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decision to be made by the veterinarian and the investigator to ensure that the end point is humane and the objective of the protocol is achieved.
Euthanasia should be carried out in a manner that avoids animal distress. In some cases, vocalization and release of pheromones occur during induction of unconsciousness. For that reason, other animals should not be present when euthanasia is performed (AVMA 1993).
The selection of specific agents and methods for euthanasia will depend on the species involved and the objectives of the protocol. Generally, inhalant or noninhalant chemical agents (such as barbiturates, nonexplosive inhalant anesthetics, and CO2) are preferable to physical methods (such as cervical dislocation, decapitation, and use of a penetrating captive bolt). However, scientific considerations might preclude the use of chemical agents for some protocols. All methods of euthanasia should be reviewed and approved by the IACUC.
It is essential that euthanasia be performed by personnel who are skilled in methods for the species in question and that it be performed in a professional and compassionate manner. Death should be confirmed by personnel who can recognize cessation of vital signs in the species being euthanatized. Euthanatizing animals is psychologically difficult for some animal care, veterinary, and research personnel, particularly if they are involved in performing euthanasia repetitively or if they have become emotionally attached to the animals being euthanatized (Arluke 1990; NRC 1992; Rollin 1986; Wolfle 1985). When delegating euthanasia responsibilities, supervisors should be aware of this as a potential problem for some employees or students.
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AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association). 1993. Report of the AVMA panel on euthanasia. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 202(2):229-249.
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