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Barbiturates

Information and Technology Report 1999-0001

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Abstract

Barbiturate products are commonly used to euthanize domestic animals. The primary active component in euthanasia solutions is sodium pentobarbital, but some products also contain other minor ingredients (Fig. 48.1).

Euthanasia solutions are generally injected intravenously in domestic animals; therefore, after death, the solutions will be most concentrated in the blood and the highly vascularized organs, such as the liver or spleen, of the euthanized animal.

Euthanized carcasses that are available as carrion pose a hazard to scavenging birds and mammals. Large domestic animal carcasses, such as horses, that are not used for food or rendering but that are sufficiently valuable (monetarily or psychologically) to warrant veterinary services and euthanasia drugs are the most common sources of barbiturate poisoning in scavengers. In one instance in British Columbia, a single cow carcass was responsible for poisoning 29 bald eagles.

Circumstances that interfere with burial, such as frozen winter soil or bulky carcasses, result in euthanized carcasses being available for scavenger species. This problem could increase in the future if more stringent air-quality standards restrict carcass incineration.


Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
Federal Government Series
Title:
Barbiturates
Series title:
Information and Technology Report
Series number:
1999-0001
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
National Wildlife Health Center
Description:
2 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title:
Field manual of wildlife diseases: General field procedures and diseases of birds
First page:
349
Last page:
350