Euthanasia Methods

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Post   » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:33 am

We have to print death strips from our EKG's... we have to have a full 6 second strip with no cardiac movement to pronoucnce death... I have sat there for an hour... flat lined for 5 and a half seconds....then pvc/pea.. #$%^& come on already! ;). (I really really am not this much of a witch with my patients!)

We get the, "but thier son/daughter/whoever is flying in from (wherever) to see grandpa, can't you just keep them alive til they get here?!" Ummm, if I could keep all my patients alive, that would be awesome, unfortunately, I don't really get that call... We have to do lots of education that just because you are on machines... doesn't mean you can't pass away... this is always a very hard lesson to learn.

I love learning the similarities btwn the vet-medical and human-medical world. Now I just have to make the descision which I like better~!


Post   » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:37 am

Well, if it matters, I'm sure the human-medical world pays better. ;)

I'm a full time vet assistant and I am pretty sure I am living below the poverty line.

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Post   » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:42 am

At our hospital, I think new grad nurses start out at 19.80... but of course it varies with what unit/shift/area of the country!

I know nothing about the pay scale of vet clinic employees :(. I only know its $35,000 per year for the vet school I want to go to. Stupid school!


Post   » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:46 am

If you are starting out as a VA, you'll get about $10/hr. However, most people start in the kennel, in which you can hope to get just a few pennies more than min wage. At least this is true in SoCal.

Which vet school do you want to go to? The one I want to go to is $35K a year too. Stupid private school. Have you applied yet? Almost? I just went thru the whole app process so if you need any advice or info, email me. :)

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Post   » Sun Feb 18, 2007 1:00 am

That's awful for all the intense work!!!

UPenn. Live in Illinois now, moving in August (haha reference my desparate blogs of how in the heck am I going to move with 25 animals?! :))

But I need a year of residency to apply... and I still need a physics and an organic chem lab... but I can do that in a year... take my time, no need to kill myself trying to do both in a semester! and I am only a nurse, so I need to find someone that will hire me into a vet clinic for the experience part of my resume'!

Ugh, how much of a nighmare is it to apply?

I will definately email soon, time for me to go to bed! My obnoxious baby is trying to chew my mouse cord. Children!



Post   » Sun Feb 18, 2007 1:06 am

It was pretty expensive and you need to be careful about the different deadlines. The only advice I have for you is to be sure you have tons of experience. I only applied to the two CA schools but my friend applied to everything under the sun. She already got 4 rejection letters and although she has nearly a 4.0 GPA, she didnt have enough experience (they tell you the reason for the rejection). We both, however, got an interview with Western U just a few weeks ago. We're just waiting on Davis' interview invite (or dis-invite). Yes email me. Best keep the thread about euthanasia and piggies.

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Post   » Sun Feb 18, 2007 1:17 am

Well, at least they tell you the reason for the rejection. (may I ask what her experience is?) Definately will email you! :) Thank you so much!

Head honcho: Feel free to delete my off topic rambles!!! :)

G'night for real this time!

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Post   » Sun Feb 18, 2007 1:58 am

Just stumbled across this thread.

I have had to have several pigs put down at the vet's office. Only once did I sit through the process. Like Serena and mkkayla said, it was a terrible experience. My baby was given anesthesia (gas) before the heart injection, but she woke up and struggled and fought to live. I was horrified -- the memory will haunt me forever.

It may have been the right thing to do with a dying pig and this may not have been the typical or best of euthanasia experience... but I have to say it was anything but humane.

I pray all guinea pigs pass quietly on their own.

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:58 am

I think my first piggy, Hammy, died in his sleep (he was sick with a URI) the last time I'd checked him - he was sleeping in his pigloo, snuggled up with a Therma Care Heat Wrap. In the morning (he was in a 'hospital' cage next to our bed) - my husband discovered him. He (my husband) was unconsolable - I sent him outside with the dogs while I took care of Hammy - his cage - and burial.

