Shomer, N. H., Allen-Worthington, K. H., Hickman, D. L. et al. 2020. Review of rodent euthanasia methods. JAALAS 59(3), 242–253.
The optimal choice of euthanasia method for laboratory rodents depends on a number of factors, including the scientific goals of the study, the need to minimize animal pain and/or distress, applicable guidelines and laws, the training and proficiency of personnel, and the safety and emotional needs of the personnel performing the euthanasia. This manuscript aims to provide guidance to researchers so they may select the method of euthanasia that results in minimal experimental confounds, such as the creation of artifact and alteration of tissues and analytes. Specific situations addressed include euthanasia of large numbers of rodents and euthanasia of neonates. Recent literature supports the notion of significant strain-dependent differences in response to euthanasia methods such as CO2 inhalation. To assist researchers in selecting a strain-appropriate method of euthanasia, the authors present a summary of methodologies for assessing the effectiveness of euthanasia techniques, including elements and parameters for a scoring rubric to assess them.