Robeson Co Animal Shelter – Good News and Bad News

North Carolina:  If you’ve been following the Robeson County Animal Shelter’s fight to keep the “heartstick” as its main method of killing pets, you will probably be as surprised as I was to learn that they have suddenly given it up:

The Health Department last week quietly changed its euthanasia policy at the Robeson County Animal Shelter, conceding to animal rights advocates’ demands to euthanize intravenously rather than with heart stick.

This is good news although the shelter is still threatening to open hours later than its usual time of 10am (yo, that’s already late) to allow for extra killing time needed for IV injections.

Then there’s this troubling bit:

The intravenous method will cost less: The Health Department will no longer have to purchase ketamine, a sedative.

An animal cannot be sedated during intravenous euthanization because sedation reduces blood flow, which collapses veins so they’re more difficult to find. Instead, one worker holds the animal, and another finds a vein to inject a shot sodium pentobarbital.

I’m not a Vet but I thought one of the advantages of ketamine was that “[i]t can block nerve paths without depressing respiratory and circulatory functions” – is this incorrect?  Also, what about all the Vets and shelters who give a sedative prior to the IV injection – are they doing it wrong?

We have been lead to believe that sedation followed by IV injection is the most humane method of relieving suffering via euthanasia.  If the Robeson County Animal Shelter knows different, I wish they’d share with the class.

3 thoughts on “Robeson Co Animal Shelter – Good News and Bad News

  1. It’s like they WANT the animals to suffer… that is bizarre. EVERY animal I have had to have euthanized has ALWAYS had a sedative. The serum burns and can be painful which is WHY the sedative FIRST.

    1. It’s odd to me too. A couple possibilities that occurred to me: Maybe the newspaper got their story wrong. Or on a more sinister note, Maybe the shelter is trying to have an IV injection “go bad” so they can say “See why we need to go back to heartstick?”

  2. You don’t need a sedative for calm dogs who are easily restrained. Euthan/sol’s active ingredients have depressive/sedative qualities. Given at the proper dosage and slowly, the animal will be sedated first before death occurs. Given at the wrong dosage and too fast, the animal has a chance at suffering more. I’ve seen it happen, it ain’t pretty.

    An IM sedative that can be given outside a kennel to nervy, frightened, or aggro dogs is a huge benefit to all involved. If it means taking it a lot slower during the killing process, so fricking what? It’s better for the animal – deal the eff with it.

    A heartstick has its use in very limited situations. Like when you’re dealing with a pig (veins are super hard to find, if you can’t find one, you sedate, then heartstick) or a cat/dog with no vein access (again, you IM w/ a sedative and then hearstick). It should not be used as the primary method of killing, even after sedation. Last resort sort of deal there.

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