My second baby, Muffin, passed under anesthesia during surgery to lance a CL abscess. I've always taken comfort in the fact that he was asleep - and felt no pain.

Roo appears to be tettering on the edge of things right now. If we must euth - I plan to wait for my husband to come home from work, and I'd like to do it here at our home. I'd rather not be around for the heart stick, but if my husband wants - I'll stay with Roo and he can go outside, or in the other room for the heart stick.

Ken, my husband is terrible at dealing with the death of our animals. He can't talk about Hammy's death without tearing up to this day. I think it's because his father died when he was six months old - and he grew up in a house where 'you just didn't discuss death'. But that's another story all together.

Humans and animals act very similar at the time of death. It's a hard thing to be present for. It's important to me that I be only supportive (for both animal and human deaths) and put my selfish needs aside. I try my best to be calm, reassuring, and comforting. I sing softly - or whisper sweet things - anything to help the process along. I find that I feel better about the whole thing, if I know I was a source of comfort in the end.

Get on your bike.

Post   » Sun Feb 18, 2007 11:16 am

My baby was given anesthesia (gas) before the heart injection, but she woke up and struggled and fought to live. I was horrified -- the memory will haunt me forever.

Oh wow. just wow. The vet that put Kringle down wouldn't let us stay for the heart stick. That was probably why. I so hope my pets can always wait for my regular vet.

Supporter in '13

Post   » Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:21 am

This is a great discussion. Thank you for bringing it up. We may be facing this decision in the near future with our Peppi, and I want to be armed with as much info as possible to make it as stress-free and painless as possible.

On an older thread on the topic I read a while back, someone mentioned oral sedatives as an alternative to Isoflorane. Is that enough to prepare them for a painless heart injection? Our vet typcially uses a box with an iso/oxygen mix. We mentioned our concern to our vet about the gas being stressful for a pig and asked about an oral sedative. While he admitted that some small animals get scared of the smell, his concern was that with an oral sedative alone, they may still be too conscious to put down humanely with a heart injection. He was willing to try a combo of oral sedative to calm them down first, and then gas. Would that work as an option to lessen fear and pain?

Our vet seemed very willing to work with whatever we wanted to try should Peppi's time come. If we want to ask about the IM injection, what drugs should we ask about?

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Cindy in MI
Supporter in '05

Post   » Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:53 am

I am still wondering why it can't happen like this - first an oral sedative to get them relaxed and loopy, then an IM sedative to put them totally under, then the heart stick. Any reason it couldn't be done this way?

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It started with Louie...

Post   » Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:00 pm

Serena, wasn't it Torb Louie had that sedated him so well?

Sorry amy, I just saw this now. Yes, you are right. It was a big dose of Torb. I'm pretty sure that is what Chewie got in the end, too.

I agree with Cindy and Capybara regarding both. I don't care how much extra that would cost because it would be worth it.

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Supporter in '14

Post   » Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:15 pm

I had a feral cat I had to euthanize. Normally, my dogs and cats get an IV stick of the euth fluid alone. In all but one instance, they've gone quietly and peacefully. There was no way we were going to be able to IV stick Candy, so the vet gave her valium first SQ or IM (I can't remember). After she was asleep from that he gave her the other stuff IV. I really think I will ask for it to be done that way from now on. To heck with the extra cost.

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Supporter in '08

Post   » Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:30 pm

I didn't read this whole thread but wanted to contribute my thoughts. My current vet has done both an IM sedative as well as gas via a mask (as opposed to some sort of box structure).

There are pros and cons to both - personally I prefer the IM sedative as it's just a moment of pain/discomfort which is quickly forgotten, and you can be with the pet talking to and stroking him/her. The gas can cause them to struggle which is uncomfortable for me. Also, a lot of vets won't let you be with your pet while they're being gassed because of regulations (I'm not allowed out back with my current vet, but have experienced it with other vets).

But some animals don't do well with injections and it can be difficult for the owner as well. I have had a rat put to sleep who was very difficult to inject IM, he had to be poked a couple of times and he squeaked. Within seconds he was relaxed and and giving kisses and I could see that he was not stressed, but it was difficult at first.

