Message Number: YG2718 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Bruce Williams, DVM
Date: 2001-04-18 20:01:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Euthanasia

--- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Mike Janke" <mjanke@m...> wrote:
> I believe it can be done subcutaneously. I am almost positive
> is one shelter operator I know that has it done this way. I
> understand that it takes 20 minutes or so for death to occur, and
> while it appears to be a gradual and peaceful way, I can't help but
> wonder what the ferret is experiencing during that long period of
> time.
> My last two were put to sleep by intracardial injection. Please
> understand that they were HEAVILY sedated prior and as I said in a
> previous message, there was absolutely no reaction, not even an
> involuntary bottle-brush of the tail. Still, I will not allow this
> method again, if at all humanly possible. Those two were at
> of stress and distress, and I allowed my vet to convince me that it
> would be painless, which it seemed to be. However, even if it was
> painless for the ferrets, it was not painless for me to have to
> witness this method.
> I plan to discuss this topic with my vet well in advance this time
> and determine all possible methods and have the decisions made
> it's needed, in a time of less pressure.
> -mike
> --- In Ferret-Health-list@y..., "Glenn Johnson" <johno@c...> wrote:
> > We should question the whole procedure, as is still being
> by some vets. Why can there not be a simple subQ injection that
> let them go to sleep peacefully and never awaken? Why do they have
> be hurt one more time before they die?
> >
> > Glenn and Chuki

While anesthesia can be administered subcutneously, euthanasia
solutions are all done intravenously by design - they contain a
number of chemicals that musts be distributed quickly to the brain
and heart, to anesthetize and paralyze these organs, respecitvely.
Subcutaneous administration would not allow rapdi dstirbution, and
death, although it would certainly occur, would be prolonged and
unsettling to watch.

The bottlebrush tail that is seen is likely involuntarily muscle
contraction of the errector pili muscles of tail follicles, which
cause the hair to stand up, and should not be construed to represent
pain. It may be seen in animals who are already sedated.

With kindest regards,

Bruce Williams, dVM