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California State University, Long Beach
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Policy on Animal Euthanasia

Euthanasia is the act if inducing painless death. Criteria to be considered for a painless death are: rapid occurring unconsciousness and unconsciousness followed by cardiac or respiratory arrest.

Techniques for euthanasia should follow current guidelines established by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines on Euthanasia. Any deviation from the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia must receive approval from the CSULB Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

The most common means of euthanasia for species of animals used at CSULB include:

Small Animals (mice, rats, ground squirrels)

  • CO2 inhalation chamber (gas cylinder preferred over dry ice) followed by a physical means (harvest of vital tissue, cervical dislocation, decapitation, pneumothorax) to assure death. NOTE: While CO2 is effective in older juvenile and adult rats and mice, CO2 is ineffective in embryos and pups therefore after consideration of the recommendations of the latest revision of the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia the CSULB IACUC has determined that rat and mouse embryos and pups 8-days-old or less, may be euthanatized by decapitation without anesthesia or sedation. Embryos must be harvested from a properly euthanatized, pregnant rat or mouse. Sharp scissors must be used by well-qualified individuals to ensure that decapitation is performed efficiently and humanely.
  • Anesthetic overdose (IV or IP)
  • Tissue harvest resulting in exsanguination under deep surgical anesthesia
  • Euthanasia Solution (Commercial Veterinary Product) IV or IP
  • NOTE: Cervical dislocation and/or decapitation (of rodents 9 days of age and older) without prior anesthesia or sedation will not be approved by the CSULB IACUC without scientific justification supported by literature references.

Large Animals (rabbits)

  • IV anesthetic overdose
  • IV KCL during deep surgical anesthesia
  • IV Commercial Veterinary Euthanasia Solution
  • Tissue harvest resulting in exsanguinations under deep surgical anesthesia

Birds: anesthetic overdose followed by some physical means to assure death, CO2 followed by some physical means to assure death

Fish: MS222 exposure, Ice slurry followed by cervical dislocation with a sharp knife

Frogs: Pithing, Decapitation followed by pithing

Questions concerning euthanasia procedures and techniques should be referred to the attending veterinarian.

Dr. John Young
Phone: (310) 423-7684

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