Pet euthanasia: how is it going?


Age, illness, a financial or family problem, so many situations that no longer allow many owners to keep their pets with them. Euthanasia then becomes the last possible solution. Even if the separation is painful, it must be carried out properly.

What is euthanasia?

Gently cause the death of an animal, euthanasia must expressly be done without stress or pain. This is a decision made by the owner, the veterinarian or the competent authorities. In France, there are no specific regulations governing this practice. It’s up to the owner to decide. If he feels that there is no other solution, he can opt for euthanasia. As for veterinarians, they only perform this medical act if the objective is to reduce the pain of an animal that is already too old, to prevent it from suffering because of an incurable disease or to protect living beings against contagious pathology or dangerous behavior.

The reasons for euthanasia

Euthanasia is not practiced for personal reasons, because of a move, a family change, a financial problem. No, the choice to euthanize generally results from the state of health of the suffering animal or from its behavior that has become totally undesirable and uncontrollable. The most frequent explanation is of medical origin: it is possible that the animal is suffering, either suffering from a handicap, or incapacitated or even being the victim of an incurable disease. Euthanasia will be practiced in order to shorten his suffering.

How is euthanasia performed?

Euthanasia is painless. It takes place in two parts. First, the veterinarian calms the animal and then puts it to sleep by injecting it with an anesthetic or a tranquilizer. Once the animal is sleeping soundly, a lethal product is injected to cause respiratory and cardiac arrest. Muscular manifestations may occur following the injection of this lethal product. These do not mean that the operation failed, nor that the animal is in pain. It’s just reflexes. Note that the lethal product used can be either a mixture of anesthetic agents, or a pentobarbital which is barbiturate causing death at high dose.

In principle, these injections are carried out via the venous route. But if for one reason or another, it is not possible to use this technique, it will be necessary to proceed via the muscles or by gas.

Support at the end of life

Even if the pain is very sharp for the owners, it is preferable that the latter be present at the time of the act, in order to reassure the animal. The vet does not know his reactions and the operation can quickly turn into a tragedy if he cannot control him. It is important for owners to stay despite the stress and sadness, as this will do the animal good. Another thing: in order to facilitate the act, it is possible to do it at home rather than at the vet. The animal in question will be in a familiar environment and will be less stressed.

Once euthanasia is complete, the remains can be buried in an animal cemetery or cremated. If it weighs less than 40 kg, you can also bury it in your garden as long as you respect the following provisions: that the site is at least 35 meters from the first houses and water points (of the spring type in particular) , that the hole is at least 1.20 m deep to deposit the remains on the ground, covered with quicklime. Beyond 40 kg, you will need to call on a renderer.

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