Skip to Local Navigation
Skip to Content
California State University, Long Beach
Office of University Research
Print this pageAdd this page to your favoritesSelect a font sizeSelect a small fontSelect a medium fontSelect a large font

Policy on Animal Euthanasia

Revised 06/25/2014

Euthanasia is the act if inducing painless death. Criteria to be considered for a painless death are: rapid occurring unconsciousness and unconsciousness followed by cardiac or respiratory arrest.

Techniques for euthanasia should follow current guidelines established by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines on Euthanasia. Any deviation from the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia must receive approval from the CSULB Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

The most common means of euthanasia for species of animals used at CSULB include:


Small Animals (mice, rats, hamsters, ground squirrels)

  • CO2 inhalation chamber followed by a physical means (harvest of vital tissue, cervical dislocation, decapitation, bilateral pneumothorax) to assure death. NOTE: While CO2 is effective in older juvenile and adult rats and mice, CO2 is ineffective in embryos and pups. Based on the latest revision of the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia, the CSULB IACUC adopts that rat and mouse embryos and altricial neonates (< 7 days of age) may be euthanatized by decapitation without anesthesia or sedation. Embryos must be harvested from a properly euthanatized, pregnant rat or mouse. Sharp scissors must be used by well-qualified individuals to ensure that decapitation is performed efficiently and humanely.
  • Anesthetic overdose (IV or IP)
  • Tissue harvest resulting in exsanguination under deep surgical anesthesia
  • Euthanasia Solution (Commercial Veterinary Product) IV or IP
  • NOTE: Euthanasia by CO2 or any other inhalant overdose for all rats >7 days must be followed by decapitation or a bilateral pneumothorax to assure death. Cervical dislocation as a means of euthanasia, even as a secondary method for assurance of death, will no longer be allowed in all rats seven days and older. (revised: IACUC 06/25/2014)


Birds: Anesthetic overdose followed by some physical means to assure death, CO2 followed by some physical means to assure death.

Fish: MS222 exposure, Ice slurry followed by cervical dislocation with a sharp knife.

Frogs: Pithing, Decapitation followed by pithing.

Questions concerning euthanasia procedures and techniques should be referred to the Attending Veterinarian. 

Dr. John Young

Phone: (310) 423-7684


Back to top