Olagbaju, T. T., Troan, B. V., Balko, J. A. 2023. Investigation of potassium chloride for euthanasia of anesthetized African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). JAALAS 62(4), 362–369.

Euthanasia is frequently performed in amphibians, but techniques are currently limited in number and variable in effectiveness. The current study examined the use of potassium chloride (KCl) for euthanasia of anesthetized African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). Twenty adult, female African clawed frogs were anesthetized by immersion in buffered tricaine methanesulfonate (MS-222) for 5 min beyond loss of righting reflex. Frogs were then randomly assigned to receive one of 4 treatments: KCl via intracardiac injection (10 mEq/kg; IC, n = 5), intracoelomic injection (100 mEq/kg; ICe, n = 5), immersion (4,500 mEq/L; IMS, n = 5), or no treatment (C, n = 5). After treatment, serial heart rate was measured via Doppler device until either the loss of Doppler sounds, a 60-min endpoint (IC, ICe, IMS), or recovery (C). Times to loss of righting reflex, loss of Doppler sounds, and/or recovery were recorded. Plasma potassium concentrations were measured immediately after Doppler sound cessation in frogs in IC (n = 1), ICe (n = 2), and IMS (n = 5). Injection failure occurred in 1 IC frog, and 1 Ice frog regained spontaneous movement 4 min after treatment administration. Data from these 2 frogs were not included in statistical analysis. Doppler sound cessation occurred in 4 of 4, 4 of 4, 0 of 5, and 0 of 5 frogs in IC, ICe, IMS, and C, respectively. Median (range) times to Doppler sound cessation in IC and ICe were 6 (0 to 16) s and 18 (10 to 25) min, respectively. Plasma potassium concentration was greater than 9.0 mmol/L in sampled frogs. Intracardiac KCl at 10 mEq/kg and intracoelomic KCl at 100 mEq/kg were effective for euthanasia of anesthetized African clawed frogs. Return to MS-222 solution after KCl administration may be warranted to prevent unintended, premature anesthetic recovery prior to death.

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