I believe that an animal being sedated with gas before the euthanasia injection should always remain on the gas until the injection is actually completed, so that there is not the chance of them waking up. That is one reason the experienced vets I know use a mask for gas sedation rather than a box. I could be wrong though?


Post   » Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:05 pm

Cindy: Oral sedatives normally wont be able to put an animal down all the way so they would still feel the poke of an IM injection, therefore, not very useful.

Alice: Mask and box does the same thing... sometimes the box upsets them less because there isnt someone holding this thing up to their face (which is part of the upset besides the smell of the gas).

Iso leaves the body quickly, which is why some of you experienced your pig waking up during the heart stick. Its one of the benefits (but in your case, down falls) of using iso. I believe it is still the anest. gas used on people... though I have heard they are starting to use a detrivative of iso now. It is quick to enter and quick to leave the body.

In most cases, you won't be able to have the animal masked and euthanized if oyu want to watch. Most places have regulations against allowing clients into the treatment area, where the gas machines are. Plus because the patient is being masked rather than intubated, there is the chance for gas leak, which leads to potential regulation violations.

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amy m guinea

Post   » Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:27 pm

Thank you Serena, I will keep that in mind. Nevy went into an iso box. I had no idea how it would be done, because I did not ask. This discussion is very important. I can't stand to think of him running about in the box in his last moments. In my heart I feel I let him down for not educating myself.

I poured my heart into getting him well, hand-feeding for 3 months and spending alot of money on surgery and chiro visits, and I would have spent more if he could have been saved, and it broke my heart just like I know people here who have gone through it feel. I just chickened out when it came to asking about euthansia methods.

When I brought him in for his check-up he had lost more weight and we decided to do it then and there. I held him for quite awhile, he chirped softly, but I had to hand him over. When I saw the box, I knew I couldn't watch that. I asked if he would be scared and my vet said, they do get agitated a bit.

Next time, I will be there. I will ask for some for of sedation before the heart stick, not an iso box. I just wish I would have had the courage then


Post   » Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:36 pm

I have never had any of my rodents "stuck in the heart." They have all been IP injections. One GP had an IP injection without iso and there was very little pain involved and he just drifted off to sleep then slowly passed away. Some were taken back for iso and then brought back to me for the injection so I could hold them while they drifted away.

It does take a little longer for this method, meaning they are in the twilight part where their heart is barely beating for a while, but it is less painful I believe and sounds less dreadful than this heart stick.

When the vet came to my house to euthanize my dog, he was in DIC and was really so far gone, they just gave him the pink stuff and I remember crying and asking over and over if it was going to hurt him. My vet assured me it would be painless, he would just go to sleep and he did. I don't know if it was truly painless or if it was because he was so sick. At the time there was a sense of relief that he was at peace finally after such a long struggle.


Post   » Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:36 pm

Dont blame yourself. I have assisted countless euthanasias and seem various different methods and I simply didn't add one and one together regarding how our pigs are euthanized until recently.

Its one of those issues that are right in front of each of our faces but no one really sees it.

I assume "IP injection" is the liver stick? Never heard of it referred that way. Liver sticks tke longer because it is not directly in the blood stream. And in some cases, the liver is missed and the solution goes in the peritoneal cavity, giving it a SQ effect. It'll do the trick, just takes much longer.

Euthasol is a bartibuate overdose... think sleeping pills OD in humans. You just get so sedated that your heart stops and your brain shuts down.

Get on your bike.

Post   » Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:08 pm

I did not have the same experience with the liver injection as you describe, Chunky. It was a very humane and fast way to go (with Dr. R doing it). Yes, dragonsl's experience was mine. I remember that 'twillight' period. It was very peaceful and gave me a chance to say goodbye.

Amy, if it's any consolation Kringle went into the iso box first and I don't remember him running around. He just didn't like the smell but it was over in a few seconds.
Last edited by HollyT on Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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