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To assess (1) veterinarians’ knowledge and practices regarding disposal of euthanized animals, (2) the extent to which veterinarians communicate with their clients about potential risks of rendering pentobarbital-euthanized animals, and (3) the extent to which veterinarians communicate potential relay toxicosis and environmental risks of pentobarbital-euthanized animals to clients.


A stratified random sample of AVMA members.


Over a 3-week period in early 2021, 16,831 of the AVMA’s 99,500 members were surveyed, with 2,093 responses (a 12% response rate). Respondents were assigned to 1 of 3 categories on the basis of their answers: veterinarians euthanizing only food-producing species, veterinarians euthanizing only non–food-producing species, and veterinarians euthanizing both food-producing and non–food-producing species (ie, veterinarians euthanizing mixed species).


Veterinarians responding to this survey appeared to be aware of the major methods of animal disposal, and about 89% reported communicating the method of euthanasia with clients to help ensure appropriate animal disposal. However, the need for additional education on local, state, and federal laws and rendering, as well as on risks of relay toxicosis including wildlife predation and environmental impacts, was reported.


Survey results identified gaps in veterinarians’ knowledge regarding animal disposal following pentobarbital euthanasia. Further education on this topic may be beneficial, particularly for early- and midcareer veterinarians who euthanize non–food-producing species and for veterinarians who euthanize mixed species in urban and suburban communities.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine whether renal crystals can be experimentally induced in animals fed melamine or the related triazine compound cyanuric acid, separately or in combination, and to compare experimentally induced crystals with those from a cat with triazine-related renal failure.

Animals—75 fish (21 tilapia, 24 rainbow trout, 15 channel catfish, and 15 Atlantic salmon), 4 pigs, and 1 cat that was euthanatized because of renal failure.

Procedures—Fish and pigs were fed a target dosage of melamine (400 mg/kg), cyanuric acid (400 mg/kg), or melamine and cyanuric acid (400 mg of each compound/kg) daily for 3 days and were euthanatized 1, 3, 6, 10, or 14 days after administration ceased. Fresh, frozen, and formalin-fixed kidneys were examined for crystals. Edible tissues were collected for residue analysis. Crystals were examined for composition via Raman spectroscopy and hydrophilic-interaction liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry.

Results—All animals fed the combination of melamine and cyanuric acid developed goldbrown renal crystals arranged in radial spheres (spherulites), similar to those detected in the cat. Spectral analyses of crystals from the cat, pigs, and fish were consistent with melamine-cyanurate complex crystals. Melamine and cyanuric acid residues were identified in edible tissues of fish.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although melamine and cyanuric acid appeared to have low toxicity when administered separately, they induced extensive renal crystal formation when administered together. The subsequent renal failure may be similar to acute uric acid nephropathy in humans, in which crystal spherulites obstruct renal tubules.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research