns. This immobility response s h o u l d n o t b e i n t e r p r e te d a s l o s s o f c o n s c io u s n e s s

  • c o n s i d e r a t i o n g i v e n t o t h e a n i m a l s p e c i e s a n d

when the animal is, in fact, conscious. Distress vocal­

i

z a t io n s , f e a r f u l b e h a v io r, a nd r e l e a se

o f c e r ta i n o d o r s

m e t h o d of euthana sia whe n deter mining the criteria for

confirming death.

ANIMAL BEHAVIORAL CONSIDERATIONS

T h e n e e d t o m i n i m i z e a n i m a l d i s t r e s s , i n c l u d i n g

or pheromone s b y a frightene d animal ma y cause anx­ iety and apprehension in other animals. Therefore, for se n sit i ve sp e c ie s, it is d e sir a b le t h a t o t he r a n i ma l s no t be present whe n individua l animal eutha nasia is per­

HUMAN BEHAVIORAL CONSIDERATIONS

W h e n a n i ma l s m u s t b e e u t h a n a t i z e d , e i t h e r a s

for med.

fear, anxie ty, and apprehension, must be considered in determining the me thod of e utha na sia. Gentle restraint (preferably in a familiar and safe environment), careful

handling, and talking during eutha nasia ofte n ha ve a

  • c a l mi n g e ff e c t o n a n i ma l s t h a t a r e u s e d to b e i n g

h a n ­

individ uals or in larger group s, moral a nd ethical co n­

dled. Seda tio n a nd /or a ne sthesia ma y a ssist in ac hie v­ ing the best conditio ns for e utha na sia. It must be rec­

e r n s d i c t a t e t h a t h u m a n e p r a c t i c e s b e o b s e r v e d . Human psyc hologic response s to eutha nasia of animals

c

need to be considered, with grief at the loss o f a life as

o g niz e d t ha t a n y s e d a t iv e s o r a ne st h e ti c s g i ve n a t t hi s stage tha t c hange c irculatio n ma y dela y the onset o f the eutha na sia age nt. Preparation of observers should also be ta ke n into co nsid era tio n. Animals that are wild, feral, injured, or already dis­ tr e s se d fr o m d i se a se p o se a n o the r c ha lle n ge . Me t ho d s o f p r e - e u t h a n a s i a h a n d l i n g su i t a b le f o r d o me s t i c a n i ­ mals ma y not be effective for them. Because handling m a y s t r e s s a n i m a l s u n a c c u s t o m e d t o h u m a n c o n t a c t

t h e mo s t c o m mo n r e a c t i o n . 3 8 T h e r e a r e s i x c i r c u m ­ stance s under which the panel was most aware of the effec ts of a nima l e utha na sia o n p eop le. The first of these is the veterinar y clinical se tting where o wners have to ma ke decisions about whether and whe n to eutha natize. Although ma ny o wners rely heavily on their veterinarian’s judgment, others ma y ha ve misgivings abo ut ma king the ir o wn d ec isio n. This

is particularly likely if an owner fee ls responsible for

allo wing a n a nima l’s med ic al or beha vior al prob le m to go unatte nded so that e utha nasia beco mes nece ssar y. When o wners choose to be present during e uthana sia, the y should be prepared for what will happen. What

d r u g s a r e b e i n g u s e d a n d

h o w t h e a n i m a l c o u l d

respond should be disc ussed. Behaviors suc h as vocal­ ization, muscle t witc hes, failure of the e ye lids to clo se, urination, or defeca tion can be distressing. Co unseling services for grieving owners are now available in some communitie s 39 and telephone counseling is a vailable through so me veterinar y sc hools. 40,41 Owners are not the only people affec ted by eutha nasia of animals. Ve ter inaria ns a nd their sta ffs ma y a lso beco me a ttac hed to patients the y ha ve kno wn a nd treated for many years and ma y continue to str uggle with the ethical implica ­ tions of e nding an a nimal’s life. The second is a nimal care and control facilities where unwanted, homeless, diseased, and injured ani­ mals must be eutha natized in large numbers. Distress ma y de velop amo ng personne l directly involved in per­ for ming e utha nasia repeatedly. Emotional uneasine ss, disco mfort, or distress experienced by people involved with eutha nasia of a nima ls ma y be minimized. The person performing eutha nasia must be technica lly pro­ ficie nt, use huma ne ha ndling methods, understand the reasons for eutha nasia, a nd be familiar with the m e t h o d

o f e u t h a n a s i a b e i n g e m p l o y e d ( i e , w h a t i s g o i n g t o

h a p p e n t o t h e a n i m a l ) . W

h e n t h e p e r s o n i s not

kno wled geable about what to expect, he or she ma y mistake nly interpret any moveme nt of a nimals as consciousne ss and a lack of mo veme nt as loss of con­ sciousness. Methods that preclude moveme nt of a nima ls are more ae sthe tica lly a ccep ta ble to mo st te c hni cal staff even though lac k of movement is not an adequate criterion for evaluating eutha nasia tec hniques. Co nsta nt exposure to, or participation in, eutha nasia procedures can cause a psychologic state characterized by a strong

sense of wor k dissatisfac tion or alienation, wh ic h ma y b e e xp r e s se d b y a b se nt e e i s m , b e ll ig e r e nc e , o r c a r e le s s a nd c a l lo us ha nd l in g o f a n i ma ls. 42 T hi s is one o f the principal reasons for tur nover of emp lo yees directly involved with repeated anima l eutha nasia. Mana geme nt should be aware of pote ntial p ersonnel problems related

to animal eutha nasia

a nd determine wh e t h e r i t i s

n e c e s s a r y t o i n s t i t u t e a p r o g r a m t o p r e vent, decrease,

or eliminate this problem. Specific coping strate gie s ca n make the task more tolerable . So me strategies include adequate training programs so that e utha nasia is performed co mpetently, peer support in the workplace, professional support as necessar y, focusing on animals

that are successfully adopted or returned to o wners,

devoting

so me wor k time to e duc a t io n a l a c t i vit ie s, a nd

p r o vid i n g ti me o ff wh e n wo r k ers feel stressed. The third setting is the la boratory. Researchers, technicians, a nd students ma y beco me a ttached to ani­ mals that must be euthanatized. 43 The same considera­ t i o n s a ff o r d e d p e t o wn e r s o r s h e l t e r e mp l o ye e s s h o u l d be provided to tho se working in labo ra torie s. T h e f o u r t h s i t u a ti o n i s wi l d l i f e c o n tr o l . W i ld l i f e biologists, wildlife mana gers, and wildlife health pro­ fe s sio na l s a r e o ft e n r e sp o n si b le fo r e ut h a n a t iz i n g a ni ­ mals that are injured, disease d, in exce ssive number, or that threate n property or human sa fety. Altho ugh relo ­ cation of so me anima ls is a ppropriate and attempted, relocation is ofte n o nly a temporary solutio n to a larger problem. People who must deal with the se anima ls,

e s p e c i a l l y u n d e r p ub l i c p r e ss u r e t o s a v e t h e a n i ma l s r a t he r t ha n d e str o y t he m, c a n e xp e rie nc e e x tr e me d i s ­ tress and anxiety. The fifth se tting is livestoc k and poultr y slaughter facilities. The large number of animals processed daily can take a heavy toll on employee s physically a nd emo­ tionally. Federal and state a gricultural emplo yees ma y

a l s o b e i n v o l v e d i n

ma s s e u t h a n a s i a o f p o u l tr y a n d

livestock in the face o f disease outbreaks, bioterrorism, and na tur al d isa sters. The last situation is public exposure. Because eutha na sia o f zoo animals, a nimals involved in roadside or racetrack accidents, stranded marine animals,

n u i s a n c e o r i n j u r e d

wi l d l i f e , a n d o t h e r s c a n d r a w

p u b l i c a t t e n t i o n , h u m a n a t t i t u d e s a n d r e s p o n s e s should be considered whe ne ver animals are eutha na­ tized. Natural disasters and foreign animal disease programs also present public challe nges. These con­ siderations, ho we ver, should not outweigh the primar y responsibility of using the mo st rapid and painless eutha na sia me thod possible under the circumsta nces.

MODES OF ACTION OF EUTHANATIZING AGENTS

Eutha natiz ing a gents ca use death b y three basic mechanisms: (1) hypoxia, direct or indirect; (2) direct depression of ne urons nece ssary for life function; and

( 3 ) p h ys ic a l d i sr up t io n o f b r a i n

a c ti vi t y a nd d e str uc ­

tion of ne urons nece ssar y for life.

A g e n t s

t h a t

i n d u c e

d e a t h

b y

d i r e c t

o r

i n d i r e c t

hypoxia can act at various sites and can cause loss of c o n s c io u s n e s s a t d i ff e r e n t r a t e s . F o r d e a t h t o b e p a i n ­ less and distress-free, loss of consciousness should pre-

cede loss of motor activity ( muscle moveme nt). Loss of mo tor activity, ho wever, cannot be equated with loss of

c

o n s c io u s n e s s a n d

a b s e n c e

o f

d i s t r e s s .

T h u s ,

a g e n t s

t h a t i n d u c e mu s c l e p a r a l ys i s wi t h o u t l o s s o f c o n ­

s c i o u s n e s s a r e no t a c c e p t a b l e a s so l e a g e n t s f o r eutha na sia (eg, depolarizing and no ndepolarizing mus­

c

l e r e l a x a n t s , s t r y c h n i n e , n i c o t i n e , a n d m a g n e s i u m

s a l t s ) . W i t h o t h e r t e c h n i q

u e s

t h a t

i n d u c e

h y p

o x i a ,

so me animals ma y have mo tor activity follo wing loss of consciousness, but this is reflex activity and is not per­ ceived b y the a nimal. A second group o f e utha na tizing a ge nts depress nerve cells o f the brain, ind ucing loss of co nscio usness follo wed by death. Some of these agents release inhibi­ tio n o f mo tor activity d uring the first sta ge o f a ne sthe ­ sia, resulting in a so-called exciteme nt or delirium phase, during whic h there ma y be vocalization a nd so me muscle contraction. These response s do not appear to be purposeful. Death follo ws loss o f consciousness, and is attributable to cardiac arrest and/or hypo xemia

follo wing direct depression of respiratory centers. Physical disr uption of brain activity, caused b y

o n c u s s i o n , d i r e c t d e s t r u c t i o n o f t h e b r a i n , o r e l e c t r i ­ cal depolarization of ne urons, ind uces rapid loss of

c

consciousne ss. Death occurs because of destructio n of midbrain ce nters controlling cardiac and respiratory activity or as a re sult of adjunctive methods (eg, e xsa n­ guinatio n) used to kill the a nimal. Exa ggerated muscular activity can follo w loss of conscio usness and, a l t h o u g h t h i s m a y d i s t u r b s o m e o b s e r v e r s , t h e a n i m a l is not experiencing pain or distress.

 

INHALANT AGENTS

 
 

Any gas that is inhaled must reach a certain con­

centration

in

the

alveoli be fore

it

ca n

be

effective;

t h e r e f o r e , e u t h a n a s i a

wi t h a n y o f t h e s e a g e n t s

ta k e s

s o

m e

t i m e .

T

h e

s u i t a b i l i t y

o f

a

p a r t i c u l a r

a g e

n t

d

e p e n d s

o n

 

wh e t h e r

a n a n i ma l

e x p e r i e n c e s

d i s t r e s s

betwee n the time it begins to inhale the agent and the time it lose s consciousne ss. So me a gents ma y induce convulsions, but these generally follow loss of con­ sc io u s ne ss. Age n ts i nd uc i ng c o n v ul sio n s p r io r to lo ss of co nsc io usne ss are una cce ptable for e utha na sia . Certain co nsiderations are commo n to all inhala nt a g e n t s . ( 1 ) I n mo s t c a s e s , o n s e t o f l o s s o f c o n s c io u s ­

ness is more rapid, and e uthanasia more humane, if the a n i m a l i s r a p i d l y e x p o s e d t o a h i g h c o n c e n t r a t i o n o f t h e a g e n t . ( 2 ) T h e e q u i p me n t u s e d t o d e l i v e r a n d

ma i n t a i n t h i s

h i g h

c o n c e n t r a t io n mu s t

b e

i n

g o o d

wo r k i n g o r d e r a nd i n c o mp li a nc e wi t h s ta t e a nd f e d e r ­

al regulatio ns. Lea ky or faulty equip me nt ma y lead to slo w, d i s tr e s s f ul d e a t h a nd b e ha z a r d o u s to o t he r a ni ­

mals and to personnel. (3) Most of these a ge nts are hazardous to personnel beca use of the risk of explo sions (eg, ether), narcosis (e g, ha lothane), hypoxemia (eg, nitroge n and carbon mono xide), addiction (eg, nitrous

oxide), or health e ffects resulting fro m c hronic exposure (eg, nitrous oxide and carbon mono xide). (4) Alveolar concentrations rise slowly in an animal with decreased ventilation, making agitation more likely d u r i n g

i n d u c t i o n . O t h e r n o n i n h a l a n t m e t h o d s o f e utha na sia

should be considered for such animals. (5) a n i m a l s a p p e a r t o b e r e s i s t a n t t o h yp o because all inhalant age nts ultimate ly cause

N e o n a t a l x i a , and h y p o x i a ,

n e o n a t a l a n i m a l s t a k e l o n g e r t o d i e t h a n adults. Glass et al, 44 reported that newborn dogs, rabbits, and

guinea pigs sur vived a nitroge n atmo sphere much longer than did adults. Dogs, at 1 week old, survived for 14 minute s co mpared with a 3-minute sur vival time after a

few weeks of age. Guinea pigs survived for 4.5 minutes at 1 da y old, co mpared with 3 minutes at 8 da ys or older. Rabbits survived for 13 minutes at 6 da ys old, 4

minute s at 14 da ys, and 1.5 minutes at 19 da ys a nd older. The panel recomme nde d that inhala nt a gents not

be used alone in anima ls le ss th a n to i nd u c e lo s s o f c o n sc io us n e s s,

1 6 we e ks o ld e x c e p t

fo llo we d b y t he u se

o f so me o t he r me t ho d to kil l the a nimal. (6) Rapid gas

flo ws can produce a noise that frightens animals. If high flows are required, the equip ment should be designed to minimize noise. (7) Animals placed together in

chambers

sho uld be of the s a me s p e c i e s , a n d , i f

n e e d e d , s h o u l d b e r e s t r a i n e d s o that the y will not

hurt

themselves or others. Chambers should not be overloaded and need to be kept clean to minimize odors

that might distress a nimals subse quently eutha natized. (8) Reptiles, amp hibia ns, a nd diving birds a nd mammals

have

a

great capacity for h o l d i n g t h e i r b r e a t h a n d

a n a e r o b i c m e t a b o l i s m . Therefore, inductio n of

anesthesia a nd time to loss o f consciousne ss when using inha lants ma y be greatly pro lo nged . Other te c hniq ue s ma y be mor e app ropria te for these specie s.

