Euthanizing....

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Interesting, thanks for sharing. Wonder if this would apply to chameleons that go into brumation? And so are you saying reptiles that do have this frozen state wouldn't feel pain from the cold?
Brumation is not freezing...so maybe it's uncomfortable without being painful or maybe there's a coping mechanism?
What do the iguanas feel that were dropping from the trees in Florida a while ago?
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Brumation is not freezing...so maybe it's uncomfortable without being painful or maybe there's a coping mechanism?
What do the iguanas feel that were dropping from the trees in Florida a while ago?
Brumating animals do experience freezing temperatures, but I guess you're talking like a total freeze(while with brumation this would probably be a relatively short occurrence). Makes sense. I also wonder about the gators that sit in frozen ponds with their noses sticking out.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
For brumation or hibernation the animals usually have coping mechanisms so I would think they weren't in pain but may be uncomfortable. When freezing an animal that doesn't brumate or hibernate, they can't cope...they lack the mechanisms to cope... so IMHO they have a painful death.
 
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DocZ

Member
What are the goals during euthanasia, other than ultimately the death of the animal? Should lack of awareness be part? Should lack of pain? Should rapidity be a goal? Should the feelings of the person charged with caring for the animal be taken into account?

You already answered the fact that, yes vets have better ways to administer euthanasia than anyone does at home. And a caretaker of an animal, especially a pet, is always going to bring their emotion to these situations. I don’t think they’re necessarily assuming their animals are experiencing the same emotions, they’re experiencing those emotions themselves and want the process to be as humane as possible to serve their own needs. I agree transport would be very stressful, but the animal is also about to die (hopefully or I’m not sure why we’re killing it), so it’s likely the stress of transport may be diminished in comparison to their impending death

as far as meeting the different goals during euthanasia, I think lack of awareness and pain are reasonable to strive for. An animal that moves all over its enclosure throughout the day to regulate its temperature, light exposure, and humid certainly has awareness of its environmental conditions and would be well aware when it gets put in a freezer. I haven’t gotten through all of the article, but much of the argument seems to be based on lack of evidence regarding nociceptionin in reptiles and amphibians. In a sense arguing that if it can’t be established with solid scientific data, it must not be happening, so why is it against the rules. Last, I’m not sure freezing is as rapid as you think. If I wanted to cool down a case of beer quickly, putting it in the feeezer is not the most rapid method. And if it’s a bit too slow, discomfort of some form seems inevitable.
Comes down to the goals of the process I think. Death, amnesia, comfort, speed. All reasonable goals.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I feel like people are still missing the point, unless @DocZ you're talking about something else. I am NOT arguing for freezing. There are certainly species though that could be frozen without pain, I do not think this is chameleons. I said this in response to never freezing any animal/creature.

I love how everyone skips over the fact that a vet experience is incredibly stressful lol. I change one branch in my parsonii enclosure and it freaks him out for 2 weeks. Yet dragging an already vulnerable sick animal to the vet isn't that big of a deal? Sure if that's the only option, maybe it is is IDK. Certainly I wouldn't freeze him... but if there is a method at home that would be painless which in sure there is, that's going to be much easier on the animal. Remember, it's not what the keeper wants, it's what's best for the animal(words often said on this forum regarding everything else).
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
Euthanasia methods and techniques are not decided upon on in a willy nilly fashion. It is a topic that has been extensively evaluated from both a medical and ethical standpoint and there are rules. The American Veterinary Medical Association has very specific guidelines to outline what acceptable methods are and which ones are not and under what circumstances they are allowed. These are the criteria used to assess whether or not euthanasia methods are humane and/or acceptable:
In evaluating methods of euthanasia, the POE considered the following criteria: (1) ability to induce loss of consciousness and death with a minimum of pain and distress; (2) time required to induce loss of consciousness; (3) reliability; (4) safety of personnel; (5) irreversibility; (6) compatibility with intended animal use and purpose; (7) documented emotional effect on observers or operators; (8) compatibility with subsequent evaluation, examination, or use of tissue; (9) drug availability and human abuse poten- tial; (10) compatibility with species, age, and health status; (11) ability to maintain equipment in proper working order; (12) safety for predators or scavengers should the animal’s remains be consumed; (13) legal requirements; and (14) environmental impacts of the method or disposition of the animal’s remains.
It's not just whether or not the animal dies.

To answer the freezing question, NO it is not considered humane. Studies have shown that crystallization of tissues, which causes pain by expansion, starts before unconsciousness. They are rendered basically paralyzed by the cold so they cant react to it but they are still able to feel it. people think its effective because they dont see the animal struggling....but not because it's peaceful, it's because they physically cannot move.

