Euthanasia

John Donovan1, Patricia Brown2

1 Wyeth-Ayerst Research, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, 2 National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Neuroscience
Unit Number:  Appendix 4H
DOI:  10.1002/0471142301.nsa04hs33
Online Posting Date:  November, 2005
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Abstract

Euthanasia of laboratory animals must be performed by trained personnel using appropriate techniques, equipment, and reagents in order to effect a death that is humane and satisfies research requirements. Acceptable methods of euthanasia are painless or minimize distress, and are quick and easy to perform, safe for those performing the procedure, and efficient and economic. They are aesthetically acceptable and are done in the absence of other animals. In addition, these methods do not result in gross histological or histochemical changes that would adversely affect research results. This unit offers protocols for euthanasia employing carbon dioxide asphyxiation (see Basic Protocol 1), pentobarbital overdose (see Basic Protocol 2), exsanguination, and cervical dislocation for the mouse, rat, hamster, and rabbit.

     
 
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Table of Contents

  • Euthanasia of Mouse, Rat, and Hamster
  • Basic Protocol 1: Carbon Dioxide Asphyxiation
  • Basic Protocol 2: Pentobarbital Overdose
  • Alternate Protocol 1: Anesthesia with Exsanguination
  • Alternate Protocol 2: Cervical Dislocation of Mouse
  • Euthanasia of the Rabbit
  • Basic Protocol 3: Pentobarbital Overdose
  • Alternate Protocol 3: Carbon Dioxide Asphyxiation of the Rabbit
  • Alternate Protocol 4: Anesthesia with Exsanguination
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
     
 
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Materials

Basic Protocol 1: Carbon Dioxide Asphyxiation

  Materials
  • 100% CO 2 (tank or house carbon dioxide) with pressure‐reducing valve and liter flow meter
  • CO 2 chamber with lid

Basic Protocol 2: Pentobarbital Overdose

  Materials
  • Sodium pentobarbital (60 mg/kg)
  • 1‐ to 3‐ml syringe with 20‐ to 25‐G needle
  • Additional reagents and equipment for handling and restraint ( appendix 4D) and intraperitoneal injection ( appendix 4F)

Alternate Protocol 1: Anesthesia with Exsanguination

  • Guillotine or scissors
  • Additional reagents and equipment for anesthesia (appendix 4b) and blood collection ( appendix 4G)

Alternate Protocol 2: Cervical Dislocation of Mouse

  Materials
  • Pencil or metal rod of similar size

Basic Protocol 3: Pentobarbital Overdose

  Materials
  • Sodium pentobarbital (100 mg/kg)
  • 70% ethanol
  • Gauze sponge or swab
  • 5‐ to 10‐ml syringe with 25‐ to 30‐G butterfly infusion set
  • Additional reagents and equipment for handling and restraint ( appendix 4D) and intravenous injection ( appendix 4F)

Alternate Protocol 3: Carbon Dioxide Asphyxiation of the Rabbit

  Materials
  • CO 2 gas cylinder with pressure‐reducing valve and liter flow meter
  • CO 2 chamber with lid

Alternate Protocol 4: Anesthesia with Exsanguination

  Materials
  • 70% ethanol
  • Gauze sponge or swab
  • 5‐ to 60‐ml syringe with 20‐ to 25‐G needle
  • Additional reagents and equipment for anesthesia and blood collection ( appendix 4G)
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Figures

Videos

Literature Cited

Literature Cited
   Beaver, B.V., Reed, W., Leary, S., McKiernan, B., Bain, F., Schultz, R., Bennett, B.T., Pascoe, P., Shull, E., Cork, L.C., Francis-Floyd, R., Amass, K.D., Johnson, R., Schmidt, R.H., Underwood, W., Thornton, G.W., and Kohn, B. 2001. 2000 report of the AVMA panel on euthanasia. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 218:669‐696. .
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