Euthanasia of Exotic Pets: What Are the Options?


Human euthanasia of exotics pets can be challenging, especially in smaller patients, and when owners wish to be present. Methods typically used in traditional pet species, in particular the use of IV euthanasia agents in the conscious pet, are often too stressful for exotics. The AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition contains a wealth of useful information on the entire process,  While guidelines have existed since 1963, the 2013 version greatly expanded specific species recommendations, including those for exotic pet species such as birds, reptiles, small mammals, fish and even crustaceans and fertile eggs:

Our preference uses two steps: the first is simple IM injection of anesthetic agents. Once the pet is completely anesthetized (which may require additional doses), euthanasia solution can be delivered IV, IO, IP, intracardiac or into kidney or liver. It should be noted AVMA guidelines does not recommend the use of inhalant agents alone to induce anesthesia (this technique is stressful and should be strictly avoided for any purpose); euthanasia solution also must not be delivered any route other than IV or possibly IP in the conscious patient.

Questions on stress free euthanasia for exotic pets?  Email or call, and we can help.