AVMA updates euthanasia guidance for the profession

Published on January 24, 2020

The silhouette of a dog looks into the sunet.

The AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals have been updated to reflect important research advances, including new techniques and equipment. This important guidance provides best practices for veterinarians, who must use their professional judgment in applying the guidelines to the various settings where animals are to be euthanized.

The newest update to the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals includes:

  • Clarification on the distinction between sedation and anesthesia
  • A change in carbon dioxide flow range percentage for euthanasia of laboratory mice and rats
  • Changes to several euthanasia techniques for rabbits
  • Additional information covering euthanasia methods for American bison, water buffalo, and camelids
  • New adjunctive methods regarding equids
  • An amended recommendation for when avian embryos achieve the potential for perception
  • A change in immersion time for finfish
  • Further detail about the proper use of magnesium salts or ethanol for euthanizing aquatic invertebrates

Understand the changes—and earn CE at the same time

A series of continuing education (CE) webinars are available on AVMA Axon to help guide you through the updates to the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals. Explore the complete series at avma.org/Axon.

Protecting animal welfare at all stages

The euthanasia guidelines are one of three AVMA policies providing guidance on humane endings for animals. The others are the AVMA Guidelines for the Humane Slaughter of Animals and the recently published AVMA Guidelines for the Depopulation of Animals. All three guidelines undergo regular review to ensure they remain current and valuable to the profession.

Learn more about the euthanasia guidelines at avma.org/euthanasia.


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