No sedatives before euthanasia shot?
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Thread: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

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    No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    Not sure if this is the right forum, couldn't figure out if I should be posting this in health or the general forum, so sorry in advance if it's in the wrong forum.

    I just put my dog down today. I don't know why I didn't think of it or why the vet didn't bring this up sooner, but I didn't do research beforehand or have the vet give us options. In fact, my dog was just at the vet about a month ago and they were saying how well she was doing for her age (14). She has arthritis and problems getting up and down then, but she wasn't struggling too badly. We've also been giving her glucosamine and all that. Things all changed suddenly this weekend, for whatever reason she just could no longer get herself up and well, long story short, we decided it was time and we took in to the vet today (Mon).

    I guess I just assumed it would be calm and peaceful and she would just fall asleep (like the movies). That wasn't the case. I also assumed the shot would act as a sedative, wasn't aware that a different sedative could be administered before the actual shot. Well, when the vet administered the actual shot, she started struggling. I don't think she was actually full out screaming, but it was definitely more than a whimper/cry. It didn't last for very long, but even so it was heart breaking to hear. I wanted to be in the room with her, because someone told me that when they administer the euthanasia shot and the dog starts to fall asleep, they tend to look around for their owners. That always stuck in my mind, so I wanted to be there until the very end.

    I've been doing research on the net when I got home and that's when I discovered that it could be done with and without sedatives beforehand, and I started to get angry. But then I've read in different places that it is painful without a sedative and also that it's not painful even if you don't use sedatives or the only pain is the administering of the shot itself, so I'm not sure which is the case. I'm not sure why I'm posting this, I guess I'm looking for more reassurance that my dog was ok and not in pain? I just feel so guilty thinking about her last moments, and now I know that there could have been other options. I also can't help but feel angry at my vet for not telling us, and I know I could always call them and ask but I'm not ready for that phone call yet (not sure I'll ever be either). I really thought her last moments would be calm and peaceful. This is the first dog I've ever had really and had to put down, and I'm just heartbroken and I hope that she wasn't in any pain...

    Anyone else go through something similar?

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    Senior Member chul3l3ies1126's Avatar
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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    I'm so very sorry for your loss... and I'm sorry you had to see her go through it like that. That is NOT normal. I've been in the room with dogs of my own and with dogs that belonged to my friends, all were "like in the movies". They go to sleep peacefully... no struggling.

    It does sound like the didnt do the sedative... this is terrible and should be brought up to them. But, I do not know what exactly can be done if there is no evidence of malpractice.

    I'm so very sorry you had to see that.
    Nessa

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    I'm no help what so ever, but I just wanted to say that I'm so very sorry for your loss. I understand why you're so upset, so I hope others come along with more answers for you. I'm so sorry that your last moments with your dog were so scary, but I'm sure your sweet girl knew how much you loved her.

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    I am so sorry for your loss and the experience overall. It is never easy to put down a life long friend, BUT it certainly makes it evenh harder finding out that the vet didn't do HIS part in making sure you were COMPLETELY informed about your options. I don't know how much of this you're ready to hear but the long and short of it is yes... the euthanasia drug does cause pain. it burns (as well as a bit more but I won't get into the really ugly aspects of euthanasia), that is why it is suggested (generally by your vet) that your pet be anaesthetised before hand so that it can be a peaceful pain free experience for the both of you. When a dog is sleeping then euthe'd you may see a little gasping, or a little leg paddling but at that point it is just the ending of electric synopsis triggering muscle reflex. The drug euthanaisa is about the most humane method available to put animals to sleep but it is certainly not pain free.

    Again I am so sorry for your loss, and I really hate to be the first one telling you that honestly Your vet cheated you and your pet, and honestly in my opinion failed to educate you as to what your choices were. I'd be calling the AVMA (american veterinary medical association) and report him. They take an oath as well to "First DO NO HARM", and IMO this guy certainly didn't abide by that oath. Some one else mentioned that you can't prove malpractice in this case, well I disagree. It may notbe malpractice bit it certainly IS an ethics violation. The vet should have informed you of your options and they didn't. Your pet suffered because of it, in turn you are now wracked with guilt, and THAT is where the crime lies. Report him. Let the AVMA deal with him. cremains (If you got him cremated) CAN be tested for the drugs that they should have administered to help your dog pass peacefully.

