Excerpts from the 2000 Panel on Euthanasia as published

Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia JAVMA, Vol 218, No. 5, March 1, 2001

"The term euthanasia is derived from the Greek terms eu meaning good and thanatos meaning death. A "good death" would be one that occurs with minimal pain and distress. In the context of this report, euthanasia is the act of inducing humane death in an animal. It is our responsibility as veterinarians and human beings to ensure that if an animal’s life is to be taken, it is done with the highest degree of respect, and with an emphasis on making the death as painless and distress free as possible. Euthanasia techniques should result in rapid loss of consciousness followed by cardiac or respiratory arrest and the ultimate loss of brain function. In addition, the technique should minimize distress and anxiety experienced by the animal prior to loss of consciousness."

"In evaluating methods of euthanasia, the panel used the following criteria: (1) ability to induce loss of consciousness and death without causing pain, distress, anxiety, or apprehension; (2) time required to induce loss of consciousness; (3) reliability; (4) safetyof personnel; (5) irreversibility; (6) compatibility with requirement and purpose; (7) emotional effect on observers or operators; (8) compatibility with subsequent evaluation, examination, or use of tissue; (9) drug availability and human abuse potential; (10) compatibility with species, age, and health status; (11) ability to maintain equipment in proper working order;and (12) safety for predators/"

"The first of these is the veterinary clinical setting where owners have to make decisions about whether and when to euthanatize. Although many owners rely heavily on their veterinarian’s judgment, others may have misgivings about making their own decision. This is particularly likely if an owner feels responsible for allowing an animal’s medical or behavioral problem to go unattended so that euthanasia becomes necessary."

"When owners choose to be present during euthanasia, they should be prepared for what will happen. What drugs are being used and how the animal could respond should be discussed."

More excerpts:

Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia JAVMA, Vol 218, No. 5, March 1, 2001

Barbituric acid derivatives

"Barbiturates depress the central nervous system in descending order, beginning with the cerebral cortex, with loss of consciousness progressing to anesthesia. With an overdose, deep anesthesia progresses to apnea, owing to depression of the respiratory center, which is followed by cardiac arrest."

"All barbituric acid derivatives used for anesthesia are acceptable for euthanasia when administered intravenously.There is a rapid onset of action, and loss of consciousness induced by barbiturates results in minimal or transient pain associated with venipuncture."

"Desirable barbiturates are those that are potent, longacting, stable in solution, and inexpensive. Sodium pentobarbital best fits these criteria and is most widely used, although others such as secobarbital are also acceptable."


—(1) A primary advantage of barbiturates is speed of action. This effect depends on the dose, concentration, route, and rate of the injection.(2) Barbiturates induce euthanasia smoothly, with minimal discomfort to the animal. (3) Barbituratesare less expensive than many other euthanasia agents."


—(1) Intravenous injection is necessary for best results and requires trained personnel. (2) Each animal must be restrained. (3) Current federal drug regulations require strict accounting for barbiturates and these must be used under the supervision of personnel registered with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). (4) An aesthetically objectionable terminal gasp may..."

Unacceptable injectable agents

"When used alone, the injectable agents listed in Appendix 4 (strychnine, nicotine, caffeine, magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride, cleaning agents, solvents,disinfectants and other toxins or salts, and all neuromuscular blocking agents) are unacceptable and are absolutely condemned for use as euthanasia agents."

"Neuromuscular blocking agents: (nicotine, magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride, all curaform agents) When used alone, these drugs all cause respiratory arrest before loss of consciousness, so the animal may perceive pain and distress after it is immobilized."

"The Panel on Euthanasia is fully committed to the concept that, whenever it becomes necessary to kill any animal for any reason whatsoever, death should be induced as painlessly and quickly as possible."



Pocket's death

Pocket was administered a substance never observed by me in my 35 years, as the "sole agent" to end her life.  See side bar for AVMA guidelines of authorized &/or condemned substances.

This was without warning and without informed consent as to the substance used.


I have never been supplied with copies or offered to review the invoices, drug logs and schedule 222's required to be kept by NH & Federal drugs laws, despite "legal discovery".


I reported to the NH Veterinary Board in 2006, and to the Dover Police Dept. in 2007, and to my governmental officials, and subsequent mental health providers in 2007, and without malice, and without an attorney, the substance "potassium chloride" as I had reasonable belief that it was , and still was, in lieu of a humane narcotic drug


Description to be added soon, content may be too disturbing for some

Although I relive the horrifying memory of Pocket's last minutes, I just can't bring myself to put the description in print yet. I was advised to contact a particular Concord attorney, at Orr & Reno, that was supposed to be interested in animal rights and law, her interest seemed conflicted. During our phone discussion she asked me "how did you know? ---how did you know?" I assumed she was asking me how I knew Pocket was euthanized with substance similar to potassium chloride, but that was not her question. She wanted to know how I knew that the chemical was "inhumane"----I was dumbfounded.

