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Animals : an open access journal from MDPI
Volume 12 | Issue 3 (February 2022)

Lessons and Recommendations from a Pentobarbital Shortage: US and Canada 2021.

Animals (Basel). February 2022;12(3):.
Kathleen Cooney1, Lianna Titcombe2
1 Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy, Loveland, CO 80538, USA.; 2 Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy, Loveland, CO 80538, USA.


In 2021, a shortage in the supply of the euthanasia drug pentobarbital sodium affected animal care professionals around the world, including in the United States and Canada. Pentobarbital sodium is the drug of choice for companion animal euthanasia in both countries. The decreased availability of pentobarbital sodium affected a number of animal care industries, forcing conservation of the drug and the use of alternative methods and other agents to facilitate humane death for all manner of animal species. Veterinary medical groups, laboratory research institutions, and the animal sheltering industry worked together to identify the best path forward to maintain routine euthanasia practices and to protect the welfare of animals. This article aims to explore the reasons behind the shortage and to highlight the necessary responses and adjustments made in order to continue providing euthanasia services in North America. Recommendations for handling future pentobarbital shortages are included.

euthanasia; humane death; pentobarbital sodium;

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