    Sooo sooooo sorry you had to go thru this. RIP girl, run pain free and at peace.
    Last edited by Dog_Shrink; 07-12-2010 at 02:19 PM.

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    So sorry for your loss. Your sweet girl is now pain free and running at The Rainbow Bridge. My Jasmine was there to show her around.

    My thought and prayers.

    Hugs

    Cheryl and Angel Jasmine

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    I'm terribly sorry for your loss. It's something that we all dread, knowing that it will be our turn one day, too.

    I'm also sorry to hear about your final moments with your dog. I've worked in veterinary medicine for 12 years. The majority of the euthanasias I've seen have not been sedated beforehand. Most have gone very quickly and smoothly. It's ultimately up to the doctor, and their assessment of the individual pet, whether or not to sedate prior to euthanasia. Some owners require it; some don't want their pet to be "out of it" in their final moments together. Also, each animal reacts differently to drugs. Many animals become dysphoric/dizzy and some do vocalize. While I don't doubt that the injection may be irritating, I can't say for sure that I think the vocalization is actually related to pain or if it's a different reaction.

    Again, my deepest sympathy for your loss.


    Always missing Clyde, JBG's It's Clobberin' Time CGC|TDInc|RN

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    Thanks everyone for your kind words.

    Dog_Shrink- We did get her cremated, but we won't be getting any of her ashes back. I did read that it would be painful if any of it got outside of her veins, which I guess is what happened since she did struggle a bit. She was ok at first but then started struggling. I also fault myself, I don't know why I didn't do my research beforehand, I guess I just trusted the vet and thought they would know what to do.

    MonicaBH- Yeah, I read that too on the net, how some pets require it, others don't and of course every pet's reaction is different.

    I guess I'm mostly feeling numb, but also feeling guilty. For all I know, my dog wasn't in that much pain when we brought her in, and just thinking that she was in pain in her final moments is really hard to take...
    Last edited by Anonymous5; 07-12-2010 at 02:34 PM.

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    *hugs* it is never easy but it will get easier as time psses. Think of the happy times rather than dwelling on the ending. You have 12 years of life to relive in your memory and her passing shouldn't over shadow any of that. Do what you can to make sure this vet doesn't do this to some one else again, and that the next person is fully informed. What state are you in? Most states have laws that dictate proper euth methods and I'd like to look that up for you to see if there is such a clause in your states laws.

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    Senior Member Maliraptor's Avatar
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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    I am also sorry for your loss, and that it was not peaceful to watch.

    Euthanasia solution is Pentobarbital, an overdose. Same drug is used in humans to TREAT seizures, and as a preanesthetic agent.

    In my experience, it does not "burn" or irritate a dog unless it is NOT injected into the vein. This can happen with a bad injection, which is why we always insert an IV catheter before a euthanasia. FYI MANY drugs can irritate a dog if injected outside the vein, the worse culprit I have come across being the commonly used anesthetic agent Propoflo. Good injection techniques are VITAL always in pets and humans.

    An anesthetic agent is disorienting. They are, by nature, Hallucinogens also. Sometimes the animals go down quickly enough that they do not go through this, but a "struggle" or panic (mostly reflex) is common when masking down animals for routine procedures, or the occasional euthanasia.

    I think in the hundreds of euthanasias I have personally done, maybe 2 animals have gone down less than peacefully, one howled, and one went rigid while fighting the sedation.

    HOWEVER- let me end this by saying, if the owner wants to be present as you were, we ALWAYS use an IV Catheter and an sedative ahead of time. If they complain about the price (most people only want the cheapest form, and do not care how their pet takes it) they are not allowed to be present during the actual euthanasia. I personally will not even allow them to be in the room while I set the catheter, and cover the tape with colorful vet wrap with hearts. People grieving over their pets are fragile, IMO there are things they do not need to see, no matter how "common" they can be.
    Mali

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    Well put mali but her vet should have discussed her options BEFORe it came to this point and even suggested a valium or a low dose of ACE to help the animal be calm and somewhat lucid if that was the owners concern (that the pet would be out of it etc.). For there to be no mention of it and to let the owner go thru all that is just beyond irresponsible IMO.

