AVMA guidelines for the euthanasia of animals

The AVMA guidelines for the euthanasia of animals are intended for use by members of the veterinary profession who carry out or oversee the euthanasia of animals. The overriding commitment of these guidelines is to provide veterinarians guidance in relieving pain and suffering of animals that are to be euthanized.

The recommendations in the guidelines are intended to guide veterinarians, who must then use professional judgment in applying them to the various settings where animals are to be euthanized.

The AVMA Panel on Euthanasia develops the content of the guidelines, with support from its working groups. The panel is required to do a comprehensive review and update of the report at least every ten years, although more frequent major revisions are possible based on substantive information gleaned from new research and experience with practical implementation. To ensure the guidelines remain as up-to-date as possible, interim revisions (reflecting substantive updates, but of a less extensive nature than a major revision) are also accommodated, and minor editorial corrections are made as such items are identified (e.g., typographical errors, updating of website addresses).

View AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition (PDF)

The AVMA guidelines for the euthanasia of animals: 2020 edition is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.-0 Unported License.

Related policy

AVMA guidelines for the humane slaughter of animals

AVMA guidelines for the depopulation of animals

Agency comments

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) oversees Public Health Service-funded animal activities by the authority of the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 and the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (PHS Policy). OLAW announced implementation of the updated AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition on February 24, 2020 and sought input from the public regarding the updated Guidelines.

Request for Information (RFI) on Implementation of the Updated AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2020 Edition Guide Notice NOT-OD-20-069

Responses received to NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-20-069

NIH OLAW letter to AVMA regarding responses received to NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-20-069

AVMA letter to NIH OLAW addressing responses to NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-20-069