INHALANT ANESTHETICS

Inhala nt a nesthetic s (eg, ether, halothane, methoxyflura ne, isoflurane, se voflurane, desflura ne, a nd

enflura ne) ha ve been use d to eutha natize ma ny species. 45 Halothane ind uces anesthesia rapidly a nd is the most effective inhalant anesthetic for euthanasia. Enflurane is less soluble in blood than halothane, but, because of its lo wer vapor pressure and lower potency,

ind uc tio n r a te s ma y

b e si mi l a r to t ho se fo r ha lo t ha ne .

At deep anesthetic planes, animals may seizure. It is an effec tive age nt for eutha nasia, but the associated seizure activity ma y be disturbing to personnel. Isoflurane is less soluble tha n halothane , and it should ind uce anesthesia more rapidly. Ho we ver, it has a slightly

pungent odor and animals often hold the ir b r e a t h ,

  • d e l a y i n g o n s e t o f l o s s o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s . Isoflurane also ma y require more drug to kill an animal, co mpared

with ha lotha ne. Altho ugh iso flurane is acceptable as a eutha na sia age nt, ha lotha ne is preferred. Sevoflura ne is less soluble tha n ha lotha ne and does not ha ve an objectionable odor. It is less potent than isoflura ne or

halotha ne a nd has a lo wer vapor p r e ss ur e . An e s t he t ic

  • c o nc e n tr a tio ns c a n b e a c hi e v e d and maintained rapidly. Desflura ne is c urrently the le ast soluble potent inhala nt

anesthetic, but the vapor is quite punge nt, which ma y

slo w ind uction. This drug is so volatile that it co uld

displace oxyge n (O2) and i n d u c e

h y p o x e m i a d u r i n g

  • i n d u c t i o n i f s u p p l e m e n t a l O2 is not pro vided .

Metho xyflura ne is highly solub le, and slo w ane sthe tic inductio n with its use ma y be accompa nied b y a gitatio n. It is a conditionally acceptable agent for euthanasia in rodents. 46 Ether has high solubility in blood and induces anesthesia slowly. It is irritating to the eyes and nose, poses serious risks associated with its flammability and explosiveness, and has been used to create a model for

stress. 47-50 W i t h i n h a l a n t a n e s t h e t i c s , t h e a n i m a l c a n b e placed in a closed receptacle containing cotton or gauze soaked with a n appropriate amo unt of the anest h e t i c , o r t h e a n e s t h e ti c c a n b e i n t r o d u c e d fr o m a vaporizer. The latter method may be associated with a longer induction time. Vapors are inhaled until respiration ceases a nd death ensue s. Be cause the liquid state o f

5 1

  • m o s t i n h a l a n t a n e s t h e t i c s i s i r r i t a t i n g , a n i m a l s should be exposed only to va pors. Also, sufficie nt air or O2 must be provided during the inductio n period to prevent hypoxemia. 51 I n the case of small rodents p la c e d i n a la r ge c o nta i ne r, t he r e wi ll b e s u ffic ie nt O 2 in the chamber to prevent hypoxemia. Larger species p la c e d i n s ma ll c o nt a i ne r s m a y ne e d s up p le me nta l a ir or O2. 51

N i t r o u s

o x i d e

( N 2O )

m a y

b e

u s e d

wi t h

o t h e r

inha lants to speed the onse t of ane sthesia, b ut alo ne it

does not induce ane sthe sia in animals, even at 100%

  • c o n c e n tr a t io n . W h e n u s e d b y i t s e l f, N 2 O p r o d u c e s

h yp o x e mi a b e f o r e r e sp ir a to r y o r c a r d i a c

a rr e s t . As a

result, a nimals ma y beco me distressed prior to loss of consciousne ss. Occupational exposure to inhala nt ane sthe tics

  • c o n st it ut e s a h u ma n h e a l t h h a z a r d . Sp o n ta ne o u s a b o r ­

tion a nd congenital ab nor malities ha ve been associated

with e xposure of wo men to tr ace amounts of inhala tion anesthetic a ge nts d uring early sta ges of pregna ncy. 52 Regarding human exposure to inha lant ane sthet ics, the concentratio ns o f ha lotha ne, enflura ne, and isoflurane should be less than 2 pp m, and less than 25 ppm for

nitrous oxide. 52 There are no controlled stud ies proving that such concentrations of anesthetics are safe, but the se concentratio ns were established because the y were found to be attainable under hospital conditions. Effec tive procedures must be used to protect personnel fro m ane sthetic vapors. Advantages—(1) Inhala nt anesthetics are particu­

la rl y v a l ua b l e fo r

e ut ha na s ia o f s ma l le r a ni ma ls ( < 7

kg) or for a nimals in whic h venipuncture ma y be diffi­ cult. (2) Halothane, e nflura ne, isoflurane, se voflura ne,

desflurane, methoxyflura ne, a nd N2O are nonflamma ble and none xplosive under ordinary e nvironmental

conditions. Disadvantages—(1) Animals ma y str uggle and b e c o m e a n x i o u s d u r i n g i n d u c t i o n o f a n e s t h e s i a because ane sthetic vapors ma y be irritating and ca n induce exc itement. (2) Ether is flammable and explosive. Explosions have occurred when animals, euthanatized with ether, were placed in an ordinar y (not explosion proof) refrigerato r or freezer and whe n bagged a nimals were place d in a n inc inerator. (3) Induction with methoxyflurane is unacceptably slo w in some species. (4) Nitrous oxide will support combustio n. (5) Personnel and animals can be injured by exposure to these a ge nts. (6) There is a potential for huma n ab use o f so me o f the se dr ugs, e spe cially N2O. R e c o m m e n d a t i o n s —I n o r d e r o f p r e f e r e n c e , halotha ne, enflurane, isoflurane, se voflurane,

m e t h o x y f l u r a n e ,

a n d

d

e s f l u r a n e , w i t h o r w i t h o u t

n i t r o u s o x i d e , a r e a c c e p ta b le f o r e u t h a n a s i a o f s ma l l

animals (< 7 kg). Ether should only be used in care fully controlled situations in compliance with state and federal occupational hea lth a nd safety regulations. It is

c o nd i tio na ll y a c c e p ta b l e . N it r o u s o xid e s ho u ld no t b e

u s e d

a lo n e , p e n d i n g f u r t h e r

s c i e n t i fi c s t ud i e s o n i t s

suitability for animal euthanasia. Although acceptable, t h e s e a g e n t s a r e g e n e r a l l y n o t u s e d i n l a r g e r a n i ma l s beca use o f the ir co st a nd difficulty o f ad ministra tio n.

CARBON DIOXIDE

Roo m air contains 0.04% carbon dioxide (CO2), w h i c h i s h e a v i e r t h a n a i r a n d n e a r l y o d o r l e s s . Inhalation of CO2 at a conce ntration of 7.5% increa ses the pain threshold, and higher concentratio ns o f CO 2

have a rapid anesthetic e ffect. 53-58

Lea ke and Waters 56 reported the experime ntal use o f

CO 2 a s a n a n e s t he t ic a ge n t f o r d o gs . At c o nc e ntr a tions

of 30% to 40% CO2 in O2, anesthesia was induced within

1 to 2 minute s, usually witho ut struggling, retching, or vomiting. For cats, inhalation of 60% CO2 results in loss of conscio usness within 45 seconds, and re sp ira tor y arre st within 5 minute s. 59 Signs o f e ffe ctive CO2 anesthesia are tho se associated with deep surgical anesthesia, suc h as loss of withdrawal and palpebral reflexes. 60 Time to loss of consciousness is decreased by

u s e o f h i g h e r c o n c e n t r a t i o n s o f C O 2

w i t h

a n 8 0

t o

100% concentration providing anesthesia in 12 to 33 seconds in rats and 70% CO2 in O2 inducing a nesthe sia in 4 0 to 5 0 se c o nd s. 6 1, 62 T i m e to lo s s o f c o n sc io u s ness

will be longer if the conce ntration is increa sed slo wly rather than immersing the animal in the full concentratio n immediately. Several inve stigators have sugge sted tha t inhala tion of high conce ntrations of CO2 ma y be distressing to animals, 63-66 because the gas dissolves in moisture on the nasal mucosa. The re sulting product, carbonic acid, ma y stimula te nociceptors in the nasal mucosa. So me huma ns e xposed to concentrations of around 50% CO2 report that inhaling the gas is unplea sant and that higher

concentratio ns are no xious. 67, 68 A brief stud y of swine examined the aversive nature of CO2 e xposure69 a nd

fo u nd t ha t 9 0 % CO 2 wa s a v e rsi ve to

p i gs wh i le 30%

was not. For rats, exposure to increasing concentrations of CO2 (33% achieved after 1 minute) in their ho me cage produced no evident stress as measured by be havior and

ACT H, glucose, and corticosterone concentr atio ns in ser u m. C a r b o n d i o x i d e h a s b e e n u s e d t o e u t h a n a t i z e groups of small laboratory a nimals, including mice, rats, guinea pigs, c hicke ns, and rabbits, 5,71-76 and to rend e r

70

s wi n e u nc o n sc io u s

b e fo r e h u ma ne sla u g h te r. 22, 6 3, 64

The combination of 40% CO2 and approximately 3 % carbon mo noxide (CO) has been used experime ntally for euthana sia of dogs. 65 Car bon dioxide has been used in specially designed c hambers to euthanatize individual cats 77,78 and other sma ll laboratory a nimals. 51,72,79 St ud ie s o f 1 -d a y- o ld c hi c k e n s ha ve r e v e a le d t ha t CO2 is an effective eutha natizing a gent. Inhalatio n of CO2 caused little distress to the birds, suppressed ner­ vous activity, a nd induced death within 5 minutes. 73 Because respiration begins during embryonic develop­ ment, the unhatc hed chic ke n’s e nvironment ma y nor­ mally have a CO2 concentration as high as 14%. Thus, CO2 conce ntrations for euthanasia of newly hatc hed chicke ns and neonate s of other species should be espe­ cially high. A CO2 co ncentration of 60% to 70% with a

5-minute exposure time appears to be optimal. 73 In studies o f mink, high c oncentratio ns o f CO2 would kill them quickly, but a 70% CO2 concentration induced loss of co nscio usness without killing them. 80 So me burro wing animals, suc h as rabbits of the species Oryctolagus, also have prolonged survival times when exposed to CO2. 81 Some burrowing and diving animals have physiologic mecha nisms for coping with hyper ­ capnia. Therefore, it is necessary to have a sufficient concentratio n of CO2 to kill the anima l b y hypoxemia fo llo wing ind uc tio n o f a ne sthesia with CO2. A d v a n t a g e s — ( 1 ) T h e r a p i d d e p r e s s a n t , a n a l g e s i c , and anesthetic effects of CO 2 are well established. (2) Carbon dioxide is readily a vailable a nd can be p ur­ chased in co mpressed gas c ylinders. (3) Carbon dioxide is ine xpensive, no nflammable , nonexplosive, and poses minimal hazard to personne l when used with properly designed equip ment. (4) Carbon dioxide does not result in accumulation o f tissue re sidues in food-p r o d u c i n g a n i m a l s . ( 5 ) C a r b o n d i o x i d e e u t h a n a s i a does not distort murine c holiner gic markers 82 or corticosterone concentratio ns.83 Disadvantages—(1) Because CO2 is hea vier than air, inco mplete filling of a chamb er ma y per mit a nimals to climb or raise their he ads above the higher c o n c e n t r a t i o n s a n d a v o i d e x p o s u r e . ( 2 ) S o m e species, suc h as fish and burrowing and diving

m a m m a l s , m a y h a v e e x t r a o r d i n a r y t o l e r a n c e f o r CO2. (3) Reptiles and amp hibians ma y breathe too s l o wl y f o r t h e u s e o f C O 2. ( 4 ) E u t h a n a s i a b y e x p o ­ s u r e t o C O 2 m a y t a k e l o n g e r t h a n e u t h a n a s i a b y

o t h e r m e a n s . 6 1 ( 5 ) I n d u c t i o n o f l o s s o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s at lo wer conce ntrations (< 80%) ma y produce pul­ m o n a r y a n d u p p e r r e s p i r a t o r y t r a c t l e s i o n s . 6 7 , 8 4 ( 6 )

