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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



To determine the validity of finite element analysis (FEA) as a means of examining biomechanical properties of the Kirschner-Ehmer external skeletal fixation system.

Sample Population

10 paired tibiae harvested from skeletally mature dogs weighing between 30 and 38 kg immediately following euthanasia for reasons unrelated to musculoskeletal disease.


A gap fracture was created in each bone; fragments were stabilized with 3 frame configurations (type I, type II, and type III), using enhanced-profile threaded pins. Each bone-frame construct was tested, using a materials testing machine in 3 modes of testing: axial compression (AC), mediolateral (ML) bending, and craniocaudal (CC) bending, for a total of 9 tests/bone. The elastic limit of the constructs was not exceeded during testing. Mean stiffness values were determined from load-displacement curves. A finite element model of each construct was created, using three-dimensional elastic beam elements, and stiffness values were calculated, using FEA. Correlations between experimental and FEA data then were determined.


Significant differences in stiffness were seen among all 3 constructs in CC bending and AC, with stiffness increasing with construct complexity. No significant difference in ML bending stiffness was seen between type-II and type-III constructs; however, both were significantly stiffer than the type-I constructs. The experimental and FEA stiffness data were strongly correlated (AC, r = 0.994; ML bending, r = 0.998; CC bending, r = 0.985).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Strong correlations among experimental and FEA data indicate that FEA is a valid method of comparing stiffness of Kirschner-Ehmer external skeletal fixation constructs. (Am J Vet Res 1999;60:615–620)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To examine the effects of euthanasia rates, euthanasia practices, and human resource practices on the turnover rate among employees with euthanasia responsibilities at animal shelters.

Design—Cross-sectional original study.

Sample Population—36 shelters across the United States that employed at least 5 full-time employees and performed euthanasia on site.

Procedures—By mail, 1 survey was sent to each shelter. Surveys were completed by a senior member of management and were returned by mail. Questions assessed characteristics (eg, euthanasia rates) and practices of the animal shelter, along with employee turnover rates. By use of correlation coefficients and stepwise regression analyses, key predictors of turnover rates among employees with euthanasia responsibilities were investigated.

Results—Employee turnover rates were positively related to euthanasia rate. Practices that were associated with decreased turnover rates included provision of a designated euthanasia room, exclusion of other live animals from vicinity during euthanasia, and removal of euthanized animals from a room prior to entry of another animal to be euthanized. Making decisions regarding euthanasia of animals on the basis of factors other than behavior and health reasons was related to increased personnel turnover. With regard to human resources practices, shelters that used a systematic personnel selection procedure (eg, standardized testing) had comparatively lower employee turnover.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Data obtained may suggest several specific avenues that can be pursued to mitigate turnover among employees with euthanasia responsibilities at animal shelters and animal control or veterinary medical organizations.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To identify and evaluate coping strategies advocated by experienced animal shelter workers who directly engaged in euthanizing animals.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Sample Population—Animal shelters across the United States in which euthanasia was conducted (5 to 100 employees/shelter).

Procedures—With the assistance of experts associated with the Humane Society of the United States, the authors identified 88 animal shelters throughout the United States in which animal euthanasia was actively conducted and for which contact information regarding the shelter director was available. Staff at 62 animal shelters agreed to participate in the survey. Survey packets were mailed to the 62 shelter directors, who then distributed them to employees. The survey included questions regarding respondent age, level of education, and role and asked those directly involved in the euthanasia of animals to provide advice on strategies for new euthanasia technicians to deal with the related stress. Employees completed the survey and returned it by mail. Content analysis techniques were used to summarize survey responses.

Results—Coping strategies suggested by 242 euthanasia technicians were summarized into 26 distinct coping recommendations in 8 categories: competence or skills strategies, euthanasia behavioral strategies, cognitive or self-talk strategies, emotional regulation strategies, separation strategies, get-help strategies, seek long-term solution strategies, and withdrawal strategies.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Euthanizing animals is a major stressor for many animal shelter workers. Information regarding the coping strategies identified in this study may be useful for training new euthanasia technicians.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association