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  • Rodent Euthanasia Procedures for Investigative Personnel
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Last Updated 15 July 2016

  1. Purpose

    To establish acceptable methods of euthanasia for investigative personnel to perform. The current procedure is composed of two parts; a primary method followed by a secondary method to ensure death and/or prevent revival.
  2. Responsibility

    1. Investigative Personnel
  3. Definitions

    1. Euthanasia: Term used to describe the ending the life of an individual animal in a way that minimizes or eliminates pain and distress.
  4. Procedures

    1. General Procedures
      1. Methods of euthanasia must be in accordance with an IACUC approved animal use protocol.
      2. Methods described in this document are the most common forms of euthanasia. Contact Training Core for training on other euthanasia methods,
    2. Animal Consolidation Procedure for Inhalant Euthanasia
      1. Consolidate mice within the animal room.
        1. Maximum of 10 mice in a small mouse box.
        2. Maximum of 25 mice in a large mouse box.
      2. Provide ample space for animals to move and assume normal postures.
      3. Upon consolidation, animals are euthanized immediately (maximum of 10 minutes).
      4. Follow standard housing densities when consolidating other rodents (e.g. rats) for euthanasia.
    3. Primary Euthanasia Method
      1. Animals must be observed and monitored at all times until death.
      2. It may take 5 minutes or more for animals to stop breathing during euthanasia.
        1. The most common method of adult and adolescent rodent (> 10 days old) euthanasia is exposure to carbon dioxide (CO2).
        2. Neonates (pinkies), without hair and <10 days old, are typically euthanized by decapitation. Inhalation anesthetics or CO2 exposure may or may not be used prior to decapitation.
          1. CO2 euthanasia is not as effective in neonates.
          2. If CO2 euthanasia is employed with neonates, a secondary method must be performed.
      3. Follow the Step by Step Euthanasia Procedures posted within the euthanasia room to euthanize animals.
    4. Secondary Euthanasia Method
      1. Procedures must be employed to ensure death so that the animal cannot revive.
      2. The most commonly used method is bilateral pneumothorax.
        1. Using a scalpel blade, an incision is made in both sides of the rodent's chest cavity or through the diaphragm.
  5. Related Documents

    1. UM Methods of Euthanasia by Species
    2. UCUCA Statement on Confirmation of Euthanasia via Rigor Mortis (No link to documents new location)
    3. UM Policy on Rodent Euthanasia via Carbon Dioxide Overdose
    4. Additional Information for Investigators and Staff Regarding Rodent Euthanasia via Carbon Dioxide Overdose
  6. Appendices

    1. Appendix A: Step by Step Rodent Euthanasia Instructions
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