It has been much publicized about the botched deaths by "lethal injection" for death row inmates. One may recall the news stories or google 'death by lethal injection' to learn that an overdose of potassium chloride is the 3rd and final chemical administered to insure death by stopping the heart.

The reason it is administered last and only after the person is unconscious is because alone it causes tremendous severe burning travelling through the veins, along with chest and heart pain, and horrendously painful contraction of all the body's muscles.

If you have witnessed your pet's euthanasia, you may have felt like you did not have enough time to say a final goodbye; I can only say at this time, the minutes after her injection seemed like hours to me and I have never felt so bad in all my life.

A really good and practical article written for petowners by Dr. T.J. Dunn, Jr. quotes in highlight:

" * Most euthanasia solutions are a combination of chemicals whose intent is to effect a quick and painless termination of nerve transmission and to effect complete muscle relaxation. When nerve impulses are not conducted there is no thought, no sensation, no movement. The solution is available only to licensed veterinarians and your veterinarian must possess a special certificate in order to purchase the solution. "



Below is copy of correspondence written by me to Dover Veterinary Hospital:

Micheal J. Reznicek, Practice Manager

Dover Veterinary Hospital

June 13, 2007

This letter is in response to your letter received by me June 8, 2007. At this time I will not address the medical nuances, estimates or signed agreements, nor the items requested and not received by me pertinent to Pocket's file.

Instead, I hope to genuinely describe and relay to your clinic owners what this issue has meant to me personally.

Pocket was a valued family member. We enjoyed her, we took care of her, and she was greatly loved and cherished. Pocket was never the least intimidated by her tiny size and played and ran with all, including my 2 cats. She took on a unique mothering role with each of the younger puppies that came after her and they adored her, long after their size doubled hers. She was spunky, funny, agile, stubborn, and strong. Pocket was NOT: a status symbol, an income generator, or a novelty,or a toy---- none of my pets are.

On Friday, October 13, 2006 I called both your clinic and Edgefield to notify you that I made the decision it was in Pocket's and my best interest to humanely euthanize her. It was reasonable to expect promptness, professionalism and courtesy to accomplish this task. I feel that respect for my decision, grief, and the best interest of my dog was completely disregarded.

On Saturday, October 14, 2006, we expected the promised 48 hour full prognosis of Pocket's situation. It was reasonable to expect to meet with Dr. MacGregor and discuss the likelyhood of success based on full disclosure of her condition. This did not take place, nor arrangements made for a qualified substitute.

On Sunday, October 15, 2006 , Bill and I again requested euthanasia. It was reasonable to expect no discussion, no pressure, but courtesy and respect for our decision, period.

On Wednesday evening, October 18, 2006, we were advised, for the first and only time, by Dr. MacGregor to euthanize our Pocket. It was reasonable to expect a veterinarian and animal clinic to provide a humane end to an animal's life. This didn't happen either, a chemical substance, in lieu of an acceptable humane drug, was utilized that did not render Pocket unconscious prior to death, but inflicted more and greater suffering.

My week of daily commutes and visits to your clinic so insulted my morals, beliefs, integritity, and compassion and it rendered me fearful and helpless. We are human beings. To breach the unique faith and trust we placed in your profession is hard to conceive. It is reasonable to expect an obligation of respect and dignity for the owner as well as relief of suffering for the animal.

It has been over 7 months since Pocket's death. I don't grieve over my loss of her. I provided her with a wonderful and long life, beyond my, and many others, expectations. What I do live with, is the daily memory of her tragic expression in a cage and the feeling in my arms of an animal not peacefully and quickly slipping into a coma prior to death. It has violated every shred of decency I believe in. It has impaired my ability to trust. It has disturbed my physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. My normal ability to sleep and function is hugely diminished. Bill has processed this on a more basic level and he would not articulate at length to you but express himself verbally bluntly and briefly. It was reasonable for him to believe the words spoken from a highly educated and skilled professional man that offered and accepted a good faith handshake.

It is my hope that I have adequately illustrated in words, my deep and heartfelt feelings and present state of living. From my perspective, that while your clinic feels entitled to more money, it remains a lower priority among our concerns.


Barbara A. Albright

I had been put submitted for "collections" for the sum of $600-----and my credit report has been "tainted" for 2 years--

That would bring Pocket's "diagnostics & treatment" total to $3700---it seems to me that this is "highly profitable ludicrous sum" should be, but is NOT against the law----

I was charged $3000+- by Dover Veterinary Hospital, after paying nearly $700 @ Edgefield for her "final diagnosis"