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Bad euthanasia

Species: Dog
Breed: Lab Mix
Age: 11-15 years
Hello,
I had to have my dog euthanized.
After she got her first injection to be sedated, she got up, her tongue popped out and she was grasping for air and in big distress. It seemed an eternity until she collapsed. And only then, the vet gave her the main injection. At that point I had the impression that she was already gone. To me it looked as if she had suffocated.
Would you please explain to me how you see this?
Thank you


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm so sorry to hear of your bad experience with euthanasia. I have occasionally had a similar experience.

It is very common for us to give an injection of sedative before giving the final intravenous injection. From past experience of doing it both ways (with sedation and without) I have had much better experiences doing it with sedation. Sometimes with no sedation the dogs can react to the needle going into the vein or can even bite. I found that when I gave sedation I get a much lower chance of a reaction.

With that being said, there is the rare time where an animal will react to sedation.

It's hard to say what happened to Jessy. It may not have even been a reaction. Some sedatives can affect the brain first but the body can still have some function. When this happens, even though it looks bad, the dog is not consciously aware of what is happening.

It is also possible though that Jessy started the process of dying when she received the first injection. This can happen if a dog is very unwell. If this is the case then we don't know whether or not she was consciously in distress.

I have done hundreds if not thousands of euthanasias and despite my experience and my best attempts to make things as smoothly as possible for everyone involved there is still the odd one that does not go well.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Dr. Marie




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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.