H i g h c o n c e n t r a t i o n s o f C O

2

m a y

b e

d i s t r e s s f u l

t o

so me anima ls. Recommendations—Carbon dioxide is acceptable for euthanasia in appropriate species (Appendices 1 and 2). Compressed CO2 gas in cylinders is the only recom­ me nded so urc e o f c arbo n dio xide be ca use the inflo w to the chamber can be regulated precisely. Carbon dioxide generated b y other me thods suc h a s fro m dr y ice, fire extinguishers, or chemical means (eg, antacid s) is unacceptable. Specie s should be separated and chambers should not be overcrowded. With an animal in the chamber, an optimal flo w rate should displace at least 20% of the chamber volume per minute. 85 Lo ss of con­ sciousness ma y be induced more rapidly b y e xposing animals to a CO2 co ncentration of 70% or more b y pre- fi ll i ng t he c h a mb e r fo r sp e c ie s i n wh i c h t h is ha s no t been sho wn to ca use distre ss. Ga s flo w sho uld be

maintained for at least 1 minute after apparent clinical death. 86 It is important to verify that an animal is dead

b e f o r e r e mo v i n g i t fr o m t h e

c h a m b e r . I f a n a n i m a l i s

not dead, CO2 narcosis must be follo wed with another method of eutha nasia. Adding O2 to the CO2 ma y or ma y not preclude signs of distress.67,87 Additional O2 will, ho we ver, prolong time to death and ma y co mpli­ cate deter mination o f consciousne ss. There appears to be no ad va nta ge to co mb ining O2 with c arbo n dio xid e for eutha na sia. 87

NITROGEN, ARGON

N i t r o g e n ( N 2 ) a n d a r g o

n ( Ar ) a r e c o l o r l e s s , o d o r ­

less gase s that are inert, no nflammable, and no nexplo ­ s i v e . N i tr o g e n c o mp r i se s 7 8 % o f a t mo s p h e r ic a ir , whereas Ar co mprise s less tha n 1%. Eutha nasia is induced b y placing the anima l in a closed container that ha s been prefilled with N 2 or Ar or into which the gas is then rapidly introduced. Nitrogen/Ar displaces O2, thus inducing death b y hypoxemia. In studies b y Herin e t al, 88 dogs became unconscious within 76 seconds whe n a N2 concentration of 98.5% wa s achie ved in 45 to 60 seconds. The elec­ troencephalogram (EEG) became isoelectric (flat) in a mean time of 80 seconds, and arterial blood pressure wa s undetectable at 204 seconds. Altho ugh all dogs hyperve ntilated prior to loss of consciousne ss, the

i n v e s t i g a t o r s

c o n c l u d e d

t h a t

t h i s

m e t h o d

i n d u c e d

death witho ut pain. Follo wing loss of conscio usness, v o c a l i z a t i o n , g a s p i n g , c o n v u l s i o n s , a n d m u s c u l a r tremors developed in so me dogs. At the e nd of a 5­ minute e xposure period, all dogs were dead. 88 These findings were similar to those for rabbits 89 and mink. 80,90 With N2 flo wing at a rate o f 39% of chamber vol­ ume per minute, rats colla psed in approximate ly 3 minute s a nd stopped breathing in 5 to 6 minute s. Regardless of flo w rate, signs of panic and distress were e v i d e n t b e f o r e t h e r a t s c o l l a p s e d a n d d i e d . Inse nsitivity to pain under such circ umsta nces is q ues­ tionable. 91

8 5

T r a n q u i l i z a t i o n

wi t h a c e p r o ma z i n e , i n c o n j u n c ­

tion with N2 eutha nasia of dogs, wa s investigated b y Quine et al. 92 Using ECG a nd EEG recordings, the y found the se dogs had muc h longer survival time s than dogs not give n a cepro maz ine befo re ad ministra tio n o f N2. In one dog, ECG activity continued for 51 minutes. Quine a lso addr e ssed d istr e ss asso ciated with e xpo sur e to N2 by removing cats and dogs from the chamber fol­ lo wing loss o f consciousne ss and allo wing them to recover. When these animals were put back into the

chamber, the y did not appear afraid or apprehensive. Inve stiga tions into the a versivene ss of Ar to swine

and poultr y have re vealed tha t these a nimals will toler ­ a te b r e a t h i n g 9 0 % Ar wit h 2 % O 2 . 69, 7 1 S wi n e vo l u nt a ri ly e ntered a c hamb e r co nta ining this mixture, for a food reward, and only withdrew fro m the c hamber as the y became ataxic. They ree ntered the chamber immediately to continue eating. Poultr y also entered a chamber containing this mixture for a food reward and continued eating until the y c ollapsed. 71 When Ar wa s used to eutha natize chicke ns, exposure to a chamber pre filled with Ar, with a n O2 co nce ntra tio n o f < 2 %, led to EEG changes and collapse in 9 to 12 seconds. Birds

mo v e d fr o m t h e c h a m b e r a t 1 5 t o 1 7 s e c o n d s f a i l e d

r e t o r e s p o n d t o

c o m b

p i n c h i n g . C o n t i n u e d e x p o s u r e

l e d to convulsio ns at 20 to 24 seconds. So ma tosensor y-

evoked potentials were lost at 24 to 34 seconds, and the EEG became isoelectric at 57 to 66 seconds. Convulsion onset was after loss of consciousness (collapse and loss of response to co mb pinch), so this would appear to be a huma ne method of eutha nasia for c hic kens. 93 De spite the availability o f so me infor ma tion, there is still much about the use of N2/Ar that ne eds to be investigated. Advantages—(1) Nitroge n a nd Ar are readily avail­ able as co mpressed ga ses. (2) Hazards to personnel are

minimal. Disadvantages—(1) Lo ss of consciousne ss is pre­ c e d e d b y h y p o x e m i a a n d v e n t i l a t o r y s t i m u l a t i o n , w h i c h m a y b e d i s t r e s s i n g t o t h e a n i m a l . ( 2 ) Reestablishing a lo w conce ntration of O2 (ie, 6% or greater) in the c hamber before death will allo w imme ­ diate recovery. 69 Recommendations—Nitrogen and Ar ca n be dis­ t r e s s f u l t o so me s p e c ie s ( e g , r a t s) . 8 5 T h e r e fo r e , t h i s technique is co nditionally ac ceptable only if O2 con­ centrations <2% are achie ved rapidly, and a nimals are

h e a v i l y

s e d a t e d o r a n e s t h e t iz e d . W i t h h e a v y s e d a t io n

o r a n e s t h e

s i a , i t s h o u l d b e r e c o g n i z e d t h a t d e a t h m a

y

be delayed. Although N2 and Ar are effective, other

methods of eutha nasia are preferable.

CARBON MONOXIDE

Carbon mono xide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is nonflammable and nonexplosive unle ss co ncen­ trations e xceed 10%. It co mbines with hemoglobin to

for m carboxyhemoglobin and blocks upta ke of O2 b y erythroc yte s, leading to fatal hypo xemia.

I n

t h e

p a s t ,

m a

s s e u t h a n a s i a h a s b e e n a c c o m ­

plished b y use of 3 methods for ge nerating CO: (1)

chemical interaction of sodium for mate a nd sulfuric acid, (2) exhaust fumes from idling gasoline internal

co mb ustio n e ngine s, a nd (3) co mme rc ia lly co mp re ssed CO in c ylinders. The first 2 techniques are associated with problems such a s production of other ga ses, achieving inadequate concentrations of carbon mono x­ ide, inadequate cooling of the gas, and mainte nance of equipment. Therefore, the only acceptable source is compressed CO in c ylinders.

I n

a

s t u d y

b y

R a m s e y

a n d

E i l m a n n , 9 4

8 %

C O

caused guinea pigs to collapse in 40 seconds to 2 min­

nausea, progressive depression, confusio n,

and

collapse.99 Because CO stimulates motor centers in the brain, loss of conscio usness ma y be acco mpanied b y co nvulsio ns a nd musc ular spa sms.

C a r b o n

m o n o x i d e

i s

a

c u m u l a t i v e

p o i s o n .

9 6

Distinct signs o f CO to xicosis are not e vident until the

C

O c o n c e n t r a t i o n i s

0 . 0 5 % i n a i r , a n d a c u t e s i g n s d o

n o t d e v e l o p

u n t i l

t h e

C O c o n c e n t r a t io n i s a p p r o x i ­

mately 0.2% in air. In humans, exposure to 0.32% CO

u t e s , a n d

d e a t h o c c ur r e d wi t h i n 6 mi n u t e s . C a r b o n

and 0.45% CO for one hour

will induce loss of con­

mo no xide has been used to eutha natize mink 80,90 and

sc io usne ss a nd de ath, re spec tive ly. 100 Carbo n mo no xid e

chinc hillas. These animals collapsed in 1 minute,

i

s

e x t r e m e l y h a z a r d o u s

f o r

p e r s o n n e l

b e c a u s e

i t

i

s

b r e a t h i n g

c e a s e d i n 2 mi n u t e s , a n d t h e h e a r t s to p p e d

h i g h l y t o x i c a n d d i ffi c u l t to d e te c t. C h r o n i c e x p o s u r e

beating in 5 to 7 minutes.

t o lo w c o n c e n t r a t io n s o f

c a r b o n mo n o x i d e ma y b e

 

a

In a stud y e valuating the physiologic and be havioral

health hazard, especially with regard to cardiovascular

characteristics of dogs exposed to 6% CO in air,

 

d

i s e a s e

a n d

t e r a t o g e n i c

e f f e c t s . 1 0 1 - 1 0 3

A n

e f f i c i e n t

Chalifo ux a nd Dallaire 95 could not determine the precise time of loss of co nscio usness. Electroencephalographic recordings revealed 20 to 25 seconds of abnor mal

exhaust or ventilatory system is essential to prevent accidental exposure of humans. Advantages—(1) Carbon mo noxide ind uces loss of

cortical function prior to loss of consciousness. It wa s

consciousness without pain and with minimal discernible

during this period that the dogs became agitated and vocalized. It is not kno wn whether a nimals experie nce distress; ho we ver, humans in this p hase r eported ly ar e

disco mfort. (2) Hypoxemia induced by CO is insidious, s o t h a t t h e a n i m a l a p p e a r s t o b e u n a wa r e . ( 3 ) D e a t h occurs rapidly if conce ntratio ns of 4 to 6% are used.

no t d istr e ssed. 96 Subseq ue nt stud ies have re vealed tha t

 

Disadvantages—(1) Safeguards must be

taken to

tranquiliza tion with ace promazine significantly

prevent e xposure o f personnel.

(2) Any electrical

decreases behavioral and physiolo gic r e spo nse s o f do gs

equip me nt e xposed to CO (e g, lights a nd fans) must be

eutha na tized with CO. 97 In a co mparative stud y, CO fro m gasoline engine exha ust and 70% CO2 plus 30% O2 were used to eutha ­

explosion proof. R e c o m m e n d a t i o n s — C a r b o n mo n o x i d e u s e d fo r individ ual a nimal or mass euthana sia is acceptable f o r

n a t i z e c a t s . E u t h a n a s ia wa s d i v i d e d i n to 3 p h a se s .

