Texas Tech University

General Guidelines for Euthanasia

For research to provide meaningful information, often, tissues must be analyzed in laboratory equipment. Many times this means those tissues must be collected from research animals, which requires that the animal be humanely euthanized.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, the national professional society for graduate, licensed veterinarians, has provided a set of guidelines for proper euthanization of animals in a pain free and distress free manner.

When any Texas Tech animal is being euthanized, the techniques must adhere to the University's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Policy on Euthanasia and be reviewed with veterinary input, and approved by the IACUC.

Texas Tech University recognizes that euthanasia is distressing, but still required for many animal studies. When possible, data collection methods are used, which allow the animal to live. In other situations, the animal must be humanely euthanized, for proper collection of animal tissue. When meaningful research requires those endpoints, Texas Tech adheres to the guidelines established by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

General guidelines for euthanasia at Texas Tech include:

  • Animals will be euthanized only when necessary.
  • Gentle, careful handling of subject animals is of the utmost importance.
  • Measures should be taken to ensure that euthanasia is performed in a way that minimizes distress.
  • No other animals may be present during euthanasia of another animal.
  • Euthanasia must be carried out by personnel properly trained in the procedure being used. Many of the approved methods of euthanasia require technical proficiency for proper conduct and should not be attempted without prior training. Other methods may only be used with properly designed equipment. Animal Care Services personnel are available to train, assist or perform in proper animal euthanasia. Contact the Animal Care Services Veterinarians if you will need assistance in performing euthanasia in an acceptable manner.
  • Experimental requirements will be considered when a method of euthanasia is chosen.

For more information on the agents, medicines, specific species recommendations and guidance used for proper euthanasia, click here.