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dog_Shrink View Post
    I don't know how much of this you're ready to hear but the long and short of it is yes... the euthanasia drug does cause pain. it burns (as well as a bit more but I won't get into the really ugly aspects of euthanasia), that is why it is suggested (generally by your vet) that your pet be anaesthetised before hand so that it can be a peaceful pain free experience for the both of you.
    Can you cite information re: the euthanasia drug burning when injected? As far as I am aware (and I am a certified euthanasia technician), an overdose of pentobarb (which is what most euthanasia drugs are) is completely painless when correctly injected into a vein. If, however, a vein is blown, the drug does burn because it has a different pH than the blood. A "premix" solution, often used as a sedative prior to the euthanasia, will burn if it is injected intramuscularly, such as a xylazine/ketamine mix, because it tears apart muscle fibers as it enters the muscle.

    Also, every vet office can differ slightly on their euthanasia protocol. Some doctors sedate all animals, some doctors sedate only fractious animals, and a number of doctors don't sedate any animals; one protocol is not better than the other, assuming they are all being performed correctly, but it is all up to the individual clinic and what their preference is. I prefer to sedate all animals, as it guarantees that I can hit a vein easily and proceed without blowing the vein due to movement by the animal.

    To the OP, I am sorry for your loss and that you had a bad experience. While I cannot comment on your vet's protocol of how he euthanizes, I will say that it is a shame that he did not prepare you for what could happen. I've found that many vets are uncomfortable explaining the procedure to owners, probably to save the owners from the details of what *could* happen, but unfortunately, that often only leads to more confusion and sadness on the part of the owner. Rest assured that the first part of the body that the pentobarb has an effect on is the brain, shutting down the CNS, which prevents the dog from feeling pain. Even if your dog was making noise or moving, it was likely a chemical reaction to the drug and not because she was actually feeling anything. I wish you peace in the coming days.
    Last edited by mightymal; 07-12-2010 at 04:11 PM.

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    Dog_Shrink- I'm in TX

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    I am so sorry for your loss, I know how you feel and it hurts...Im deeply sorry.
    I found this article on the internet wich might give peace to your heart and help you feel less guilty.

    Source: http://www.petplace.com/dogs/when-to...ogs/page1.aspx

    Euthanasia is usually performed by a veterinarian. The most typical procedure involves an intravenous injection of a barbiturate anesthetic given at a high concentration (overdose). In general, the euthanasia is rapid, usually within seconds, and very peaceful. Your pet will just go to sleep. On rare occasions there may be a brief vocalization or cry as consciousness is lost; this is not pain although you may misinterpreted it as such.

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    Senior Member InkedMarie's Avatar
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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    Your hurt makes me hurt
    We put one of our shelties to sleep last week. This was with our new (as in last two years) vet. Tucker just laid down with me, very calm. I asked the vet if that was "the" shot and he said yes. I said no sedative and he said I don't think we need it. Tucker went to sleep, looking in my eyes. He is the third dog I've had to put down in 4yrs, all of them went very peaceful. I think my foxhound had a sedative but she was a nervous dog anyway and the vet knew that. To be honest, none of the three vets in the last four years asked me what I wanted but maybe because they knew the dog. Tucker was cremated and when I am ready, his ashes will go next to Molly and Emma in the St. Francis garden in my front yard. If I die tonight, my wishes are that my cremains are buried with my dogs. It's the only place I can imagine being.
    To the OP: i hope this gets to be less painful for you

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    Quote Originally Posted by mightymal View Post
    Can you cite information re: the euthanasia drug burning when injected? As far as I am aware (and I am a certified euthanasia technician), an overdose of pentobarb (which is what most euthanasia drugs are) is completely painless when correctly injected into a vein. If, however, a vein is blown, the drug does burn because it has a different pH than the blood. A "premix" solution, often used as a sedative prior to the euthanasia, will burn if it is injected intramuscularly, such as a xylazine/ketamine mix, because it tears apart muscle fibers as it enters the muscle.
    So do you really need more info than what YOU just posted? If so start a different thread or PM me as I don't want to turn this into a thread about whether or not euth drugs hurt.