 

d

o g s , c a t s , a n d o t h e r s m a l l m a m m a l s , p r o v i d e d

that

P

h a s e I wa s t h e t i me fr o m i n i t i a l c o n t a c t t o o n s e t o f

commercially co mpre ssed CO is used and the

clinical signs (eg, yawning, staggering, or trembling).

f o l l o wi n g p r e c a u t i o n s a r e t a k e n : ( 1 ) p e r s o n n e l u s i n g

Phase II extended fro m the e nd of phase I until recum­

 

C

O

m u s t

b e

i n s t r u c t e d

t h o r o u g h l y

i n

i t s

u s e

a n d

b e n c y, a n d p h a s e II I fr o m t h e e n d o f p h a se I I u n t i l

m

u s t u n d e r s t a n d i t s h a z a r d

s a n d l i m i t a t i o n

s ; (

2 ) t h e

d e a t h . 5 4 T h e s t u d y r e v e a l e d t h a t s i g n s o f a g i t a t i o n

C

O

c h a

m b e r

m u s t

b e

o

f

t h e

h i g h e s t

q u a l i t y

c o n ­

before loss of consciousness were greatest with CO2

s t r u c t i o n a n d s h o

u l d a l l o w f o r s e p a r a t i o n o

f i n d i v i d ­

plus O2. Co nvulsions occurred during phase s II a nd III

u a l a n i ma l s ; ( 3 ) t h e C O so ur c e a n d c h a mb e r mu s t b e

wi t h b o t h me t h o d s . Ho we v e r , wh e n t h e e u t h a n a s i a

l

o c a t e d i n a

we l l - v e n t i l a t e d

e n v i r o n m e n t , p r e f e r a b l y

chamber was prefilled with CO (ie, exhaust fumes), c o n v u l s i o n s d id n o t o c c u r i n p h a s e I II . T i me t o c o m­

o h a v e v i e

u t

o f

d o o r s ;

( 4 )

t h e c h a m b

e r

m u s t

b e

we l l

l i t

a n d

w p o r t s t h a t a ll o w p e r s o n n e l d i r e c t o b s e r v a ­

plete immobilization was gr eater with CO2 plus O2

t i o n o f a n i ma l s ; ( 5 ) t h e C O

fl o w r a t e s h o u l d b e a d e ­

(approximately 90 seconds) than with CO alone

q u a t e t o r a p i d l y a c h i e v e a

u n i f o r m C O

c

o n c e n t r a ­

(approximately 56 seco nds). 54 In neo natal pigs, e xcita ­

t i o n o f a t le a s t 6 % a ft e r a n i ma l s a r e p l a c e d

i n

t h e

tio n wa s more likely to pre ce de lo ss of co nsc io usne ss if

c

h a m b

e r , a l t h o u g h s o

m e s p e c i e s ( e g , n e o n a t a l p i g s )

the pigs were exposed to a rapid rise in CO concentra­

a r e

l e s

s l i k e l y t o b e c o

me

a

g i t a t e d wi t h a g r a d u a

l r i s e

tion. This agitation was reduc ed at lo wer flo w rate s, or

i

n

C O

c o n c e n t r a t i o

n ; 9 8

a n d

( 6 )

i f

t h e

c h a m b

e r

i s

whe n CO wa s co mb ined with nitro ge n. 98

i

n s i d e

a

r o o

m ,

C O

m o n i t o r s m u s t

b e

p l a c

e d

i n

t h e

I n p e o p l e , t h e m o s t c o m m o n s y m p t o m s o f e a r l y

room

to warn personne l of ha zardous conce ntrat i o n s . I t

CO toxicosis are headache, dizziness, and wea kness. As

i

s e s s e n t i a l t h a t C O u s e b e i n c o m p l i a n c e w i t h s t a t e

concentratio ns of carboxyhemo globin increase, these

a n d f e d e r a l o c c u p a t i o n a l h e a l t h a n d s a f e t y

signs may be followed by decreased visual acuity, tinnitus,

r e g u l a t io n s .

 

NONINHALANT PHARMACEUTICAL AGENTS

The use of injectable euthana sia agents is the mo st

r a p id a nd r e l ia b l e me t ho d o f

p e rfo r mi n g e u th a na sia . It

is the most desirable method whe n it can be perfor med wi t h o u t c a u s i n g f e a r o r d i s t r e s s i n t h e a n i ma l . W h e n t h e r e s tr a i n t n e c e s s a r y f o r g i v i n g a n a n i ma l a n i n t r a ­ v e n o u s i n j e c ti o n wo u l d i mp a r t a d d e d d i s tr e s s t o t h e animal or pose undue risk to the operator, sedation, anesthesia, or an acceptable alternate route of ad minis­ tration sho uld be emplo yed. Aggre ssive, fearful, wild, or feral animals should be sedated or given a nonparalytic immobilizing age nt prior to intrave nous ad ministration of the e utha nasia age nt. When intrave nous ad ministration is considered impractical or impossible, intr aperitoneal ad ministra tion of a nonirritating euthanasia agent is acceptable, provided the drug does not contain neuro musc ular b lo c ki n g a ge n ts. I ntr a c a r d ia c inj e c tio n is a c c e p ta b le o nly when performed on hea vily sedated, anesthetized, or comatose animals. It is not considered acceptable in awa ke animals, o wing to the diffic ulty and unpredictability of performing the injection a ccurately. Intramusc ular, subcutaneo us, intrathoracic, intrap ulmo na r y, in tr a he p a tic , i ntr a r e na l , i n tr a sp le n ic , i ntr a t he cal, and other nonvascular injections are not acceptable me thod s of ad minister ing inje cta ble e utha nasia a ge nts. W h e n i n j e c t a b le e u t h a n a s i a a g e n t s a r e a d mi n i s ­ tered into the peritoneal cavity, animals ma y be slo w to pass through sta ges I a nd II of a nesthesia. Accordingly, the y sho uld be placed in sma ll cages in a quiet area to minimize exciteme nt a nd trauma.

BARBITURIC ACID DERIVATIVES

Barbiturates depress the ce ntral nervo us system in descending order, beginning with the cerebral cortex, wi t h l o s s o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s p r o g r e s s i n g t o a n e s t h e s i a . With a n overdose, deep ane sthesia progresses to apnea, o wing to depression of the re spiratory center, which is follo wed by cardiac arrest. A l l b a r b i t u r i c a c i d d e r i v a t i v e s u s e d f o r a n e s t h e s i a are acceptable for euthanasia when ad ministered intra ­ veno usly. There is a rapid onset o f actio n, and loss of consciousne ss induced b y barbiturates results in mini­ ma l o r tr a n s i e n t p a i n a s s o c i a t e d wi t h v e n i p u n c t u r e . Desirable barbiturates are those that are potent, lo ng- acting, stable in solution, and inexpensive. Sodium pentobarbital best fits the se c riteria and is most widely u s e d , a l t h o u g h o t h e r s s u c h a s s e c o b a r b i t a l a r e a l so acceptable. Advantages—(1) A primar y advanta ge of barbitu­

rates is speed of action. This e ffect depends o n the d o s e ,

c

o n c e n t r a t i o n , r o u t e , a n d r a t e o f t h e i n j e c t i o n . (2)

Barbiturates induce e utha nasia

smoothly,

with

m i n i m a l

d

i s c o m f o r t

t o

t h e a

n i m a l .

( 3 )

B a r b i t u r a t e s

a r e l e s s

e x p e n s i v e t h a n m a n y o t h e r e u t h a

n a s i a age nts.

 

Disadvantages—(1) Intravenous injection is neces­ sar y for best results a nd requires trained personnel. (2) Each a nimal must be restraine d. (3) Current federal drug regulations require strict acco unting for barbiturates a nd these must be used under the supervision o f personnel

registered with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). (4) An aesthetically objection­ able terminal ga sp ma y occ ur in unco nscious animals. (5) These drugs tend to persist in the carcass and may

a u s e s e d a ti o n o r e v e n d e a t h o f a n i ma l s t h a t c o n s u me the body. Recommendations—The advantages of using barbi­ turates for eutha nasia in small animals far o utweigh the disadvanta ges. Intrave nous injection of a barbituric acid derivative is the preferred method for euthana sia of dogs, cats, other small animals, a nd horses. Intraperitoneal injection ma y be used in situations when an intrave nous injection would be distressful or e v e n

c

a n g e r o u s . I n tr a c a r d i a c i n j e c t i o n m u s t o n l y b e used if the a nimal is heavily sedated, unconscious, or

d

anesthetized.

PENTOBARBITAL COMBINATIONS

 

S e v e r a l e u t h a n a s ia p r o d u c ts a r e f o r mu l a t e d to include a barbituric acid derivative (usually sodium p e n to b a r b i t a l ), wi t h a d d e d lo c a l a n e s t h e t ic a g e n t s o r

a g e n t s t h a t m e t a b o l i z e t o p e n t o b a r b i t a l . A l t h o u g h so me of the se additives are slo wly cardiotoxic, this pharmacologic effect is inconsequential. These combi­ nation products are listed by the DEA as Schedule III drugs, ma king them so me wh at simp ler to ob ta in, stor e, and administer tha n Sched ule II drugs such as sodium pentobarbital. The phar macologic properties and rec ­ omme nded use of co mbination products that co mb ine sodium pentobarbital with lidocaine or phenytoin are

n t e r c h a n g e a b l e derivative s.

i

wi t h

t h o s e

o f

p u r e

b a r b it u r i c

a c i d

A

c o mb i n a t i o n

o f

p e n to b a r b it a l

wi t h

a

n e u r o ­

musc ular blocking age nt is no t an acceptable e u t ha na sia

a ge n t.

CHLORAL HYDRATE

C h l o r a l h yd r a te

d e p r e s s e s

th e

c e r e b r u m s l o wl y;

therefore, restraint ma y be a problem for so me a nimals.

Death is caused by hypoxemia resulting from progres­ sive depression of the respiratory center, and ma y be

preceded by gasping, muscle spasms, and vocalization. Recommendations—Chloral hydrate is conditional- ly acceptable for euthanasia of large animals only when administered intravenously, and only after sedation to decrease the aforementioned undesirable side effects. Chloral hydrate is not acceptable for dogs, cats, and other small animals because the side effects may be severe, reactions can be aesthetically objectionable, and other products are better choices.

T-61

T-61 is an injectable, nonbarbiturate, non-narcotic mixture of 3 drugs used for euthanasia. These drugs provide a combination of general anesthetic, curari- form, and local anesthetic actions. T-61 has been with- drawn from the market and is no longer manufactured or commercially available in the United States. It is available in Canada and other countries. T-61 should be used only intravenously and at carefully monitored rates of injection, because there is some question as to the differential absorption and onset of action of the active ingredients when administered by other routes. 1

TRICAINE METHANE SULFONATE (MS 222, TMS)

MS 222 is commercially available as tricaine methane sulfonate (TMS), which can be used for the euthanasia of amphibians and fish. Tricaine is a benzoic acid derivative and, in water of low alkalinity (< 50 mg/L as CaCO3); the solution should be buffered with sodium bicarbonate.104 A 10 g/L stock solution can be made, and sodium bicarbonate added to saturation, resulting in a pH between 7.0 and 7.5 for the solution. The stock solution should be stored in a dark brown bottle, and refrigerated or frozen if possible. The solution should be replaced monthly and any time a brown color is observed.105 For euthanasia, a concentration 250 mg/L is recommended and fish should be left in this solution for at least 10 minutes following cessation of opercular movement.104 In the United States, there is a 21-day withdrawal time for MS 222; therefore, it is not appropriate for euthanasia of animals intended for food.

POTASSIUM CHLORIDE IN CONJUNCTION WITH PRIOR GENERAL ANESTHESIA

Although unacceptable and condemned when used in unanaesthetized animals, the use of a supersat- urated solution of potassium chloride injected intra- venously or intracardially in an animal under general anesthesia is an acceptable method to produce cardiac

arrest and death. The potassium ion is cardiotoxic, and rapid intravenous or intracardiac administration of 1 to 2 mmol/kg of body weight will cause cardiac arrest. This is a preferred injectable technique for euthanasia of livestock or wildlife species to reduce the risk of tox- icosis for predators or scavengers in situations where carcasses of euthanatized animals may be consumed. 106,107 Advantages—(1) Potassium chloride is not a con- trolled substance. It is easily acquired, transported, and mixed in the field. (2) Potassium chloride, when used with appropriate methods to render an animal uncon- scious, results in a carcass that is potentially less toxic for scavengers and predators in cases where carcass disposal is impossible or impractical. Disadvantage—Rippling of muscle tissue and clonic spasms may occur on or shortly after injection. Recommendations—It is of utmost importance that personnel performing this technique are trained and knowledgeable in anesthetic techniques, and are com- petent in assessing anesthetic depth appropriate for administration of potassium chloride intravenously. Administration of potassium chloride intravenously requires animals to be in a surgical plane of anesthesia characterized by loss of consciousness, loss of reflex muscle response, and loss of response to noxious stim- uli. Saturated potassium chloride solutions are effec- tive in causing cardiac arrest following rapid intracar- diac or intravenous injection. Residual tissue concen- trations of general anesthetics after anesthetic induc- tion have not been documented. Whereas no scavenger toxicoses have been reported with potassium chloride in combination with a general anesthetic, proper carcass disposal should always be attempted to prevent possible toxicosis by consumption of a carcass conta- minated with general anesthetics.

UNACCEPTABLE INJECTABLE AGENTS

When used alone, the injectable agents listed in Appendix 4 (strychnine, nicotine, caffeine, magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride, cleaning agents, solvents, disinfectants and other toxins or salts, and all neuromuscular blocking agents) are unacceptable and are absolutely condemned for use as euthanasia agents.

PHYSICAL METHODS

Physical methods of euthanasia include captive bolt, gunshot, cervical dislocation, decapitation, elec- trocution, microwave irradiation, kill traps, thoracic compression, exsanguination, maceration, stunning,

a n d p it h i n g . When properly used b y skilled personnel

with well-m a i n t a i n e d e q u ip m e n t , p h ys i c a l me t h o d s o f

e u t h a n a s i a ma y r e s u l t i n l e s s f e a r a n d

a n x i e t y a n d b e

mo r e r a p i d , p a i n l e s s , h u m a n e , a n d p r a c t i c a l t h a n

t h e r f o r ms o f e u t h a n a s i a . E x s a n g u i n a t i o n , s t u n n i n g , a n d p it h i n g a r e n o t r e c o m m e n d e d a s a s o l e me a n s o f eutha na sia, but sho uld be considered adjuncts to other agents or methods. So me co nsider physica l methods of eutha nasia aesthetically displeasing. There are occasions, ho wever, whe n wha t is perceived as a esthetic and what is mo st

o

h u ma n e a r e i n c o n fl i c t.

