Euthanasia - Not Approved Methods

Agent Comments
Air embolism Air embolism may be accompanied by convulsions, opisthotonos, and vocalization. If used, it should be done only in anesthetized animals
Blow to the head Unacceptable for most species
Burning Chemical or thermal burning of an animal is not an acceptable method of euthanasia
Chloral hydrate Unacceptable in dogs, cats, and small mammals
Chloroform Chloroform is a known hepatotoxin and suspected carcinogen, and therefore hazardous to personnel
Cyanide Cyanide poses an extreme danger to personnel and the manner of death is aesthetically objectionable.
Decompression Decompression is unacceptable for euthanasia because of numerous disadvantages. (1) Many chambers are designed to produce decompression at a rate 15 to 60 times faster than that recommended as optimum for animals, resulting in pain and distress due to expanding gases trapped in body cavities. (2) Immature animals are tolerant of hypoxia, and longer periods of decompression are required before respiration ceases. (3) Accidental recompression, with recovery of injured animals can occur. (4) Bloating, bleeding, vomiting, convulsions, urination, and defecation, which are aesthetically unpleasant, may occur in the unconscious animals.
Drowning Drowning is not a means of euthanasia is inhumane.
Exsanguination Because of the anxiety associated with extreme hypovolemia, exsanguination should be done only in sedated, stunned, or anesthetized animals.
Formalin Direct immersion of an animal into formalin, as a means of euthanasia, is inhumane
Household products and solvents Acetone, quaternary compounds (including CCl4), laxatives, clove oil, dimethylketone, quaternary ammonium products, antacids, and other commercial and household products or solvents are not acceptable agents for euthanasia
Hypothermia Hypothermia is not an appropriate method of euthanasia
Neuromuscular blocking agents (Nicotine, magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride all curariform agents) When used alone, these drugs all cause respiratory arrest before, unconsciousness, so the animal may perceive pain after it is immobilized
Rapid freezing Rapid freezing as a sole means of euthanasia is not considered to be humane. If used, animals should be anesthetized prior to freezing.
Strychnine Strychnine causes violent convulsions and painful muscle contractions
Stunning Stunning may render an animal unconscious, but it is not a method of euthanasia (except for neonatal animals with thin craniums). If used, it must be followed by a method to ensure death.

From 2001 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia. Permission granted by the Journal of the AVMA.






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