S7.3.7 Unacceptable methods
Hypothermia—Hypothermia is an inappropriate
method of restraint or euthanasia for amphibians and reptiles unless animals are sufficiently small (< 4 g)95 to permit immediate and irreversible death if placed in liquid N2 (rapid freezing).352,354,361 Hypothermia reduces amphibians’ tolerance for noxious stimuli376,377 and there is no evidence that it is clinically efficacious for euthanasia.378 In addition, it is believed that freezing can result in the formation of ice crystals in tissues that may cause pain.95,356 Consequently, because amphibians and reptiles lack behavioral or physiologic means of demonstrating pain or distress while hypothermic, generalized prohibitions on hypothermia for restraint or euthanasia are appropriate. Localized cooling in frogs may reduce nociception, but this localized effect is not appropriately applied to the whole body as a part of euthanasia procedures.379 Freezing of deeply anesthetized animals may be justified under circumstances where human safety could be compromised.380
Here are the AVMA guidelines should you be interested in reading them: https://www.avma.org/sites/default/files/2020-02/Guidelines-on-Euthanasia-2020.pdf
 
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GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
For reptiles being euthanized at a veterinary clinic, in general the animal is first given an IM (intramuscular) injection of a sedative and then an overdose of a euthanizing solution directly to the heart or another organ in the chest/abdominal cavity. Due to the slow oxygen exchange rate (particularly while sedated), if the heart isn't directly injected it can take some time for the animal to pass. Anesthetic gasses are rarely used, as they take a long time to go into effect and reptiles have a habit of holding their breath when exposed to it.

Personally, I believe the momentary stress of a vet visit is well worth the peaceful death of your pet. I've had two chameleons euthanized over the last year and a half, and stand by my decision. Neither of my animals suffered, and their passing was swift and without any trauma beyond that first injection.

There aren't any truly painless or clean home deaths, and it's generally traumatizing for the person carrying it out. I grew up on a farm and have dispatched a large number of poultry and various mammals, and if you hesitate at all it gets really messy, really fast. Even with the experience I have, I'll never put down one of my own pets without the appropriate drugs unless it was an absolute emergency and moving the animal would cause undue suffering. Many vets also offer home euthanasia on request if you have a good relationship with them.

My two cents on the matter
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
For reptiles being euthanized at a veterinary clinic, in general the animal is first given an IM (intramuscular) injection of a sedative and then an overdose of a euthanizing solution directly to the heart or another organ in the chest/abdominal cavity. Due to the slow oxygen exchange rate (particularly while sedated), if the heart isn't directly injected it can take some time for the animal to pass. Anesthetic gasses are rarely used, as they take a long time to go into effect and reptiles have a habit of holding their breath when exposed to it.

Personally, I believe the momentary stress of a vet visit is well worth the peaceful death of your pet. I've had two chameleons euthanized over the last year and a half, and stand by my decision. Neither of my animals suffered, and their passing was swift and without any trauma beyond that first injection.

There aren't any truly painless or clean home deaths, and it's generally traumatizing for the person carrying it out. I grew up on a farm and have dispatched a large number of poultry and various mammals, and if you hesitate at all it gets really messy, really fast. Even with the experience I have, I'll never put down one of my own pets without the appropriate drugs unless it was an absolute emergency and moving the animal would cause undue suffering. Many vets also offer home euthanasia on request if you have a good relationship with them.

My two cents on the matter
I appreciate and respect your post, but I do not think a vet visit is momentary stress. Well, I think it depends on the species and the animal, how well they take to being moved.

I see what you mean about hesitating and I wouldn't expect many to do this. It was somewhat of a dark joke, but I'd feel confident in doing it myself. There are painless deaths, maybe not clean though ehh. Anyway, this is why I asked if there were any reliable home methods and if so it'd be worth talking about. Home euthanasia from a vet I'd agree would be the best bet.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
I appreciate and respect your post, but I do not think a vet visit is momentary stress. Well, I think it depends on the species and the animal, how well they take to being moved.

I see what you mean about hesitating and I wouldn't expect many to do this. It was somewhat of a dark joke, but I'd feel confident in doing it myself. There are painless deaths, maybe not clean though ehh. Anyway, this is why I asked if there were any reliable home methods and if so it'd be worth talking about. Home euthanasia from a vet I'd agree would be the best bet.
Page 92 of the guidelines is where the section on reptiles begins. If you find an acceptable option that can performed at home those are your choices.
 

ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
I personally am of the opinion that the stress of going to the vet is worth a painless death. I have unfortunately euthanized many animals of many species and as weird as it sounds I take pride in providing peaceful, pain free euthanasia. It is the last comfort that I can provide when there are no other comforts to offer an animal and I can prevent suffering and further pain. So if it must be done at least I know it is done right.