P h ys i c a l me t h o d s ma y b e t h e

  • m o s t a p p r o p r i a t e m e t h o d f o r e u t h a n a s i a a n d r a p i d

r e l ie f o f p a i n a n d s u ff e r i n g i n c e r t a i n s it u a t io n s . Personnel performing physic al methods of euthanasia

  • m u s t b e we l l t r a i n e d a nd m o n i t o r e d f o r e a c h t yp e o f

p h ys i c a l t e c h n i q u e

p e r fo r me d . T ha t p e r so n mu s t a l s o

be se nsitive to the a esthetic imp lica tio ns o f the me thod

a n d i n f o r m o n l o o k e r s a b o u t wh a t t h e

y s h o u l d e x p e c t

whe n possible. S i n c e mo s t p h ys i c a l me t h o d s i n v o l v e t r a u ma , t h e r e is inherent risk for animals a nd huma ns. Extreme care and caution should be used. Skill and experience of personnel is e sse ntial. If the method is not perfor med correctly, a nimals a nd personne l ma y be injured. Inexperienced persons should be trained b y e xperienced persons and should practice on carcasses or anesthetized animals to be euthanatized until they are proficient in performing the method properly a nd huma nely. Whe n done appropriately, the panel considered most physical methods conditionally accepta ble for eutha nasia.

(se e “Stunning” under “Adjunctive Me thod s”). Advantage—The penetrating captive bolt is a n effec tive method of eutha na sia for use in slaughter­ house s, in re search facilities, and on the far m whe n use of dr ugs is inappropria te . Disadvantages—(1) It is aesthetically displeasing. ( 2 ) D e a t h ma y n o t o c c u r i f e q u ip me n t i s n o t ma i n ­ tained and used properly. Re c o mm e n d a tio n s— Use o f t he p e n e tr a ti n g c a p ti ve bolt is an acceptable and practical method of eutha na sia for horse s, rumina nts, a nd swine. It is conditio nally acceptable in other appropriate species. The non-

penetrating captive bolt must not be used as a sole method of euthana sia.

EUTHANASIA BY A BLOW TO THE HEAD

Eutha nasia b y a blo w to the head must be evaluat ed in ter ms of the a nato mic fe atures of the specie s on

wh i c h i t i s to b e p e r fo r me d . A b lo w to t he he a d c a n b e a huma ne me thod of e utha nasia for neo natal anima ls with thin craniums, such a s young pigs, if a single sharp blo w delivered to the central skull bone s with sufficie nt force can produce immediate depression of the ce ntr al ne r vo us system a nd de str uc tion o f b ra in tiss u e . W h e n

p r o p e r l y p e r f o r m e d , l o s s o f c o n s c i o

u s n e s s is rapid.

The anatomic features of neonatal calves, however, make a blow to the head in this species unacceptable. Personnel performing euthanasia by use of a blow to the head must be properly trained and monitored for proficienc y with this method of e uthana sia, a nd the y must be a war e o f its a esthe tic implic atio ns.

PENETRATING CAPTIVE BOLT

GUNSHOT

A penetrating captive bolt is used for eutha nasia of

A properly placed gunshot can cause immediate

r u m i n a n t s ,

h o r s e s ,

s w i n e ,

l a b o r a t o r

y

r a b b i t s ,

a n d

i n s e n s i b i l i t y a n d h u m a n e d e a t h . I n s o m e c i r c u m ­

  • d o gs . 10 8 It s mo d e o f a c tio n i s c o nc u ss io n a nd

tr a u ma

stance s, a gunshot ma y be the only practical method of

highly skille d perso nnel tra ined in the use o f fir ear ms

to t he c e r e b r a l he mi sp he r e a nd b r a i n st e m. 1 09, 11 0 Ca p t i ve b o l t g u n s a r e p o we r e d b y g u n p o wd e r o r

e u t h a n a s i a . S h o o t i n g s h o u ld o n l y b e p e r f o r me d b y

  • c o mp r e s s e d air and must provide sufficient energy to penetrate the skull of the species on whic h the y are being used. 109 Adequate restraint is important to ensure proper placeme nt of the captive bolt. A cerebral hemisphere a nd the brainstem must be sufficie ntly

disrupted by the projectile to

induce sudden loss of

consciousne ss and subse q u e n t d e a t h . Ac c u r a t e p l a c e me n t o f c a p t i v e b o l t s fo r various species has been described. 109-112 A multiple proj e c tile h a s b e e n s u gg e s te d a s a mo r e e ff e c t i v e te c h nique, e specially for large cattle. 109 A no npenetrating captive bolt only stuns animals and should not be used as a sole means o f e uthana sia

a n d o n l y i n j u r i s d i c t i o n s t h a t a l l o w f o r l e g a l f i r e a r m u s e . P e r s o n n e l , p u b l i c , a n d n e a r b y a n i m a l s a f e t y

s h o u l d b e c o n s i d e r e d . T h e p r o c e d ur e s h o u ld for med outdoors and awa y from public access.

b e

p e r ­

For use of a gunshot to the head a s a me thod of eutha na sia in captive a nima ls, the firear m should be aimed so tha t the projectile enters the brain, ca using insta nt loss o f consciousne ss. 51,112-114 This must ta ke into account differences in brain position and skull confor­ mation between species, as well as the energy require­

1 0 9 , 1 1 5

m e n t f o r s k u l l b o n e a n d s i n u s p e n e t r a t i o Accurate targeting for a gunshot to the head in various

n .

species has bee n described. 114,116-119 For wildlife and

other freely roaming a nimals, the preferred target area

should be the head. The appropriate firearm sho uld be se l e c te d fo r th e si t ua t io n, wi t h t he go a l b e i n g p e ne tr a ­ tion and destr uction o f brain tissue without emer gence

fr o m t h e c o ntr a la te r a l s id e o f t h e he a d . 1 20

A g u ns ho t

to the heart or neck does not immediately re nder animals unconscious and thus is not considered to meet the panel’s de finition of e utha nasia. 121 Advantages—(1) Loss of consciousness is instanta­ neous if the projectile destroys most of the brain. (2) Give n the need to mini mize stre ss ind uced b y ha nd ling and human contact, gunshot ma y at time s be the most practical and logical method of e utha na sia of wild or free-ra nging species. Disadvantages—(1) Gunshot ma y be dangerous to personnel. (2) It is aesthetically unpleasant. (3) Under fi e l d c o n d i ti o n s , i t ma y b e d iffi c u l t t o h i t t h e v i t a l t a r ­ ge t a r e a . ( 4 ) B r a i n t is s ue ma y no t b e a b l e to b e e xa m­ ined for evidence of rabies infection or chronic wasting disease whe n the head is tar ge ted. R e c o m m e n d a t i o n s — W h e n o t h e r m e t h o d s c a n n o t be used, an acc urately delivered gunshot is a condi­ tionally acceptable method of eutha nasia.114,122-125 When a n a nimal ca n be ap propriately restrained, the penetrating captive bolt is pre ferred to a gunshot. Prior to shooting, a nimals accustomed to the prese nce of huma ns sho uld be treated in a calm a nd reassuring ma nner to mini mize a nxiety. In the ca se o f wild a ni­ mals, gunshots should be delivered with the lea st amount o f prior human contact necessar y. Gunshot should not be used for routine eutha na sia of a nimals in animal control situa tions, suc h as municipal pounds or shelters.

CERVICAL DISLOCATION

Ce r vi c a l d is lo c a tio n i s a te c h niq ue t ha t h a s b e e n used for many years a nd, whe n perfor med b y well- trained individuals, appears to be huma ne. Ho we ver, there are few scientific studies to confirm this observa­ tion. This technique is used to eutha natize poultr y, other small birds, mice, and imma ture rats and rabbits. For mic e a nd r ats, the thumb a nd inde x finger ar e placed on either side of the nec k at the base of the skull or, alternatively, a rod is pressed at the base of the skull. With the other ha nd, the base of the tail or the hind limbs are quic kly pulled, ca using separation of the cer­ vi c a l ve r te b r a e fr o m t he s k u ll. Fo r i m ma t ur e r a b b i ts , the head is held in one ha nd and the hind limbs in the other. The animal is stretched and the neck is hyperex­ tended and dorsally t wisted to separate the first cervi cal vertebra from the skull. 72, 111 For poultry, cervical dis­

location b y stretc hing is a c ommo n me thod for ma ss eutha na sia, but loss of co nscio usness ma y not be in st a nta ne o u s. 1 34 Data suggest that electrical activity in the brain persists for 13 seconds following cervical dislocation, 127 and unlike decapitation, rapid exsanguination does not co ntrib ute to lo ss o f co nsc io usne ss. 128, 129 A d v a n t a g e s — ( 1 ) C e r v i c a l d i s l o c a t i o n i s a t e c h ­ nique that ma y induce rapid loss of co nscio usness. 84, 127 (2) It does not chemically contaminate tissue. (3) It is rapidly acco mplished. Disadvantages—(1) Cervical dislocation ma y be aesthetically displeasing to personnel. (2) Cervical dis­ location requires ma stering technica l skills to e nsure loss of consciousne ss is rapidly induced. (3) Its use is li mi te d to p o u ltr y, o t he r s ma ll b ir d s, mi c e , a nd i m ma ­ ture ra ts a nd rabb its. Re c o mm e n d a tio n s— Ma n ua l c e r v ic a l d is lo c a t io n is a huma ne techniq ue for euthana sia of poultr y, other small birds, mice, rats weighing < 200 g, and rabbits weighing < 1 kg when performed by individuals with a demo nstrated high degree of technical proficie nc y. In lieu of demo nstrated technical compete nc y, a nimals must be sedated or anesthetized prior to cervical dislo­ cation. The need for technical competency is greater in he a v y r a t s a nd r a b b i ts, i n wh i c h th e la r g e mu sc le ma s s in the c er vica l re gio n ma kes ma nual c er vica l disloc a ­ tion physically more difficult. 130 In researc h settings, this tec hniq ue should be use d onl y whe n scientifically justified b y the user a nd approved by the Institutio nal Animal Care a nd Use Co mmittee. T h o s e r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e u s e o f t h i s t e c h n i q u e must e nsure that personnel performing cervical dislo­ cation tec hniques ha ve bee n properly trained a nd con­ siste ntly apply it huma nely a nd effectively.

DECAPITATION

D e c a p i t a t i o n c a n b e u s e d t o e u t h a n a t i z e r o d e n t s and small rabbits in re search settings. It provides a means to recover tissues and body fluids that are chem­ i c a l l y u n c o n t a mi n a t e d . I t a ls o p r o v id e s a me a n s o f o b t a i n i n g a n a to mi c a l l y u n d a ma g e d b r a i n t i s s u e f o r stud y. Altho ugh it has been demo nstrated that electrical activity in the brain persists for 13 to 14 seconds fol­ lo wing decapitation, 132 more recent studies and reports indicate that this activity does not infer the ability to perceive pain, and in fact conclude that loss of con­ sciousness develops rapidly. 127-129 Guillotines that are designed to accomplish decap­ itation in ad ult rodents a nd small rabbits in a unifor mly

131

insta nta neo us ma nner a re co mme rc ia lly a vailab le. Guillotines are not co mmercially a vailable for neonatal rod e nts, b ut sharp b lade s ca n b e used for this purp ose. Advantages—(1) Decapitatio n is a technique that

appears to induce rapid loss of consciousne ss. 127-129 (2) I t d o e s n o t c h e mi c a l l y c o n ta mi n a t e t i s s u e s . ( 3 ) I t i s rapidly acco mplished.

Advantages—(1) Electrocution is humane if the animal is first rendered unc onscious. (2) It does not chemically co ntaminate tissue s. (3) It is economical. Disadvantages—(1) Electrocution ma y be haz ardous

to personnel. (2) When c onve ntional single-animal probes are used, it may not be a useful method for ma ss eutha na sia because so much time is required per animal. (3) It is not a useful method for dangerous, intractable

D i s a d v a n t a g e s — ( 1 ) H a n d l i n g

a n d r e s t r a i n t

animals.

(4) It

is aesthetically objectionable b e c a u s e o f

required to perform this tec hnique ma y be distressful to

  • v i o l e n t e x t e n s i o n a n d s t i f f e n i n g o f t h e limbs, head,

animals. 83 (2) The interpretation of the prese nce of electrical activity in the brain follo wing decapitation ha s created controversy a nd its importance ma y still be open to debate. 127-129,132 (3) Personnel performing this technique sho uld recognize the inhere nt da nger o f the guillotine a nd take adequate precautions to prevent personal injury. (4) Decapitation may be aesthetically displeasing to personnel perfor ming or observing the technique. Recommendations—This technique is conditio nally acceptable if perfor med correctly, a nd it should be used in research settings when its use is required by the experime ntal design and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Co mmittee. The equipme nt used to perfor m decapitation sho uld be maintained in good working order and serviced on a regular basis to ensure

and neck. (5) It ma y not result in death in sma ll animals (< 5 kg) because ve ntric ular fibrillation and circulatory collapse do not always persist after cessation of c urrent flo w. Recommendations—Euthana sia by electroc ution requires special skills and equip me nt that will ensure p a s s a g e o f s u f f i c i e n t c u r r e n t t h r o u g h t h e b r a i n t o induce loss o f consciousness and cardiac fibrillation in the 1-step method for sheep and hogs, or cardiac fib­ rillation in the unco nscio us anima l whe n the 2-step procedure is used. Although the method is conditionally acceptable if the a foreme ntio ned requireme nts are met, its disadva nta ges far outwei gh its ad vanta ges in most applications. Techniques that apply electric cur rent fro m head to tail, head to foot, or head to moist ened meta l plates on whic h the animal is standing are unacceptable.

sharpne ss of blades. The use of plastic cones to restrain animals appears to reduce distress fro m handling, min­

M ICROWAVE IRRADIATION

 

imize s the c hance o f injur y to personnel, and improve s p o s i t i o n i n g o f t h e a n i m a l i n t h e g u i l l o t i n e .

