The veterinary profession has a special responsibility to animals during the final stages of their life.
For many people, their first thought when it comes to an animal's end of life is the care offered to a beloved companion animal after a serious injury of diagnosis of a terminal condition. Veterinarians have many options for palliative care and euthanasia of companion animals to help the owner make compassionate choices and offer animals the best quality of life possible and, where appropriate, a peaceful death.
The veterinary obligation also extends to the humane treatment of all animals killed for a range of purposes, including the depopulation of animals during an emergency and the slaughter of commercially raised or harvested livestock.
The role of the veterinary profession can be seen as falling into four main areas: Human Perspectives, Animal End of Life, Humane Killing Techniques, and the Disposition of Remains.
AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals
Euthanasia of Animals That Are Unwanted or Unfit for Adoption
Guidelines for Veterinary Hospice Care
Animal Carcass Risk in Natural Disasters
Appropriate Carcass Disposal
Controlled Substances Used for Euthanasia