|Consideration for Owners, Equine Facility Managers, Auction Market Operators, Horse Transporters, and Law Enforcement Officers (November, 1999)|
|•||Drugs that directly depress the central nervous system (barbiturates, anesthetics). Overdoses lead to depression of the respiratory centers and cardiac arrest.|
|•||Physical or functional destruction of brain tissue vital for life (e.g., gunshot, penetrating captive bolt gun).|
|•||Methods that induce unconsciousness followed by exsanguination (massive blood loss).|
|Euthanasia is defined as "the intentional causing of a painless and easy death to a patient suffering from an incurable or painful disease."|
Webster's II University Dictionary, 1996
|Is the horse a hazard to itself or its handlers?|
Examples may include violent or uncontrollable, self-destructive, thrashing behavior in traffic or crowded areas.
Does the immediate condition carry a hopeless prognosis for life?
Examples may include open long bone (leg bones below the shoulder or hip) fractures, exposed abdominal contents, and loss of a limb.
Other non-emergency situations that may require decisions regarding euthanasia include chronic or incurable conditions or conditions that require continuous medication for the relief of pain or suffering. Veterinary consultation should be sought in thes e situations.
|Considerations in the Selection of a Euthanasia Method|
The following information should be considered when choosing the appropriate method of euthanasia:
The method should not put anyone at unnecessary risk. Considerations include ricochet of a bullet and/or the unpredictability of a falling or thrashing animal.
All methods of euthanasia should produce a quick and painless death. However, certain environments or animal behaviors may prevent the use of a specific method.
Each method requires a differing amount of restraint. For example, administration of barbiturate or use of a captive bolt gun requires physical contact with the animal, whereas a firearm does not.
The euthanasia method selected must be practical in the emergency situation that currently exists. For example, the necessary equipment must be readily available, and one must realize that barbiturates are only available to licensed veterinarians.
All methods require some degree of skill or training to administer correctly. Horse owners in remote locations, auction market employees, horse transporters, and law enforcement personnel should be aware of, and appropriately trained in, at least one em ergency euthanasia method.
Some methods require a larger initial investment (e.g., firearms and penetrating captive bolt gun) but are relatively inexpensive to use thereafter.
Some methods of euthanasia "appear" less objectionable to the untrained eye. Most methods will result in some exaggerated muscular activity (e.g., leg movements and twitching) even when the animal is not experiencing any pain or distress.
|Method||Human Safety||Animal Welfare||Skill||Required Cost||Aesthetics||Considerations|
|Gunshot||Moderate; firearm laws apply||Good||Moderate; correct placement essential||Low||Fair; some blood and body movement||Distance from animal can be maintained|
|Penetrating Captive Bolt Gun||Good||Good||Moderate; correct placement essential||Low||Fair; some blood and body movement||Contact with animal required|
|Barbiturate Overdose||Good||Excellent||Moderate; intravenous injections required||High||Good||Drug only available to licensed veterinarians|
|Exsanguination||Fair||Good; animal must be unconscious||Moderate||Low||Poor; very bloody||Not sole method of euthanasia|
|Unacceptable Methods of Equine Euthanasia|
|Ethical and humane standards of euthanasia DO NOT permit the following methods of euthanasia for horses:|
• Manually applied blunt trauma to the head.
• Injection of chemical agents into conscious animals (e.g., disinfectants, certain electrolytes such as KCl, non-anesthetic pharmaceutical agents).
• Air embolism (e.g., the injection of a large amount of air into the circulatory system).
• Electrocution with a 120-volt electrical cord.
|Euthanasia Action PlanBusiness Name: ________________________________|
Veterinarian Name & Phone: ________________________________
Rendering or Disposal Service: ________________________________
Drafted By: _________________________________
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Animal Health and Food Safety Services
Animal Care Program
1220 N Street, Room A-107
Sacramento, CA 95814
Veterinary Medicine Extension
School of Veterinary Medicine
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-8736