Heating b y micro wa ve irradiation is used primarily by ne urobiologists to fix brain metabolites in vivo while

D e c a p i ta t io n o f a mp h i b i a ns , fi s h , a n d r e p t i le s i s

maintaining

the

anato mic

integrity

of

the

brain. 141

addressed elsewhere in these guideline s.

Micro wa ve instrume nts have been

specifi c a l l y

T h o s e r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e u s e o f t h i s t e c h n i q u e

  • d e s i g n e d

f o r

u s e

i n

e u t h a n a s i a

o f

l a b o r a t o r y

mice

must e nsure that personnel who perfor m decapitation

and rats. The instrume nts differ in design fro m k i t c h e n

tec hniq ue s ha ve b ee n p roperly tra ined to do so.

u n i t s a n d m a y v a r y i n m a x i m a l p o w e r

o u t p u t

f r o m

ELECTROCUTION

Electrocution, using alternating c urrent, ha s been used as a me thod of e utha nasia for species suc h a s dogs, cattle, sheep, swine, fo xes, and mink. 113,133-138 Ele c tr o c utio n i nd uc e s d e a t h b y c a r d ia c fib r ill a tio n, whic h ca use s cerebral hypoxia. 135,137,139 Ho we ver, ani­ mals do not lose consciousness for 10 to 30 seconds or more after onset of cardiac fibrillation. It is imperative that animals be unconscious before being electrocuted. This can be accomplished by any acceptable means, including electrical stunning. 25 Altho ugh a n e ffec tive, 1 ­ step stunning a nd electrocution method has been described for use in sheep and hogs, euthanasia by electrocution in mo st spe cies remains a 2-step procedure. 25, 63,140

1

. 3

t o

1 0

k

w .

A l l u n i t s d i r e c t t h e i r m i c r o w a v e

e n e r g y t o

t h e h e a d o f t h e a n i m a l . T h e power

required to rapidly halt brain enz yme activity d e p e n d s

o n t h e e f f i c i e n c y o f t h e u n i t , t h e a b i l i t y t o t u n e t h e

r e s o

n a n t

c

a

v i t y

a n d

t h e

s i z e

o f

t h e

r o d e n t

h e a d .

1 4 2

T h e r e

c o

n s i d e r a b l e

v a r i a t i o n a m o

n g i n s t r u m e n t s

 

i n

t h e

i s t i m e

r e q u i r e d

f o r

l o s s

o f

c o

n sciousness and

eutha na sia. A 10 kw, 2,450 MHz instr ume nt operated at

a power of 9 kw will increase t h e b r a i n t e m p e r a t u r e o f

1

8 t o 2 8 g m i c e t o 7 9 C i n 3 3 0 m s , a n d t h e b r a i n

t e m p e r a t u r e o f 2 5 0 t o 4 2 0 ms.

143

g

rats to

94

C in 800

Ad v a n ta g e s — (1 )

Lo s s

o f

c o n sc io u s ne ss

is

a c h ie ve d in le ss tha n 100 ms, and death in less than 1

second. (2) This

is

the

mo st e ffe ctive me thod to fix

brain tissue in vivo for subsequent assay of enzymatically

labile c hemicals. Disadvantages—(1) Instruments are expensive. (2) Only animals the size o f mic e and rats can be eutha na ­ tized with co mmercial instr ume nts that are currently available. Recommendations—Microwa ve irradiation is a huma ne method for e uthanatizing sma ll laborator y rodents if instruments that induce rapid loss o f con­ s c i o u s n e s s a r e u s e d . O n l y i n s t r u m e n t s t h a t a r e designed for this use and ha ve appropriate po wer and micro wave distribution can be used. Micro wave ovens designed for domestic and institutional kitche ns are abso lute ly unacc eptab le fo r e utha nasia .

THORACIC (CARDIOPULMONARY, CARDIAC) COMPRESSION

T h o r a c i c (cardiopulmonar y, cardiac) c o m p r e s s i o n is used to eutha natize small- to medium-sized free -

r a n gi n g

b ir d s wh e n a l te r na t e te c h niq ue s d e sc rib e d i n

the se guid eline s ar e no t pra ctical. 144 Advantages—(1) This tec hnique is rapid. (2) It is apparently painless. (3) It maximizes carcass use for anal ytic al/co ntamina nt stud ie s. Disadvantages—(1) It may be considered aestheti­ cally unpleasa nt b y onlookers. (2) The degree of distress is unkno wn. Recommendations—Thoracic (cardiopulmonar y, cardiac) compression is a physical technique for avian

e u t h a n a s i a t h a t h a s

a p p l i c a b i l i t y i n t h e f i e l d w h e n

other methods ca nnot be use d. It is acco mplished b y bringing the thumb and fore finger of one ha nd under the bird’s wing fro m the posterior and placing them against the ribs. 144 The forefinger of the other hand is placed against the ventral edge of the sternum, just below the

furculum. All fingers are h e l d u n d e r p r e s s u r e t o

brought together f o r c e f u l l y a n d s t o p t h e h e a r t and lungs. Lo ss

of consciousne ss and death develop quic kly. Proper training is needed in the use of this t e c h n i q u e t o a v o i d t r a u m a t o t h e b i r d . Cardiopulmo nar y compression is not appropriate for laborator y settings, for large or diving birds, 144 or for other species.

KILL TRAPS

Mechanical kill traps are used for the collection and

killing of small, free-ra nging mamma ls for co mmercial

purposes (fur, skin, or meat), scientific purp o s e s ,

t o

s t o p p r o p e r t y

d a m a g e , a n d t o p r o t e c t h u m a n s a f e t y .

T h e i r

u s e

r e m a i n s

c o n t r o v e

r s i a l ,

a n d

the panel

recognized tha t kill traps do not alwa ys rend e r a r a p i d o r s t r e s s - fr e e d e a t h c o n s i s t e n t wi t h c r i t e ria for eutha na sia found elsewhere in this docume nt. For this

reason, use of live traps follo wed b y other methods of

eutha na sia is preferred. There are a few situa tions whe n

that is not possible or

whe n it ma y a c t u a l l y

b e

mo r e

s t r e s s f u l t o t h e a n i m a l s o r

d a n g e r ous to humans to use

live traps. Although newer te chnologies are improving

kill trap perfor ma nce in achie ving loss of co nscio usness

quickly, individ ual t e

s u r e t h e t r a p i s w o r k

s t i n g i s r e c o m m e n d e d t o b e ing properly. 145 If kill traps must

be used, the mo st h u

m a n e a v a i l a b l e m u s t b e

c h o s e n , 1 4 6 - 1 4 8 a s e v a l u a t e d b y u s e

o f I nternatio nal

Organiza tion for Standardization (ISO) testing procedures, 149 or by the methods of Gilbert, 150 Proulx e t al, 151,152 or Hiltz and Roy. 153 To reach the required level of efficiency, traps may need to be modified fro m manufacturers’ production standards. In addition, as specified in scientific studies, trap placement (ground versus tree sets), bait type, set location, selectivity apparatus, body placement modi­ fying de vices (eg, sidewings, cones), trigger se nsitivity, and trigger type, size, a nd c onfor mation are e sse ntial considerations that could affect a kill trap’s ability to reach these sta ndards. Several kill traps, modifica tions, a nd set specifics have been scientifically e valuated and found to mee t the afore referenced standards for various species. 151, 152,154­

167

Advantage—Free-ranging small mammals may be killed with minimal distress associated with ha ndling and huma n contact. Disadvantages—(1) Traps ma y not a fford death within acceptable time periods. (2) Selectivity and effi­ cienc y is dependent on the skill and proficienc y of the operator. Re c o mmen da tion s—Kill traps do not alwa ys meet the panel’s criteria for euthana sia. At the same time, it is recognized that they can be practical and effective for scientific a nima l collectio n when used in a ma nner that ensures selectivity, a swift kill, no damage to body parts needed for field research, and minimal potential for i n j u r y o f n o n t a r g e t s p e c i e s . 1 6 8 , 1 6 9 T r a p s n e e d t o b e checked at least once daily. In those instances when an animal is wo unded or captured but not dead, the a nimal must be killed q uickly a nd huma nely. Kill traps sho uld be used only whe n other a cceptable technique s are impossible or ha ve failed. Traps for noctur nal species should not be activated during the day to avoid c a p t u r e o f d i u r n a l s p e c i e s . 1 6 8 T r a p m a n u f a c t u r e r s should strive to meet the ir responsibility o f minimizing pain and suffering in target specie s.

  • M ACERATION

by a method that ensures death. With stunning, evalu­

 

Maceration,

via

use

o f

a

specially

designed

ating loss of consciousness is difficult, but it is usually

mecha nical apparatus

having

 

rotating

blades

or

associated with a loss of the menace or blink response,

projections, causes immediat e fragme ntatio n a nd death of day-old poultr y and embr yo nated eggs. A review 217 of the use of co mmercially available macerators for eutha na sia of chic ks, poults, and pipped eggs indicates that death b y maceration in da y-old poultr y occurs immediately with minimal pain a nd distress. Maceration is an alternative to the use of carbon dioxide for eutha na sia o f da y-old poultr y. Maceration is belie ved to be equivalent to cervical dislocation and cranial compression as to time eleme nt, and is considered to be an acceptable mea ns o f euthanasia for newly hatched poultr y b y the Federation of Anima l Scie nce Societies, 220 Agriculture Ca na da, 221 World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), 222 and European Unio n. 223 Advantages—(1) Death is almo st instantaneo us. (2) The method is sa fe for wor kers. (3) Large numbers of animals ca n be killed quic kly. Disadvantages—(1) Special equip me nt is required. (2) Macerated tissue s ma y present biosec urity risks. Recommendations—Maceration requires special equip me nt that must be kept in excelle nt working order. Chic ks must be delivered to the macerator in a wa y a nd at a rate that prevents a backlog of chic ks at the point of entr y into the macerator and witho ut causing injur y, suffocation, or avoidable distress to the c hic ks before maceration.

ADJUNCTIVE METHODS

S t u n n i n g a n d p i t h i n g , wh e n p r o p e rl y d o n e , i n d u c e l o s s o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s b u t d o n o t e n s u r e d e a t h .

T h e r e fo r e ,

t h e se me t h o d s m u s t b e u s e d o n l y i n c o n ­

j u n c t io n wi t h o t h e r p r o c e d u r e s , 1 2 3 s u c h a s p h a r ma c o ­

logic agents, exsanguination, or decapitation to eutha­ natize the animal.

E x s a n g u i n a t i o n

 

E x s a n g u i n a t i o n c a n

b e u s e d t o

e n s u r e d e a t h s u b ­

sequent to stunning, or in other wise unconscious ani­ mals. Because anxiety is associated with extreme hypo­ v o l e mi a , e x s a n g u i n a t i o n mu s t n o t b e u s e d a s a s o le means of e utha nasia. 170 Animals ma y be exsa nguinated t o o b t a i n b l o o d p r o d u c t s , b u t o n l y w h e n t h e y a r e sed ated, stunned , or a ne sthe tized. 171

S t u n n i n g

Ani mals ma y b e stunned b y a blo w to the he ad, b y use of a nonpe netrating captive bolt, or by use of elec­ t r i c c u r r e n t . S t u n n i n g m u s t b e f o l l o we d i m m e d i a t e l y

p u p i ll a r y d il a t a t i o n, a nd a lo s s

me n t s . S p e c i fi c c h a n g e s i n th e

o f c o o r d i n a t e d mo v e ­

e l e c tr o e n c e p h a lo g r a m

and a loss of visually e voked responses are also tho ught to indicate loss of consciousne ss. 60, 172 Blow to the head—Stunning by a blo w to the head is used primarily in small lab oratory animals with thin craniums. 9, 173-175 A single sharp blow must be delivered to the central skull bones with sufficie nt force to produce immediate depression of the central nervous system. When properly done, consc iousne ss is lost rapidly. Nonpenetrating captive bolt—A nonpene trating

  • c a p t i v e b o l t ma y b e u s e d t o i n d u c e l o s s o f c o n s c io u s ­ ness in ruminants, horses, and swine. Signs of effective

stunning b y captive bolt are immediate collapse a nd a se ve r a l se c o nd p e rio d o f te t a n ic sp a s m, fo llo we d b y slo w hind limb moveme nts of increasing freq uenc y. 60,176 Other aspects regarding use of the nonpenetrating captive bolt are similar to the use of a penetrating captive bolt, as previously described. Electrical stunning—Alter nating electrical current has been used for stunning species such as dogs, cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, fish a nd chickens. 133,134,140,177,178 Experime nts with dogs ha ve identified a need to direct the electrical current through the brain to induce rapid loss of consciousness. In dogs, when electricity passes only between fore- and hind limbs or neck and

feet, it c a u s e s t h e h e a rt to fi b ri l l a t e b u t d o e s no t

  • i n d u c e s u d den loss of co nsc iousness. 139 For electrical

stunning o f a n y a n i ma l , a n a p p a r a t u s t h a t a p p l i e s

e l e c tr o d e s to opposite sides of the head, or in another way directs e l e c t r i c a l c u r r e n t i m me d i a t e l y t h r o u g h t h e b r a i n , i s n e c e s s a r y t o i n d u c e r a p i d l o s s o f

  • c o n s c io u s n e s s . Attac hment of electrodes and

animal

restraint can pose problems with this form of stunning. Signs of effective e l e c t r i c a l s t u n n i n g a r e e x t e n s i o n o f t h e l i m b s , o p i s t h o to n o s, d o wn wa r d r o t a t io n o f t h e e ye b a l l s , a nd t o n ic s p a s m c h a n g i n g t o c l o n i c s p a s m, wi t h e v e n t u a l musc le flaccidity. E l e c t r i c a l s t u n n i n g s h o u l d b e f o l l o we d p r o m p t l y by electrically ind uced cardiac fibrillation, e xsa nguina ­ t i o n , o r o t h e r a p p r o p r i a t e me t h o d s t o e n s u r e d e a t h . Refer to the section on ele ctrocution for additional infor mation.