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dog_Shrink View Post
    So do you really need more info than what YOU just posted?
    You posted that euthanasia drugs hurt when injected as though that is the norm ("the long and short of it is yes, the euthanasia drug does cause pain."). I posted that euthanasia drugs hurt ONLY if injected into a blown vein. A blown vein is NOT the norm, therefore it is completely misleading to tell the OP that the drugs hurt when injected unless you have insider knowledge that the vein was indeed blown. That was my point - unless told otherwise by the vet, one should presume that the injection went as planned, not fill the OP's already aching heart with possibilities without qualifying what would have caused the (possible) pain reaction.

    To the OP -

    I hope the healing process has begun for you with the passing of your dog. Please do not be afraid to reach out for help as many people have been where you are now. You will be in our thoughts.

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    Euth drugs are essentially anesthetic agents, just in high doses. I've never seen evidence (as a tech) of it causing any discomfort unless, as was mentioned, a vein blew. Even then it seems to be a slight sting, going by most reactions. That said, just as they do when you give drugs to anesthetize them for surgery, all animals react differently to the drugs. But, vocalizations, etc seem to be an unconscious action, just as they are prior to surgery or when coming out of sedation. The vets should have discussed the possibility of this beforehand, though, and offered the option of a sedative if it would ease your mind.

    If it helps, even as a tech, I did not have my dog given sedation before he was euthanized. I didn't want him to have to have a needle stick for the sedative, then be completely out of it when we euthanized. Instead he just got the one poke and all was well, with him hearing loving words.

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    Senior Member LindaA's Avatar
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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    My heart goes out to you. Your post had me in tears. We had to have PTS our dog of 14 years a little over 2 years ago and I wanted to be in the room with him, he was my baby. We were at a 24 hour animal hospital in the middle of the night and I am thankful that the vet on duty and his staff were very kind and considerate. They did give Boomer a sedative beforehand and he did go peacefully. It was hard enough with him going peacefully, I can't imagine if I had to witness what you went through with yours. I am so sorry, but don't blame yourself or feel guilty. What you are feeling is real grief. I do know how that feels. Lots of hugs to you.

    Border Collie and Greyhound so we have been told!

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    Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    I saw your message and just had to respond. I went through a very similar experience with my golden retriever just 8 days ago. He was 9 years old but had been diagnosed with cancer and started bleeding internally about a month ago He had surgery and seemed a little better but was never himself again. He had days where he acted as if he felt really good, then days when he would barely lift his head. He began bleeding internally again last week and then on Friday morning he began to cough up blood. The vet advised she felt it was time. Honestly, I agreed. But when I went to say goodbye (he was already with the vet as we had taken him there that morning for additional tests), he became very excited and clearly just wanted to get out of there and go home. He was very nervous the entire time and refused to lay down. It took the kennel tech and myself holding him still for the vet to administer the shot. Fortunately, he did pass very quickly once injected. Unfortunately I had not done any research on sedatives (our last golden, who also had cancer, was very weak at the time of his euthanasia and the entire process was very peaceful). I SO wish that my vet had advised me that sedation was an option, especially given his obvious excitement and agitation. Everyone says you shouldn't let the dog to get to a point of suffering before you make the decision to euthanize, but honestly next time I will wait until the dog is too weak and sick to put up a fight. I don't hold any ill will toward the vet, but after 18 years of using the same practice we will never set foot in there again. Too many bad memories and regrets

    I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm a firm believer that time heals all wounds. I hope one day you can put this out of your head and only have good memories of the years with your sweet girl. I recently came across this quote that I wanted to share with you. It is so true!

    "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
    — Anatole France

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    Unhappy Re: No sedatives before euthanasia shot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous5 View Post
    Not sure if this is the right forum, couldn't figure out if I should be posting this in health or the general forum, so sorry in advance if it's in the wrong forum.

    I just put my dog down today. I don't know why I didn't think of it or why the vet didn't bring this up sooner, but I didn't do research beforehand or have the vet give us options. In fact, my dog was just at the vet about a month ago and they were saying how well she was doing for her age (14). She has arthritis and problems getting up and down then, but she wasn't struggling too badly. We've also been giving her glucosamine and all that. Things all changed suddenly this weekend, for whatever reason she just could no longer get herself up and well, long story short, we decided it was time and we took in to the vet today (Mon).

