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Old 03-12-2009
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Originally Posted by louann1584 View Post
Mark, we do not use the chamber for babies, seniors or sick animals, as I stated before.
This response comes from Mary Bass, supervisor of our animal control/shelter:
Reading your response it is obvious which side of the coin you are going to be voting. This is an arguement that the government will have to settle, as you and others like you seem to be able to gun down us humans without any regard to our feelings. I have you to know that the german shepard with the "allergic reaction" went into full blown seizures and yes allergic reaction is what the veterinarians referred to it as. I have 16 years working with the animals and the people, the problem is not the gas chamber or even euthansia, the problem is the lack of funds for education, spay neuter programs and tougher laws. As you can well tell my side of the coin will be voting to keep the chamber.

Sincerely
Mary Bass
NACA does have a position on this as can be found on the NACA website at http://www.nacanet.org/poleuth.html Having been in this business for 20 years and spent a great deal of time doing everything that I can to help my staff and myself deal with the stress of handling euthanasia, I am not "gunning down us humans". I realize how stressful the situation is and, despite having been through plenty of training, just went back through the entire course again to make sure that I am competent and familiar with the latest procedures and recommended best practices. My comments were not in the nature of an attack on the staff or the folks who deal with it everyday, if for no other reason than I am one of those very people.

I did not say that you used CO on young, old or sick animals. I did READ your post. I commented on the AVMA (and NACA's policy) regarding CO. With regard to that, it was supporting your use of EBI on those animals.

Allergic reactions to sodium pentobarbital are virtually unheard of when the proper dosage is correctly administered. The situation you describe may result from an underdose or any pre-mix (sedation such as ketamine/xyalzine or telazol) that was given prior to sodium pentobarbital. Pre-mix can lower blood pressure and therefore delay the euthanasia drug's effect OR cause seizures. Even with the correct dose, if the injection is not IV, the absorption can be delayed under these circumstances. Again, vocalization, seizures and such are more common with non-schedule II drugs such as Euthasol or Beuthansia-D.

I am taking it that sodium pentobarbital was used on this one dog that had seizures. If your euthanasia rate is even approaching the national average - one out of thousands would be almost unique statiscally. Pentobarbital's actual medical use is for the treatment of seizures or for anesthesia with the high dose used in a salt form used in veterinary medicine for euthanasia. There is a reference to "apparent seizure" activity in horses which is attributed to pre-mature cardiac arrest mentioned in wikipedia. The recommended course there is actually to pre-sedate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_euthanasia Also please note, I use Wiki for illustrative purposes only. Before I mentioned any of this, I consulted my staff veterinarian and reviewed our euthanasia manuals.

And specifically, I am not saying that you or anyone that handled this procedure did anything wrong. Sometimes things happen that none of us can really predict or control. It only adds to the stress each time because no matter how "statistically unique" something may seem to be, the actual person standing there will have it run through their mind every time - "Is this dog going to seize like the shepherd did?". It makes it worse.

One thing that I haven't been able to find (and that differentiates EBI from CO) is an "accidental death" from EBI. There have been many well documented intentional cases involving distraught shelter workers who used EBI to commit suicide. CO is often cited used as well often by automobile. There is one well documented (and the OSHA report is here on ACFS) of a shelter worker who did die after being accidentally overcome by CO. Since CO is a cumulative gas, meaning it builds up a toxicity in the body after repeated exposure, bad things can result. OSHA sets long term exposure limits at 50ppm and the lingering effects can be catastrophic. Again, even an accidental injection of a dose strong enough to euthanize a 100 lb dog would not kill a person and would most likely be totally recoverable. A dose of CO that would kill a dog would also kill a person and would not be recoverable. Again, from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide

On the subject of funding, training, education and dealing with the public - AMEN! Were adequate Spay / Neuter programs in place along with sufficient funding to provide for enhanced education and adoption programs, we would certainly have far fewer cases where euthanasia resulted. Its great that all of us continue to work on these aspects of the problems we share. Dealing with compassion fatigue and the impact that day after day of euthanizing animals has on staff is something that we all need to be aware of and work on improving our responses to under the circumstances. Offering counseling, support, an employee assistance program, the ability to "opt out" on a euth day or a specific animal can all be helpful.

As I said, its likely that EBI will be the method of choice in many states in the future. As more switch, holding onto CO is going to be even more difficult. Both sides of the subject will bring out their "studies" that show which is less expensive etc. Neither method is without its share of negative image and PR problems. Eventually, the burden will fall where it always has, on the folks like us that have to deal with this everyday. The legislator's who vote on what we have to live by won't be in the room with you tomorrow or next week or next year. Part of our job is to make sure they understand just how we feel about these issues and voice our opinions in a professional, polite and compassionate way. The only side I chose and the only vote I cast is whats best for us AND the animals.

Mark
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Old 03-12-2009
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Hear, hear. Well said.
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Old 03-13-2009
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Thank you for this post. Very informative and spot on.
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Hear, hear. Well said.
LOVE this pic. You are so graceful and svelte. What is your secret?
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LOVE this pic. You are so graceful and svelte. What is your secret?
Oh, you know, lots of fresh browse, a good trot up and down Bolinas lagoonside with the other chaps every morning ... oh, and that sex change sure did speed up the metabolism, 'long about antler-growing time. How about you?
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