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The use of intrarenal injection of sodium pentobarbital for euthanasia in cats

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  • 1 Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy, Loveland, CO
  • | 2 5280 Veterinary Care, Denver, CO
  • | 3 Longs Peak Animal Hospital, Longmont, CO
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine whether intrarenal injection of sodium pentobarbital is a viable method for euthanasia in anesthetized client-owned cats and assess potential factors associated with time to cardiopulmonary arrest (TCPA) for such treated cats.

ANIMALS

131 client-owned cats.

PROCEDURES

In this retrospective study, client-owned cats presented for euthanasia between March 1, 2009, and January 15, 2010, were evaluated by veterinarians to determine suitability of intrarenal injection versus other methods of euthanasia. Cats included were anesthetized and then received 6 mL of sodium pentobarbital (390 mg/mL) by intrarenal injection. Results for TCPA were compared for cats grouped on the basis of variables of interest.

RESULTS

131 cats were included, of which 74 (79%) had a TCPA < 1 minute and 28 (21%) had a TCPA between 1.5 and 8 minutes after intrarenal injection. Most (124/131 [95%]) cats had no observable reaction to the intrarenal injection other than cardiopulmonary arrest. Median TCPA was longer for cats without (1 min; 25/131 [19%]) versus with (0 min; 106/131 [81%]) palpable kidney swelling upon injection.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The effects of intrarenal injection of sodium pentobarbital in cats of the present study were similar to those typically observed with IV administration of euthanasia solution. When this intrarenal injection method is used, cardiopulmonary arrest with few agonal reactions can be expected to occur quickly in most patients. The intrarenal injection method is suited for euthanasia of anesthetized cats with easily located kidneys when IV access may be difficult.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine whether intrarenal injection of sodium pentobarbital is a viable method for euthanasia in anesthetized client-owned cats and assess potential factors associated with time to cardiopulmonary arrest (TCPA) for such treated cats.

ANIMALS

131 client-owned cats.

PROCEDURES

In this retrospective study, client-owned cats presented for euthanasia between March 1, 2009, and January 15, 2010, were evaluated by veterinarians to determine suitability of intrarenal injection versus other methods of euthanasia. Cats included were anesthetized and then received 6 mL of sodium pentobarbital (390 mg/mL) by intrarenal injection. Results for TCPA were compared for cats grouped on the basis of variables of interest.

RESULTS

131 cats were included, of which 74 (79%) had a TCPA < 1 minute and 28 (21%) had a TCPA between 1.5 and 8 minutes after intrarenal injection. Most (124/131 [95%]) cats had no observable reaction to the intrarenal injection other than cardiopulmonary arrest. Median TCPA was longer for cats without (1 min; 25/131 [19%]) versus with (0 min; 106/131 [81%]) palpable kidney swelling upon injection.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The effects of intrarenal injection of sodium pentobarbital in cats of the present study were similar to those typically observed with IV administration of euthanasia solution. When this intrarenal injection method is used, cardiopulmonary arrest with few agonal reactions can be expected to occur quickly in most patients. The intrarenal injection method is suited for euthanasia of anesthetized cats with easily located kidneys when IV access may be difficult.

Contributor Notes

Corresponding author: Dr. Kogan (Lori.kogan@colostate.edu)