    I guess I just assumed it would be calm and peaceful and she would just fall asleep (like the movies). That wasn't the case. I also assumed the shot would act as a sedative, wasn't aware that a different sedative could be administered before the actual shot. Well, when the vet administered the actual shot, she started struggling. I don't think she was actually full out screaming, but it was definitely more than a whimper/cry. It didn't last for very long, but even so it was heart breaking to hear. I wanted to be in the room with her, because someone told me that when they administer the euthanasia shot and the dog starts to fall asleep, they tend to look around for their owners. That always stuck in my mind, so I wanted to be there until the very end.

    I've been doing research on the net when I got home and that's when I discovered that it could be done with and without sedatives beforehand, and I started to get angry. But then I've read in different places that it is painful without a sedative and also that it's not painful even if you don't use sedatives or the only pain is the administering of the shot itself, so I'm not sure which is the case. I'm not sure why I'm posting this, I guess I'm looking for more reassurance that my dog was ok and not in pain? I just feel so guilty thinking about her last moments, and now I know that there could have been other options. I also can't help but feel angry at my vet for not telling us, and I know I could always call them and ask but I'm not ready for that phone call yet (not sure I'll ever be either). I really thought her last moments would be calm and peaceful. This is the first dog I've ever had really and had to put down, and I'm just heartbroken and I hope that she wasn't in any pain...

    Anyone else go through something similar?
    yes i have just recently.. my little pom ruby had been sick for over a year.. she had a enlarged heart and was on medication and then last month she just stopped eating and drinking.. she had already lost 1/3 of her body wieght.. she was 13 yrs old and very tiny dog .. she wieght 5.8 pounds normally and was now down to 3.1 pounds.. anyway she went on iv fluid and we did blood work on her and her kidneys were toxic.. so after three days i took in some home made dog food for her and she started eating again and drinking.. i was sooo happy .. so the vet let me take her home.. well after about two weeks.. one night i heard her whimpering and ran out into the kitchen where she was sleeping and she was laying on her side shivering and whimpering..i picked her up and relized she couldn't stand up and was in alot of pain.. i stayed up with her all night until the morning and thought it was time to take her to the vets as i new she was beyond help anymore and it looked like she had a stroke.. so my vet clinic was closed on sunday so i took her to another clinic and the vet i like there wasn't in it was this other vet i didn't really care for .. but i was desperate for ruby my pom to be out of pain as soon as possible.. anyway they let me pre pay for her sedation and shot.. he asked me how i wanted it done. through the heart! i said absolutly not its pain ful that way.. then he said needle or iv.. if iv i could hold her.. so i went for that...but he took her in the back room away from me to set up t he iv and i didn't like that.. and i heard her whimpering and crying and i couldn't stand it so i opened the door and said why are you hurting her.. she never cryied at the vets so he must of been pretty rough.. plus she had no feelings in her front legs to begin with the last year as she had nerve damage in her front legs.. anyway i finally stayed and he said he was ready.. i asumed since i paid for the sedation that thats what he was doing.. and he just started to inject it in the tube and she started screaming and looked at me..and i looked at him and said this isn't the sedation! she wouldnt scream if it was..and then he started to shake and looked at me and said oh you wanted the sedation? i said omg i paid for it! what the hell are you doing to my baby.. then he pulled out the shot after injecting alittle and she was still screaming.. then fumbled around trying to get the other stuff into her .. but she was still shaking and whimpering..for some reason now the fluid wouldn't go in easy.. finally ruby just stoped but it went on for a long time.. i was mortified!! and so angry... i wouldn't leave for along time because i know he didn't put it all in her and i did not trust him at all.. then he was so apoligetic because he knew he screwed up and he new i new.. i use to be a vet tech and you always sedate! i told him that to.. anyway i have since written a letter to the veternary college of bc canada and they did call me and its going under review.. i pre paid for the sedation and the shot and he didn't do it the way he was suppose to.. his other vet i called and told the owner of the clinic and that vet said he talked to the vet and he told him he was worried about her viens closing up.. well i said the iv was already in her vein and i pre paid for it to be done that way.. so i am just waiting now for this to go under review.. if the vet didn't want to do it the way i paid for he should of asked me first.. i would of said no way and took my dog right out of there to a better vet.. so don't let the vets get away with doing that.. write to your local vet college so it goes under review.. would be my advice.. am so upset still and this will never leave me for as long as i live.. and if the vet association doesn't do anything i am goijng to the media about this to.. no one hurts my dog like that!!

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