This is about to get graphic and I apologize but it is worth saying...
That being said, I have guided someone on having to apply the blunt force trauma method when they were physically unable to have their chameleon euthanized when it was gravely wounded and in distress. A heavy brick applied quickly to completely crush the head on a flat surface is really the only humane way to perform euthanasia at home for the vast majority of people. That won't prevent twitching or moving from the body in all cases. And it must be completely crushed, skull and all, to achieve rapid death. Decapitation alone is not sufficient due to their slow metabolism so if this is attempted, destruction of the brain tissue must rapidly follow. These are not methods for the faint at heart for sure. When possible please seek veterinary assistance to ensure it is humane and painless.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I personally am of the opinion that the stress of going to the vet is worth a painless death. I have unfortunately euthanized many animals or many species and as weird as it sounds I take pride in providing peaceful, pain free euthanasia. It is the last comfort that I can provide when there are no other comforts to offer an animal and I can prevent suffering and further pain.

This is about to get graphic and I apologize but it is worth saying...
That being said, I have guided someone on having to apply the blunt force trauma method when they were physically unable to have their chameleon euthanized. A heavy brick applied quickly to completely crush the head on a flat surface is really the only humane way to perform euthanasia at home for the vast majority of people. That won't prevent twitching or moving from the body in all cases. And it must be completely crushed, skull and all, to achieve rapid death. Decapitation alone is not sufficient due to their slow metabolism so if this is attempted, destruction of the brain tissue must rapidly follow. These are not methods for the faint at heart for sure. When possible please seek veterinary assistance to ensure it is humane and painless.
I'm a pretty strong dude, a straight right from me, I guarantee my cham would be out... just messing...Ferrit I hope you know I'm just playing devil's advocate discussing things regarding euthanasia("I could go on all day about... euthanasia"). You're all medical staff, of course I don't think I know more than any of you on this subject. The only things I really stand by are that I hesitate to take my reptiles to the vet unless I absolutely have to for stress reasons. Then again, my panthers did handle it pretty well, the Parsons handles it horribly. Everything else I'm open to because I don't have much of a clue. I never said go ahead and do it at home, i was asking if there were known methods of doing it at home because if there were easy methods, then that would be one less problem for the animal... which you did a good job of giving me an answer. I appreciate all of your responses and don't want to argue, well I don't even have anything to argue about, but based on everyone jumping in here, some people seem worked up about it so I'll stop :)
 
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ferretinmyshoes

Veterinarian
Staff member
@jamest0o0 I didn’t think we were arguing! Were we arguing? 😆

These are very valid questions to ask and it is a subject most people don’t want to talk about because it’s obviously an uncomfortable subject to discuss. I hope to never be in a situation where I need to use blunt force trauma but if I am it is good to know that it is considered humane if done correctly and how that may be performed. So it’s useful information for anyone reading this to know as well. And to know what methods are not acceptable. I just wanted to offer the medical side and a definitive opinion based on science without the inevitable emotional aspect that surrounds it as well. A lot of people don’t even realize that there are guidelines or how/why they are created. Veterinarians got you covered. :)
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm a pretty strong dude, a straight right from me, I guarantee my cham would be out... just messing...Ferrit I hope you know I'm just playing devil's advocate discussing things regarding euthanasia("I could go on all day about... euthanasia"). You're all medical staff, of course I don't think I know more than any of you on this subject. The only things I really stand by are that I hesitate to take my reptiles to the vet unless I absolutely have to for stress reasons. Everything else I'm open to because I don't have much of a clue. I never said go ahead and do it at home, i was asking if there were known methods of doing it at home because if there were easy methods, then that would be one less problem for the animal... which you did a good job of giving me an answer. I appreciate all of your responses and don't want to argue, well I don't even have anything to argue about, but based on everyone jumping in here, some people seem worked up about it so I'll stop :)
I'm definitely not worked up about it. The thread title caught my eye during my nightly forum scroll, and thought I'd say my piece having had recent personal experiences with euthanasia and a medical background. Our lovely resident vet beat me to it!
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
@jamest0o0 I didn’t think we were arguing! Were we arguing? 😆

These are very valid questions to ask and it is a subject most people don’t want to talk about because it’s obviously an uncomfortable subject to discuss. I hope to never be in a situation where I need to use blunt force trauma but if I am it is good to know that it is considered humane if done correctly and how that may be performed. So it’s useful information for anyone reading this to know as well. And to know what methods are not acceptable. I just wanted to offer the medical side and a definitive opinion based on science without the inevitable emotional aspect that surrounds it as well. :)
No not at all, I was actually surprised you talked to me in such a friendly way TBH lol. Not that you're rude, but as you know, I've had my run ins with the cham law. Was waiting for you all to euthanize me :eek:

Seriously though, I appreciated your feedback and was reading through those methods you posted. I know you're a vet, and know a TON more than me regarding medical care. It drives me crazy when people don't listen to the experts in their respective professions, so I owe that to you.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm definitely not worked up about it. The thread title caught my eye during my nightly forum scroll, and thought I'd say my piece having had recent personal experiences with euthanasia and a medical background. Our lovely resident vet beat me to it!
Good good, I didn't think so, but I never know for sure when texting. I thought people were worked up for what I said about freezing. I didn't want it to come off the wrong way. There's been past threads that blew up over a misunderstanding, didn't want that to happen again.
 
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