Anesthesia and euthanasia of amphibians and reptiles used in scientific research

Should hypothermia and freezing be prohibited?

Harvey B. Lillywhite, Richard Shine, Elliott Jacobson, Dale Denardo, Malcolm S. Gordon, Carlos A. Navas, Tobias Wang, Roger S. Seymour, Kenneth B. Storey, Harold Heatwole, Darryl Heard, Bayard Brattstrom, Gordon M. Burghardt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Current research guidelines for ectothermic tetrapod vertebrates prohibit the use of cold as an adjunct to gaseous anesthesia, and they prohibit freezing as a means of euthanasia of these same animals. Here, we argue that those guidelines merit re-evaluation. Under natural conditions, numerous amphibians and reptiles experience large variations of body temperature, and life at low temperatures is natural. In tropical species less tolerant of cold, nociception is likely to be extinguished at low temperatures because of the anesthetizing actions of cold on membranes and cold block of nerve conduction. Physical principles and physiological data suggest that smaller ectothermic vertebrates do not experience pain attributable to ice crystals that form during freezing. Therefore, whole-body cooling, followed by freezing, should be a humane form of euthanasia for numerous smaller ectothermic species. In addition, we believe that cooling offers a humane and useful means of supplementing currently acceptable methods of anesthesia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalBioScience
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Fingerprint

Reptiles
Euthanasia
hypothermia
Amphibians
euthanasia
Hypothermia
Freezing
reptiles
amphibians
anesthesia
freezing
Anesthesia
Research
Vertebrates
Animal Euthanasia
cooling
vertebrates
Guidelines
nociception
Temperature

Keywords

  • Amphibians
  • Animal ethics guidelines
  • Euthanasia
  • Freezing
  • Reptiles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Anesthesia and euthanasia of amphibians and reptiles used in scientific research : Should hypothermia and freezing be prohibited? / Lillywhite, Harvey B.; Shine, Richard; Jacobson, Elliott; Denardo, Dale; Gordon, Malcolm S.; Navas, Carlos A.; Wang, Tobias; Seymour, Roger S.; Storey, Kenneth B.; Heatwole, Harold; Heard, Darryl; Brattstrom, Bayard; Burghardt, Gordon M.

In: BioScience, Vol. 67, No. 1, 2017, p. 53-61.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Lillywhite, HB, Shine, R, Jacobson, E, Denardo, D, Gordon, MS, Navas, CA, Wang, T, Seymour, RS, Storey, KB, Heatwole, H, Heard, D, Brattstrom, B & Burghardt, GM 2017, 'Anesthesia and euthanasia of amphibians and reptiles used in scientific research: Should hypothermia and freezing be prohibited?', BioScience, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 53-61. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biw143
Lillywhite, Harvey B. ; Shine, Richard ; Jacobson, Elliott ; Denardo, Dale ; Gordon, Malcolm S. ; Navas, Carlos A. ; Wang, Tobias ; Seymour, Roger S. ; Storey, Kenneth B. ; Heatwole, Harold ; Heard, Darryl ; Brattstrom, Bayard ; Burghardt, Gordon M. / Anesthesia and euthanasia of amphibians and reptiles used in scientific research : Should hypothermia and freezing be prohibited?. In: BioScience. 2017 ; Vol. 67, No. 1. pp. 53-61.
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