P i t h i n g

In ge neral, pithing is used a s an adjunctive proce­ dure to ensure death in an a nimal that ha s been rend e r e d u nc o n sc io u s b y o th e r me a n s . Fo r so me sp e c ie s, such

as frogs, with anatomic features that facilitate easy access to the ce ntral nervo us system, pithing ma y be used as a sole mea ns o f eutha nasia, b ut an ane sthetic overdose is a more suitable method.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

EQUINE EUTHANASIA

P e n t o b a r b i t a l

o r

a

p e n t o b a r b i t a l c o m b i n a t i o n i s

the best c hoice for equine euthana sia. Because a large

v o l u me o f s o l u t i o n mu s t b e i n j e c t e d , u s e o f a n i n t r a ­ venous catheter placed in the jugular vein will facilitate

t h e p r o c e d u r e . T o f a c i l i ta te

c a t h e t e r i z a t io n

o f

a n

excitable or fractio us a nima l, a tranquilizer such as acepromazine, or an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist can be a d mi ni ste r e d , b u t t he se d r u g s ma y p r o lo n g t i me to lo s s o f c o n sc io us ne s s b e c a u se o f t he ir e ff e c t o n c ir c ula tio n a nd ma y result in var ying de grees of musc ular activity and agona l gasping. Opioid agonists or agonist/a nta go n i s t s i n c o nj u n c t i o n wi t h a l p h a - 2 a d r e n e r g i c a g o n i s t s ma y furthe r fa cilitate re stra int. In certain emer genc y circ umsta nces, such a s eutha na sia of a horse with a serious injur y a t a race­ tr a c k, i t ma y b e d i ffic u lt to r e str a i n a d a n ge r o u s ho r se or other large anima l for intrave nous injection. The animal might ca use injur y to itself or to b ystanders before a sedative could take effec t. In suc h case s, the animal can be give n a neur omuscular blocking age nt suc h as succinylc holine, but the animal must be eutha­ na tize d with a n approp riate tec hniq ue a s soo n a s the animal can be controlled. Succinylcholine alone or witho ut sufficie nt a nesthetic must not be used for

eutha na sia. P h ys i c a l me t h o d s , i n c l u d i n g g u n s h o t , a r e c o n s id ­ ered conditionally acceptable techniques for equine

e u th a na sia . T he

p e n e tr a ti n g c a p ti ve b o lt i s a c c e p ta b le

with a ppropria te re stra int.

ANIMALS INTENDED FOR HUMAN OR ANIMAL FOOD

In euthanasia of animals intended for human or ani­ mal food, chemical a ge nts that result in tissue resid ues cannot be used, unless they are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. 179 Carbon dioxide is the only chemical currently used for euthanasia of food animals (primarily swine) that does not result in tissue residues. Physical techniques are commonly used for this reason. Carcasses of animals euthanatized by barbituric acid derivative s or other chemical agents ma y contain poten­ tially har mful residue s. These carcasses should be dis­ posed of in a manner that will prevent them from being

consumed b y huma n beings or anima ls. Selection of a proper euthanasia technique for free- ranging wildlife must ta ke into account the possibility of consumptio n of the carcass o f the e utha natized animal by nontar get predatory or sca venger species. Numerous

cases of toxicosis and death a ttributable to in ge st io n o f

p ha r ma c e ut ic a l l y c o n ta mi n a t e d c a r c a s se s in predators

and sca vengers ha ve been reported. 107 P r o p e r c a r c a s s

d isp o sa l mu s t b e a p a r t o f a n y

e u t ha na sia p r o c e d ur e

u nd e r fr e e -r a n ge c o nd itio n s wh e r e t h e r e is potential for consumptio n toxicity. When carcasses are to be left in

the field, a gunshot to the head, penetrating captive bolt, or injectable agents that are nontoxic (potassium chloride in co mbination with a nontoxic ge neral anesthetic) sho uld be used so that the potential for scave nger or predator toxicity is lesse ned.

E U T H A N A S I A O F N O N C O N V E N T I O N A L S P E C I E S :

ZOO, WILD, AQUATIC, AND ECTOTHERMIC ANIMALS

Co mpared with objective information on co mpan­ i o n , f a r m , a n d l a b o r a t o r y a n i m a l s , e u t h a n a s i a o f species such as zoo, wild, aquatic, and ectothermic ani­ mals has been studied less, and guidelines are more limited. Irrespective of the unique or unusual features of some species, whenever it becomes necessary to eutha natize an anima l, death must be ind uced as pain­ lessly and quic kly as possible. When selec ting a means of eutha nasia for the se species, factors and criteria in addition to those previously disc ussed must b e considered. The mea ns selected will depend on the sp ecies, size, safe ty aspects, location of the anima ls to be euthanatized, a nd experience of personnel. Whether the anima l to be eutha natized is in the wild, in captivity, or free-roaming are major considerations. Ana to mic differe nces must be considered. For examp le, amp hibians, fish, reptiles, and marine mammals differ a na to mically fro m do me stic species. Veins ma y be diffi cult to locate. Some species have a carapace or other defensive ana to mic adaptations (eg, quills, sca les, spine s). For physical methods, access to the central nervous system ma y be diffic ult because the brain ma y be small and diffic ult to locate b y inexperie nced persons.

Z o o A n i m a l s

F o r c a p t i v e z o o ma m ma l s a n d b i r d s wi t h r e l a te d

dome stic counterparts, many of the mea ns described

p r e v i o u s l y a r e a p p r o p r i a t e . H o w e v e r , t o m i n i m i z e

inj ur y to

p e r so n s

o r

a n i ma l s, a d d i tio na l p r e c a utio n s

such as handling and physical or chemical restraint are important considerations.16

W i l d l i f e

For wild and feral a nimals, ma ny reco mme nded me a n s o f e u t ha na sia fo r c a p t iv e a ni ma l s a r e no t f e a si ­ ble. The panel recognized there are situations involving free-ra nging wildlife when e utha na sia is not possible

f r o m t h e a n i m a l o r h u m a n s a f e t y s t a n d p o i n t , a n d killing may be necessary. Conditions found in the field, although more c halle nging than those tha t are con­ tr o lle d , d o no t in a n y wa y r e d uc e o r mi ni mi z e t he e t h ­

ic a l o b li ga tio n o f t he

r e sp o n sib l e i nd i v id u a l to r e d uc e

p a in a nd d i str e s s to th e gr e a t e st

e xt e nt p o s sib l e d uri n g

the taking of an animal’s life. Because euthanasia of wildlife is often performed by lay personnel in remote settings, guidelines are needed to assist veterinarians, wildlife biologists, a nd wildlife hea lth profe ssio nals in d e v e l o p i n g h u m a n e p r o t o c o l s f o r e u t h a n a s i a o f wildlife. In the case of free -ranging wildlife, personnel ma y not be trained in the proper use of remote ane sthesia, proper delivery equip ment ma y not be available, per­ sonne l ma y be working alo ne in remo te areas where accidental exposure to potent anesthetic medications used in wildlife capture wo uld present a risk to human safety, or approaching the animal within a practical darting distance ma y not be possible. In the se case s, the only practical means o f a nimal collection ma y be g u n s h o t a n d k i l l t r a p p i n g . 1 3 , 1 8 0 - 1 8 4 U n d e r t h e s e c o n d i ­ t i o n s , s p e c i f i c m e t h o d s c h o s e n m u s t b e a s a g e - , species-, or taxonomic/class-specific as possible. The firear m a nd ammunitio n sho uld be appropriate for the species a nd purpose. Personnel should be sufficie ntly skilled to be accurate, and they sho uld be experienced in the proper and safe use of firear ms, co mplying with l a ws a n d r e g u l a t i o n s g o v e r n i n g t h e i r p o s s e s s i o n a n d use. Behavioral responses of wild life or captive nontra­ ditional species (zoo) in close huma n co ntact are ver y differe nt fro m those of do mestic animals. These animals are usually frighte ned a nd distressed. Thus, mini m i z i n g t h e a m o u n t , d e g r e e , a n d / o r c o g n i t i o n o f human contact during procedures that require ha ndling is o f utmo st importance. Ha ndling the se a nima ls o ften requires ge neral ane sthe sia, whic h provides loss of consciousne ss and which r elieves distre ss, anxiety, apprehension, and perception of pain. Even tho ugh the anima l is und er ge ner al a ne sthe sia , minimiz ing a ud ito ­ r y, vi s ua l, a nd ta c ti le st i mu l a tio n wi ll he lp e n s ur e t he mo st s tr e ss -fr e e e ut ha na si a p o ss ib le . W i t h u se o f ge n ­ eral anesthesia, there are mor e methods for eutha nasia available. A 2-stage e uthana sia process involving ge neral

anesthesia, tra nquiliza tion, or use of analgesics, fol­ l o w e d b y i n t r a v e n o u s i n j e c t a b l e p h a r m a c e u t i c a l s , although preferred, is often not practical. Injectable anesthetics are not always legally or readily available to those working in nuisance animal control, and the dis­ t r e s s t o t h e a n i m a l i n d u c e d b y l i v e c a p t u r e , t r a n s p o r t to a veterinary facility, and confinement in a veterinary hospital prior to e uthana sia must be considered in c h o o s i n g t h e m o s t h u m a n e t e c h n i q u e f o r t h e s i t u a t i o n at hand. Veterinarians providing support to those wor king with injured or live-trapped, free-ranging animals sho uld take capture, transport, handling dis­ tress, a nd possible carcass c onsumptio n into consider­ a t i o n w h e n a s k e d t o a s s i s t w i t h e u t h a n a s i a . Alter natives to 2-sta ge euthana sia using ane sthe sia include a squeeze ca ge with intraperitoneal injection of sodium pentobarbital, inha la nt a ge nts (CO2 c hamber, CO c hamber), a nd gunshot. In case s where preeutha nasia a ne sthetics are not a vailable, intraperi­ toneal injections of sodium pentobarbital, although slo wer in producing loss o f consciousne ss, should be considered preferable over intrave nous injection, if restraint will ca use increased distress to the a nimal or danger to the operator. W i l d l i f e s p e c i e s m a y b e e n c o u n t e r e d u n d e r a variety o f situatio ns. Eutha nasia of the same species under different conditions ma y require different tec h­ nique s. Eve n in a controlled setting, a n extremely fractious large a nimal ma y threaten the sa fety of the practitioner, b ysta nders, and itself. Whe n sa fety is in question and the fractious large animal, whether wild, feral, or dome stic, is in close confineme nt, ne uro­ musc ular blocking a ge nts ma y be used immediately p r i o r t o t h e u s e o f a n a c c e p t a b l e f o r m o f e u t h a n a s i a . For this tec hnique to be humane, the operator must ensure the y will gain co ntrol over the a nimal a nd per­ f o r m e u t h a n a s i a b e f o r e d i s t r e s s d e v e l o p s . Succinylcholine is not acc eptable as a method of restraint for use in free-ra nging wildlife because a nimals ma y not be retrieved rapidly eno ugh to preve nt neuro muscular blocking a gent-induced respirator y distress or arrest. 185

D i s e a s e d , I n j u r e d , o r L i v e - C a p t u r e d o r F e r a l S p e c i e s

W i l d l i f e

E u t h a n a s i a o f d i se a s e d , i nj u r e d , o r l i v e -t r a p p e d

wildlife should be perfor med by qualified profe ssionals.

Certain cases of wildlife injury (eg, acute, severe t r a u m a

f r o m a

u t o m o b i l e s ) m a y r e q u i r e i m m e d i a t e a c t i o n ,

a n d p a i n a n d s u f f e r i n g i n t h e a n i m a l

m a y b e best

relieved mo st rapidly b y physical me thods includ ing

gunshot

or

penetrating

captive

bolt

followed

by

solution (100 g/L), using acetone or ethanol, which may

exsanguination.

