Animal Euthanasia

The euthanasia Animal (from Greek “good death”) is the act of allowing death by suppressing extreme and / or apply the painless death to an animal suffering from a painful situation or a dying or incurable illness or difficult to recover medical measures . 1 Euthanasia methods are designed to cause minimal pain and stress. 2

In some countries such as Venezuela, euthanasia is regulated by law, and should be practiced only by veterinarians in certain circumstances, with methods that do not involve cruelty, mistreatment or prolonged agony. The Venezuelan Penal Code establishes arrest as a sanction for who, without necessity, has killed an animal, understanding the application of the rule to all those cases where it does not refer to “clinical euthanasia” practiced by collegiate veterinarians or when animals are concerned. human consumption.


Intravenous anesthesia

For pets, injection of a high dose of pentobarbital or sodium thiopentate is almost always used . Unconsciously, the animal stops breathing and the cardiac arrest arrives quickly, in about 30 seconds. 3 Observers describe it as a quick technique that generates a painless death.

Inhaled anesthesia

Inhaled anesthetics such as isoflurane and sevoflurane can be used for small animals. Many of them are introduced into sealed chambers where a high level of gas is introduced. Death can also be caused by carbon monoxide once the loss of knowledge by inhalation of anesthetics has been achieved. 4

Cervical dislocation

Cervical dislocation or neck breakage is a simple and common method of ending the life of small animals like cats. Death is instantaneous and requires no other equipment than a pair of gloves for protection.

Intracardiac or intraperitoneal injection

When intravenous injection is not possible, pentobarbital can be injected directly into one of the heart’s cavities.

While intraperitoneal injection is well accepted (although it may take 15 minutes in dogs and cats 4 ), intracardiac injection should be performed on an unconscious or deeply sedated animal. In California, intracardiac injections to conscious animals is a crime. 5


This is a very appropriate method for large animals (cattle). There are two common methods like bullet to spine 6 or bolt pistol firing, where a bolt or rod shoots into the cerebral cortex, breaking it. 7

Reasons for euthanasia

  • Terminal disease such as cancer .
  • Rabies .
  • Behavioral problems that can not be corrected, such as aggressiveness.
  • Diseases or broken limbs that cause suffering to the animal to live with it or that the person who owns the animal can not face the treatment (or do not want for moral objections).
  • Age that causes deterioration of body functions.
  • Lack of host family.
  • When he is run over if he is still alive.

Some animal rights organizations, such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals , support animal euthanasia under certain circumstances and practice it in the shelters they serve. Referring to Fig.


  1. Back to top↑ 2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia
  2. Back to top↑ It’s time to say goodbye
  3. Back to top↑ UK Veterinary Medicines Directorate Product Notes for 20% Pentobarbital solution. [1]
  4. ↑ Jump to:a b «Laboratory Animal Euthanasia» (DOC) . Australian National University . Archived from the original on August 19, 2007 . Accessed November 30, 2007 .
  5. Back to top↑ Calif. Criminal Code 597u (a) (2)
  6. Back to top↑ Tom J. Doherty, Alex Valverde, Manual of Equine Anaesthesia and Analgesia , Blackwell Publishing 2006 (page 352)
  7. Back to top^ CJ Laurence, “Animal welfare consequences in England and Wales of the 2001 epidemic of foot and mouth disease”, Rev. sci. Tech. Off. Int. Epiz , 2002, 21 (3), 863-868)
  8. Back to top↑ “Animal Rights Uncompromised: ‘No-Kill’ Shelters , PETA, accessed June 26, 2010; “A reply from PETA to a letter inquiring about its euthanization decisions,”, accessed June 26, 2010.