Wellbeing of alcohol-preferring rats euthanized with carbon dioxide at very low and low volume displacement rates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The 2013 AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia recommend the use of very-low or low flow rates of 100% carbon dioxide to euthanize small rodents. Although inhalation of high concentrations of carbon dioxide are generally recognized as painful in humans, whether the use of these low-flow methods of euthanasia increase potential distress for rats is unclear. This study compared physiologic and behavioral markers of animal wellbeing for rats euthanized by using 10% volume displacement per minute (VD/min), 30% VD/min, and 70% VD/min of 100% carbon dioxide. Rats were recorded during euthanasia for subsequent behavioral scoring, and blood samples were taken after euthanasia for assessment of blood glucose and serum corticosterone levels. In this study, rats euthanized with 10% or 30% VD/min of 100% carbon dioxide demonstrated increases in various behaviors, such as rearing and standing, concurrent with increases in serum corticosterone. Rats euthanized with 70% VD/min of 100% carbon dioxide did not exhibit these changes. The results suggest that a euthanasia method of 70% VD/ min of 100% carbon dioxide may minimize potential pain and distress and thus be more humane for rats, as compared with very-low- and low-flow methods of carbon dioxide euthanasia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-82
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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