Dudley, E. S., Boivin, G. P. 2018. Evaluation of a commercially available euthanasia solution as a voluntarily ingested euthanasia agent in laboratory mice. JAALAS 57(1), 30-34.
All currently accepted methods of euthanasia for laboratory mice involve some degree of stress, fear, anxiety, or pain. We evaluated the voluntary oral administration of a euthanasia drug in 99 male and 81 female mice of various strains. We first explored the palatability of sugar-cookie dough with various flavorings added. We placed the cookie dough in the cage with an adult mouse and recorded the amount ingested after 1 h. Mice readily ingested all flavors of sugar-cookie dough. We then added a euthanasia solution containing pentobarbital and phenytoin to all flavors of cookie dough and placed a small bolus in the cage of each mouse or mouse pair. We observed the mice for 1 h for clinical signs of pentobarbital intoxication and then weighed uneaten dough to determine the dose of pentobarbital ingested. Palatability declined sharply when euthanasia solution was present. Mice ingested higher doses of pentobarbital in cookie dough during the dark phase and after fasting. Ingestion caused ataxia in some mice but was not sufficient to cause loss of righting reflex, unconsciousness, or death in any mouse. We successfully identified sugar cookie dough as a drug vehicle that was readily and rapidly eaten by mice without the need for previous exposure. Additional research is needed to identify euthanasia compounds for mice that do not affect the palatability of cookie dough.