Animal Euthanasia – A Technical View

Euthanasia, a word originated from the Greek I + thanatos , which has as a translation “good death” or“death without pain” , consists of the abbreviation of the life of a patient in terminal condition or who is subject to pain and intolerable physical suffering or psychic. This technique is adopted worldwide and encompasses both animals and humans, depending on the region, religion and culture. However, euthanasia goes beyond a definition or classification.

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Currently in Brazil, this technique is authorized and regulated by the Federal Council of Veterinary Medicine (CFMV) through Resolution No. 714 of June 20, 2002, which “provides for procedures and methods of euthanasia in animals, and provides other measures,” where criteria are established, as well as acceptable methods, or not, for the application of the technique.

Euthanasia in animals is a clinical procedure that is the exclusive responsibility of the Veterinarian, because it is only by a careful evaluation by the professional that the method can be indicated or not.

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Is Euthanasia Necessary?

This, without doubt, is a very controversial subject, since it involves many slopes, ideologies, ideas and the like. However, one thing is certain, euthanasia is only performed when there is a consent between the Tutor and the Veterinarian. The technique is usually indicated when an animal is in a terminal clinical state. That is, a chronic or very serious disease, where all possible techniques and therapeutic methods have been used without success and especially when the animal is in a state of pain and suffering.

When we talk about the necessity or not of euthanasia, we must emphasize that there are two paths to follow: the first, the application of the technique to avoid the suffering of the animal and the second, to keep it based on strong anti-pain medications to follow the natural course of illness to death.

Currently, in veterinary medicine, there are a large number of drugs available for pain control as well as for inducing an animal to a state of almost “induced coma”. These drugs and techniques are used in cases where the guardian does not intend to authorize euthanasia, even with the indication of the Veterinarian. In cases like these there is no longer any hope of improvement in the picture, leaving only the provision of a death without pain and suffering.


It is up to the Veterinarian 1 :

1. ensure that animals submitted to euthanasia are in a quiet and adequate environment, respecting the basic principles guiding this method;

2. attest to the death of the animal, observing the absence of vital parameters;

3. keep the records with the methods and techniques employed always available for inspection by the competent bodies;

4. clarify the owner or legal guardian of the animal, when applicable, about the act of euthanasia;

5. request authorization, in writing, from the owner or legal guardian for the animal, to carry out the procedure, when applicable;

6. to allow the owner or legal guardian for the animal to attend the procedure, whenever the owner so wishes, as long as there are no inherent risks.

Techniques used

Euthanasia techniques in both dogs and cats are always chemical, ie they involve the administration of general anesthetics in relevant doses, thus ensuring that the animal is fully anesthetized and free of any pain or suffering. Often the professional can choose to associate one or more drugs that accelerate and potentiate the death of the animal. The procedure should be fast, painless and with total absence of suffering. It is worth noting that it is a crime established by the Brazilian penal code to be carried out in such practice by an unauthorized person, and therefore it is prohibited to be performed by tutors and the like.

It is therefore the responsibility of the guardian together with the veterinarian to ascertain whether or not the application of euthanasia is necessary and preferably when all appropriate treatment methods have already been used to ensure all rights of the animal concerned.

If your pet has recently been euthanized and you do not know what to do, read our article that answers the question ” my pet died? What to do? ”

This article is purely informative, in we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.

If you want to read more articles the less you know about Euthanasia animal – a technical overview , we recommend you to enter our section on Other health problems .

Emily Harris

Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-p I am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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