AVMA veterinary euthanasia guidance open for comment

Comment period ends Aug. 31

August 13, 2019 (published)
By Jennifer Fiala

The American Veterinary Medical Association is seeking comments on proposed changes to its euthanasia guidelines. 

The AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals are intended for use by members of the veterinary profession who are involved in the euthanasia of animals. Developed by the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia, the 102-page document offers a guide veterinarians on how to best relieve pain and suffering in animals that are to be euthanized. 

The guidelines have undergone many revisions since their initial publication in 1963. While a complete revision is ordered every 10 years, the document is tweaked regularly to ensure that it reflects the latest research, scientific advances in end-of-life care and practical information. The last major revision occurred in 2013. 

Outlined in an executive summary are the following notable changes:

  • New carbon dioxide flow rates for rodents and rabbits
  • Physical technique changes that include new captive bolt position for food- and fiber-producing animals
  • New adjunctive methods for equids once the animal is anesthetized
  • Changes in euthanasia methods recommended for embryonated eggs based on a perception of pain and consciousness

A list of all proposed updates can be found on the AVMA website. Input must be received by Aug. 31 via the AVMA's commenting form

The AVMA Board of Directors will review and approve the final version. 

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