 

be irritating to fish tissues. In contrast, benzocaine

 

Birds

hydrochloride is water soluble and can be used direct- ly for anesthesia or euthanasia. 105 A

Many techniques discussed previously in these guidelines are suitable for euthanasia of captive birds accustomed to human contact. Free-ranging birds may be collected by a number of methods, including nets and live traps, with subsequent euthanasia. For collec- tion by firearm, shotguns are recommended. The bird should be killed outright by use of ammunition loads appropriate for the species to be collected. Wounded birds should be killed quickly by appropriate techniques previously described. Large birds should be anesthetized prior to euthanasia, using general anesthetics.

concentration 250 mg/L can be used for euthanasia. Fish should be left in the solution for at least 10 minutes following cessation of opercular movement. 104 The anesthetic agent 2-phenoxyethanol is used at concentrations of 0.5 to 0.6 ml/L or 0.3 to 0.4 mg/L for euthanasia of fish. Death is caused by respiratory col- lapse. As with other agents, fish should be left in solu- tion for 10 minutes following cessation of opercular movement. 195,196 Inhalant agents—Many reptiles and amphibians, including chelonians, are capable of holding their breath

 

Amphibians, Fish, and Reptiles

 

and converting to anaerobic metabolism, and can survive long periods of anoxia (up to 27 hours for some

Euthanasia of ectothermic animals must take into account differences in their metabolism, respiration, and tolerance to cerebral hypoxia. In addition, it is often more difficult to ascertain when an animal is dead. Some unique aspects of euthanasia of amphibians, fishes, and reptiles have been described. 13,51,186,187 Injectable agents—Sodium pentobarbital (60 to 100 mg/kg of body weight) can be administered intra- venously, intraabdominally, or intrapleuroperitoneally in most ectothermic animals, depending on anatomic features. Subcutaneous lymph spaces may also be used in frogs and toads. Time to effect may be variable, with death occurring in up to 30 minutes. 1,187,188 Barbiturates other than pentobarbital can cause pain on injection. 189 Clove oil—Because adequate and appropriate clin- ical trials have not been performed on fish to evaluate its effects, use of clove oil is not acceptable. External or topical agents—Tricaine methane sul- fonate (TMS, MS-222) may be administered by various routes to euthanatize. For fish and amphibians, this chemical may be placed in water. 190-193 Large fish may be removed from the water, a gill cover lifted, and a con- centrated solution from a syringe flushed over the gills. MS 222 is acidic and in concentrations 500 mg/L should be buffered with sodium bicarbonate to satura- tion resulting in a solution pH of 7.0 to 7.5.105 MS 222 may also be injected into lymph spaces and pleu- roperitoneal cavities. 194 These are effective but expen- sive means of euthanasia. Benzocaine hydrochloride, a compound similar to TMS, may be used as a bath or in a recirculation system for euthanasia of fish 184 or amphibians. 13 Benzocaine is not water soluble and therefore is prepared as a stock

species). 197-202 Because of this ability to tolerate anoxia, induction of anesthesia and time to loss of con- sciousness may be greatly prolonged when inhalants are used. Death in these species may not occur even after prolonged inhalant exposure. 203 Lizards, snakes, and fish do not hold their breath to the same extent and can be euthanatized by use of inhalant agents. Carbon dioxide—Amphibians, 1 reptiles, 1 and fish 203-205 may be euthanatized with CO 2 . Loss of con- sciousness develops rapidly, but exposure times required for euthanasia are prolonged. This technique is more effective in active species and those with less tendency to hold their breath. Physical methods—Line drawings of the head of various amphibians and reptiles, with recommended locations for captive bolt or firearm penetration, are available. 13 Crocodilians and other large reptiles can also be shot through the brain. 51 Decapitation with heavy shears or a guillotine is effective for some species that have appropriate anatomic features. It has been assumed that stopping blood supply to the brain by decapitation causes rapid loss of consciousness. Because the central nervous sys- tem of reptiles, fish, and amphibians is tolerant to hypoxic and hypotensive conditions, 13 decapitation must be followed by pithing. 188 Two-stage euthanasia procedures—Propofol and ultrashort-acting barbiturates may be used for these species to produce rapid general anesthesia prior to final administration of euthanasia. In zoos and clinical settings, neuromuscular blocking agents are considered acceptable for restraint of reptiles if given immediately prior to administration of a euthanatizing agent.

Most amphibia ns, fishes, and reptiles can be eutha natized b y cra nial conc ussion (stunning) follo wed by decapitation, pithing, or some other physical method. S e v e r i n g t h e s p i n a l c o r d b e h i n d t h e h e a d b y pithing is a n effective method of killing so me ectother ms. Death ma y not be immediate unle ss both the brain a nd spinal cord are pithed. For these a nimals, pithing of the spinal cord sho uld be follo wed by decap­ itation a nd pithing o f the brain or by another approp ria te p r o c e d ur e . P i t hi n g r e q u ir e s d e xt e ri t y a nd s k ill a nd should only be done b y trained personnel. The pithing site in frogs is the foramen magnum, and it is ide ntified by a slight midline skin depression posterior to the e ye s with the nec k flexed. 187 Cooling—It has been suggested that, when using physical methods of euthana sia in ectother mic specie s, cooling to 4 C will decrease metabolism and facilitate handling, but there is no evidence that whole bod y cooling reduces pain or is clinically efficacious. 206 Local c o o li n g i n fr o g s d o e s r e d u c e no c i c e p t io n, a nd th i s ma y be partly opio id me diated. 207 I mmobiliza tio n o f r eptile s by cooling is co nsidered ina ppropriate and inhuma ne even if co mbined with other physica l or chemical me t ho d s o f e ut ha na si a . S na ke s a nd t urtl e s, i m mo b i ­ lized by cooling, have been killed by subsequent freez­ in g. T hi s me t ho d i s no t r e c o m me nd e d . 13 Fo r ma tio n o f ice crystals on the skin and in tissues of an animal may cause pain or distress. Quick freezing of deeply anes­ thetized animals is acceptable. 208

M a r i n e M a m m a l s

Barbiturates or potent opioids (eg, etorphine

hydrochloride [M 99] and carfentanil) are the agents of

c h o i c e a l t h o u g h possible

f o r it is and

e u t h a n a s ia

recognized

ca

n

b e

ma r i n e their

o f

use p o t e n t i a l l y

ma m ma l s ,

2 0 9

is

not

al wa ys

d a n g e r o u s

t o

p e r s o n n e l. An a c c u r a t e l y placed gunshot ma y also be a

conditionally

acceptable

me t h o d

o f

e u t h a n a s ia

f o r

s o me s p e c i e s a n d s iz e s o f stranded marine

mamma ls. 51,209,210

For stranded wha les or other large cetacea ns or p i n n i p e d s , s u c c i n y l c h o l i n e c h l o r i d e i n c o n j u n c t i o n wi t h p o t a s s i u m c h l o r i d e , a d m i n i s t e r e d i n t r a v e n o u s l y or intraperitoneally, has been used. 211 This method, whic h is not a n acceptable method of eutha nasia as defined in these guideline s, leads to complete paralysis

of the

r e s p i r a t o r y

a t t r i b u t a b l e t o h y p

m u s c u l a t u r e

a n d

e v e n t u a l

d e a t h

o x e m i a . 2 0 9 T h i s m e t h o d m a y b e

m o r e huma ne tha n allo wing the stranded animal to suffocate over a period of hours or da ys if no other options are available.

EUTHANASIA OF ANIMALS RAISED FO R F UR P R O DU CT IO N

Animals raised for fur are usually euthanatized individ ually at the locatio n where the y are raised. Altho ugh a ny ha ndling o f these species co nstitute s a stress, it is possible to minimize this b y eutha natizing animals in or near the ir ca ges. For the procedures described below, please refer to previous sections for mor e d etailed disc ussio n. Carbon mo noxide—For smaller specie s, CO appears to be an adequate method for eutha nasia. C o m p r e s s e d C O i s d e l i v e r e d f r o m a t a n k i n t o a n enclosed cage that can be moved adjacent to holding cages. Using the apparatus outside reduces the risk to h u ma n s ; h o we v e r , p e o p l e u s i n g t h i s m e t h o d s h o u l d still be made aware of the dangers o f CO. Anima ls introduced into a chamber containing 4% CO lost con­ sciousness in 64 ± 14 seconds and were dead within 215 ± 45 seconds. 80 In a study involving electroen­ cep ha lo gr ap hy o f mink be ing e utha natiz ed with 3 .5 %

CO, the mink were co ma tose in 21 ± 7 seconds.212 Only 1 a n i m a l s h o u l d b e i n t r o d u c e d i n t o t h e c h a m b e r a t a time, a nd death should be confirmed in each ca se. Carbon dioxide—Administration of CO2 is also a good eutha nasia method for smaller species a nd is less

d a n g e r o u s t h a n

C O f o r p e r s o n n e l o p e r a t i n g t h e s y s ­

tem. Whe n exposed to 100% CO2, mink lo st con­ sciousness in 19 ± 4 seconds and were dead within 153

± 10 seconds. When 70% CO2 was used with 30% O2, m i n k we r e u n c o n s c i o u s i n 2 8 s e c o n d s , b u t t h e y we r e not dead after a 15-minute exposure. 80 Therefore, if animals are first stunned by 70% CO2, they should be killed b y exposure to 100% CO2 or by so me other means. As with carbon mo noxide, only one animal sho uld b e introd uced into the chamb er a t a time . B a r bit ur a t e s—B a r b it ur a te o ve r d o se is a n a c c e p t ­ able procedure for euthana sia of ma ny species of ani­ mals raised for fur. The drug is injected intraperi­ to ne a l l y a nd t he a ni ma l slo wl y lo se s c o n sc io u s ne ss . It

i s i m p o r t a n t t h a t t h e d e a t h o f e a c h

a n i m a l b e c o n ­

firmed follo wing barbiturate injection. Barbiturates will contaminate the carcass; ther efore the skinned carcass cannot be used for animal foo d. Electrocution—Electrocutio n has been used for killing fo xe s a nd mink. 135 The e lec tric c urre nt must pass through the brain to induce loss o f consciousne ss before electricity is passed through the rest of the body. Electrical stunning sho uld be follo wed b y e utha na sia, using so me other tec hnique. Cervical dislocation has been used in mink a nd other small animals and sho uld be done within 20 seco nds of electrical stunning.213

Use o f a no se -to -ta il o r no s e -to -fo o t me t ho d 13 5 a lo ne ma y kill the a nimal b y induc ing cardiac fibrillation, but the a nimal ma y be conscious for a period of time be fore death. There fore , the se te c hniques ar e unacc eptable.

PRENATAL AND NEONATAL EUTHANASIA

W h e n

o v a r i a n

h y s t e r e c t o m i e s a r e p e r f o r m e d ,

eutha na sia of feti should be accomplished as soon as possible after remo val fro m the dam. Neo natal anima ls are relatively resista nt to hypo xia. 44,214

M ASS EUTHANASIA

U n d e r u n u s u a l c o nd i t io n s , su c h a s d i s e a s e e r a d i ­ cation and natural disasters, e utha na sia options ma y be limited. In the se situations, the most appropriate tech­

n i q u e t h a t mi n i mi z e s h u ma n a n d

a n i ma l h e a l t h c o n ­

cerns must be used. These options include, but are not limited to, CO2 and physical methods suc h as gunshot, pe ne tra ting c aptive bolt, a nd c er vica l d isloc atio n.

POSTFACE

These guidelines summarize contemporar y scie ntific kno wled ge on eutha nasia in a nimals a nd call attention to the lack of scientific reports assessing pain, disco mfort, and distress in a nimals be ing e utha natized. Ma ny reports on various methods of euthana sia are either anecdotal, testimo nial narra tives, or unsubstantiated opinions a nd are, therefore, not cited in these guidelines. The panel strongly e ndorsed the need for well-d e s i g n e d e x p e r i m e n t s t o mo r e f u l l y d e t e r mi n e t h e e xtent to whic h each procedure mee ts the criteria used for judging methods of e utha na sia . Each means o f e uthana sia ha s advantage s a nd disad ­ vanta ge s. It is unlikely that, for each situa tion, any means will mee t all desir able criteria. It is also impractical for these guidelines to address every potential circumstance in which animals are to be euthanatized. Therefore, the use of professional judgme nt is imperative. Failure to list or reco mme nd a mea ns o f e utha na sia in these guideline s does not categorically co ndemn its u se . T h e r e ma y o c c a s io n a ll y b e sp e c i a l c ir c u ms t a nc e s o r sit ua tio n s i n wh ic h o t h e r me a n s ma y b e a c c e p ta b le . For research animals, these exceptions should be care­ fully considered by the atte nding ve terinaria n and the Institutio nal Animal Care a nd Use Co mmittee. In other se ttings, pro fe ssio na l j ud gme nt sho uld be used. T he panel discouraged the use of unapproved p r o d uc t s fo r e u t ha na sia , u nl e s s t he p r o d u c t h a s a c le a r ly understood mechanism of actio n and

phar macokinetic s, and studie s published in the literature that scientifically verify and justify its use. Those responsible for eutha nasia d ecisions have a critically important responsibility to carefully assess any new technique, me thod, or device, using the pa nel’s criteria.

In the absence o f definitive proof or reasonable expectation, the best intere st of the anima l should guide the decision process. Refere nces cited in the se guid elines do not represent

a c o m p r e h e n s i v e b i b l i o

g r a p h y

o n

a l l

m e t h o d s

o f

e u t h a n a s i a . P e r s o n s i

n t e r e s t e d i n a d d i t i o n a l i n f o r ma ­

tion on a particular aspect of anima l e utha na sia are encouraged to contact the Animal Welfare Information Center, National Agricultural Library, 10301 Baltimore Blvd, Beltsville, MD 20705. The AVM A is fully co mmitted to the concept that, whe never it become s necessa ry to kill a ny anima l for any reason wha tsoever, death sho uld be i nd uc e d a s p a in le ss l y a nd q ui c k l y a s p o ss ib le . It wa s the Panel’s charge to develop workable guideline s for veterinarians needing to address this problem, and it is the AVM A’s sincere desire that the se guidelines be used co nsci­ entiously b y all a nima l care providers. We consider these guidelines to be a wo rk in progress with new editions warranted as results of more scientific studie s are published.

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