Barbiturate euthanasia solution-induced tissue artifact in nonhuman primates

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Barbiturate euthanasia solutions are a humane and approved means of euthanasia. Overdosing causes significant tissue damage in a variety of laboratory animals.


One hundred seventeen non-human primates (NHP) representing 7 species including 12 fetuses euthanized for humane and research reasons by various vascular routes with Euthasol, Sodium Pentobarbital, Fatal Plus, Beuthanasia D, or Euthanasia 5 were evaluated for euthanasia-induced tissue damage. Lungs and livers were histologically graded for hemolysis, vascular damage, edema, and necrosis. Severity of tissue damage was analyzed for differences on the basis of agent, age, sex, dose, and injection route.


Severity of tissue damage was directly related to dose and the intracardiac injection route, but did not differ by species, sex, and agent used.


When the recommended dose of agent was used, tissue damage was generally reduced, minimal, or undetectable. Barbiturate-induced artifacts in NHPs are essentially the same as in other laboratory species.

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