2013 Webinar: AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals

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The 2013 edition of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals contains substantial revisions from the previous publication of the guidance that may require operational changes for those working in animal care and use. Presenters Samuel C. Cartner, DVM, PhD, DACLAM, and Michael J. Huerkamp, DVM, DACLAM, discussed the history, impact, and implications of some of these key changes. Topics for discussion included:

  • New technical requirements and challenges regarding the flow rate of CO2
  • Euthanasia of neonates and fetuses, including application to avian species: technical and ethical considerations
  • Training, proficiency, and competency: euthanasia by cervical dislocation and decapitation, and implications of the dropped term “scientific justification”
  • Disaster preparedness considerations for mass euthanasia
  • Elimination of thoracic compression as an allowable method and associated issues with wildlife
  • Euthanasia of aquatic species including hypothermia of fish
  • Comparison between AVMA guidelines and the guidelines in Canada and Europe


This webinar was of interest to IACUC chairs, members, and staff who review protocols, as well as investigators, laboratory animal veterinarians, and animal care staff.


Samuel C. Cartner, DVM, PhD, DACLAM, is the associate vice president for animal research services and Director of the animal resources program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He completed the laboratory animal training program at UAB and is a Diplomate, American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM). His research interests include genetic susceptibility to infectious disease and the development of animal models of human and animal disease. Recently Dr. Cartner has focused on investigations that lead to improvements of laboratory animal care and use. His recent publication on the euthanasia of laboratory mice led to his participation on the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia in 2011. As the director of the UAB animal resources program, Dr. Cartner is dedicated to providing the highest quality laboratory animal care for the biomedical research community at UAB and participating with professional organizations that promote premium animal care and use in research institutions worldwide. Dr. Cartner has served in multiple roles with ACLAM, AVMA, ASLAP, AAALAC International, and PRIM&R. In partnership with the AVMA as sponsor, Dr. Cartner is helping to coordinate the first International Animal Welfare Forum on Animal Euthanasia. He received his DVM from the Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine and his PhD from UAB.

Michael J. Huerkamp, DVM, DACLAM, is the director of the division of animal resources and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Emory University. Dr. Huerkamp oversees animal husbandry and veterinary services programs delivered by a staff of 75 for a census of over 70,000 research mammals located in 9 buildings serving over 2,000 persons with access to the animal research facilities. He is a member of the Emory and VA IACUCs and is an AAALAC International ad hoc specialist who provides review advice regarding humane euthanasia practices in research. As the titular attending veterinarian at Emory, he is responsible overall for implementing the training requirements in the humane conduct of euthanasia stipulated by the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 edition. He earned his veterinary degree from The Ohio State University, is a Diplomate, ACLAM. From 1990 through 2001, Dr. Huerkamp was the veterinarian responsible for the humane conduct of euthanasia for DeKalb County Animal Control - Georgia's third most populous county. From 1988 through 2004, Dr. Huerkamp partnered with Fulton County Animal Control (in Georgia's largest county) to provide didactic and hands-on training in injectable euthanasia methodology several times yearly to animal control workers statewide.  During this period, he also served as consultant to the Georgia Department of Agriculture regarding matters of euthanasia in animal control. Dr. Huerkamp has published 38 journal articles and 13 book chapters.

Certificates of Attendance

Certificates of attendance for the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: Key Changes in 2013 webinar were made available at the conclusion of the webinar. To access the certificate, you must first complete the online evaluation. Such certificates are useful for obtaining continuing education (CE) credits (not Continuing Medical Education credits) from professional associations. Note that guidelines concerning CE credits may differ, and you should consult the appropriate professional association representative for further guidance.

If you would like to receive a certificate of attendance for a previous PRIM&R educational program, please email info@primr.org or call 617.423.4112, ext.0.