Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Euthanasia

Contributor(s): Lesa Thompson, Peter Dobromylskyj, Lesa Longley, Allan Muir

Considerations

Making the decision

Euthanasia is never a welfare issue, however failure to euthanize in a timely fashion can be. Instead euthanasia is an ethical decision.
  • Euthanasia is required when an untreatable disease (acute or chronic) has progressed to the extent that medication cannot prevent the rabbit from suffering.
  • It can be very difficult to decide when this point is reached - often in the case of pet rabbits this can vary from the much loved family member to a 'disposable' children's pet.
  • Aspects to consider include:
    • Is the rabbit still eating/drinking?
    • Is the rabbit showing signs of stress?
    • Is the rabbit able to move around in a normal manner?
    • Does the rabbit respond to attention from his owners?
    • Is he in uncontrollable pain? This can be difficult to assess - see Pain: assessment and relief.
    • Has caring for the rabbit become difficult?
    • It is imperative that the owner does not feel rushed into making the decision, although it may be necessary to point out that an animal is in pain and suffering if the owners are not aware of it.
Do not use terms such as 'put to sleep' that may be open to misinterpretation. Use the term 'euthanasia'.Print out the Owner factsheets on Saying goodbye - options for euthanasia, Coping with the loss of a pet and Explaining pet loss to children to give to your clients.

Consent for euthanasia

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Issues

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Procedure

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Varga M (2014) The Rabbit-Friendly Practice. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine. Eds: Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA, UK. pp 68-70.


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