Laferriere, C. A., Pang, D. S. 2020. Review of intraperitoneal injection of sodium pentobarbital as a method of euthanasia in laboratory rodents. JAALAS 59(3), 254–263.
Euthanasia is one of the most commonly performed procedures in biomedical research, involving tens of millions of animals in North America and Europe every year. The use of sodium pentobarbital, injected intraperitoneally, for killing rodents is described as an acceptable technique by the AVMA and CCAC euthanasia guidelines. This drug and route are recommended over inhalant anesthetics, carbon dioxide, and physical methods for ethical and aesthetic reasons as well as efficiency. However, a growing body of evidence challenges the efficacy and utility of intraperitoneal pentobarbital. This methodology has been described as inconsistent and may induce pain and stress. With these considerations in mind, a review of the literature is needed to assess the evidence surrounding this killing method, the associated welfare implications, and potential for refinement.