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Lab Anim. 1997 Oct;31(4):337-46.

Behavioural and cardiovascular responses of rats to euthanasia using carbon dioxide gas.

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  • 1Department of Science and Technology, Western Melbourne Institute of Technical and Further Education, Footscray, Victoria, Australia.


Our results showed more rapid falls in pulse rate and blood pressure in rats euthanized in a chamber precharged with carbon dioxide (CO2), when compared with rats euthanized more slowly, but death still took over 5 min in the former group. There was no behavioural evidence of pain or distress in either group during euthanasia. Initial ataxia and dyspnoea was punctuated by a lag before death, thus separating euthanasia into three clearly defined phases. All visual signs of death preceded complete vascular collapse by about 1 min in both groups, so we recommend that gas flow be maintained for at least 1 min after apparent death.

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