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Veterinary Euthanasia Techniques: A Practical Guide



Veterinary Euthanasia Techniques: A Practical Guide

Kathleen A. Cooney, Jolynn R. Chappell, Robert J. Callan, Bruce A. Connally

ISBN: 978-1-118-33555-0 May 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 197 Pages

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Veterinary Euthanasia Techniques: A Practical Guide provides detailed guidance on euthanasia procedures in a wide variety of species, including dogs, cats, exotics, horses, and production animals. Based on the current AVMA guidelines, the book offers step-by-step descriptions of the recommended methods of euthanasia, giving all the information needed to perform these techniques with confidence.  Veterinary Euthanasia Techniques helps practitioners, students, and technicians expand their knowledge base and provide competent, compassionate euthanasia services.

Including information on client considerations, equipment, positioning, sedation, and aftercare, the focus of the book is on providing detailed procedures for correctly performing euthanasia. Veterinary Euthanasia Techniques presents complete information on euthanasia, offering specific advice to improve skills and aid in decision making.

About the Authors vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 Client Considerations 1

Companion animals 3

Species-specific considerations 6

2 Equipment 19

Technique-specific equipment 19

Euthanasia area equipment 29

Drugs 30

Species-specific considerations 35

3 Positioning and Restraint 43

Positioning 43

Restraint 45

Species-specific considerations 45

4 Pre-euthanasia Sedation and Anesthesia 51

Anesthesia 52

Sedation 53

Drugs and routes of administration 55

Assessing unconsciousness and sedation 56

Specific-species considerations 57

5 Euthanasia Techniques 73

How death is achieved 73

Choosing an appropriate method 75

Inhalant methods 78

Injectable methods 79

Physical methods 79

Species-specific techniques 79

Unacceptable methods for domestic animals 164

Death and associated signs 165

6 Body Aftercare 169

Burial 170

Composting 172

Cremation/incineration 173

Rendering 174

Species-specific considerations 174

Conclusion 183

Bibliography 185

Index 191

“This is a book that you should purchase and not let sit on the shelf. Use it to perfect a ‘good death’ for your own patients.”  (Australian Veterinary Journal, 1 April 2013)

“So while this is not a perfect book, it definitely does what they intend and I genuinely look forward to future editions.”  (Veterinary Practice News, 1 March 2013)

“Overall, this is a wonderful resource for any practitioner or technician. The information is logically organized, enabling quick and easy retrieval. No other resource covers the topic of euthanasia as completely.”  (Doody’s,
25 January 2013)

“The text would be useful both in an educational as well as clinical setting for review and further study.”  (, 1 January 2013)

“Veterinary Euthanasia Techniques’ is very much a practical guide for veterinary surgeons and technicians on what is a difficult decision to make – and to get right.”  (Veterinary Record, 15 December 2012)

"The book can be used as a manual covering step-by-step techniques or as a starting point for discussing options with clients. No vet's library should be without this manual!."  (The Bookwatch, 1 November 2012)

“On balance, the authors of this new book have succeeded in providing a practical guide to the euthanasia techniques for all species the practising veterinarian is likely to encounter.”  (Animal Welfare, 1 November 2012)


ChapterPageDetailsDatePrint Run
234Errata for Print Book
Footnote a on Table 2.2 on page 34 should actually read that those products are not currently marketed in the United States.

  • Provides practical how-to guidance for veterinarians, veterinary students, and veterinary technicians in performing or assisting euthanasia procedures
  • Improves confidence in all euthanasia methods, especially in unfamiliar situations
  • Offers detailed step-by-step techniques for euthanasia, with additional information on client communication, equipment, and aftercare
  • Acts as a tool for discussing euthanasia options with clients and in making clinical decisions
  • Covers a wide variety of species, including dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, snakes, chelonians, horses, and livestock