Euthanasia Gone Wrong

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Euthanasia Gone Wrong

This is a discussion on Euthanasia Gone Wrong within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello, After nearly a year of steady decline, we decided to have our 8-year-old Newfoundland euthanized (he had bladder cancer). Our veterinarian was very compassionate ...

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Old 11-21-2016, 04:21 PM
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Euthanasia Gone Wrong

Hello,

After nearly a year of steady decline, we decided to have our 8-year-old Newfoundland euthanized (he had bladder cancer). Our veterinarian was very compassionate throughout the process.

During the procedure, the veterinarian first administered the sedative (we believe it was propofol). My dog immediately fell to the ground and began wildly thrashing around. He was a skeleton of his old self at this point -- 115lbs down from 145lbs -- but was still able to put up quite a fight. It took him a little over 5 minutes to calm down, during which his mouth became very bloody, as did the ground around him (may have been from biting his tongue). About halfway through (2-3 minutes in), the vet ran out and got an additional vial of sedative and administered it. In the end, the sedative took effect and the second drug to stop his heart was successfully administered.

After it was over, our veterinarian was extremely apologetic and stated that what had happened was definitely not supposed to happen. In fact, he had never seen such a reaction.

My question is this: was there an error in the amount of sedative given, or was this just a rare reaction to the drug? If it was a medical error, we are debating about asking for a refund and donating it to our local humane society in honor of our dog.

Thank you.
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:23 PM
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I'm so sorry about that. I haven't ever seen dogs do that, but I have seen horses react in ways similar, even take off running a good 50 yards before going down. Now, normally horses aren't given sedatives first, at least not with any vets I have ever worked for, but the euthanasia drug, Euthasol is the same for both. That's usually the one that if there is going to be a reaction, it will cause it.

The sedative the vet gave your dog may have been given partially out of the vein on accident and possibly could have caused it, or maybe that was just the effect it had on your dog, for some reason.
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:23 PM
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Wow! My heart goes out to you. Not a good experience in the slightest, obviously.

I have no idea what went wrong but certainly feel you are well within your rights to pursue your questions with the vet.

I don't see anything wrong with your " If it was a medical error, we are debating about asking for a refund and donating it to our local humane society in honor of our dog.", it sounds noble. I'd petition your vet with your idea and see where it goes.

I had a bad experience with my first dog when I put her down due to the vet's ineptitude and it was not the way I wanted to see him go. I ended up putting it behind me but I was not thrilled to say the least.
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Old 11-22-2016, 05:54 AM
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I think it was a reaction. It happens unfortunately.
I'm sorry it happened like that
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Old 11-22-2016, 06:24 AM
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I am so sorry that your final experience with your pup was so traumatic... yes sometimes propoflo can cause excitement as a side effect.https://www.drugs.com/vet/propoflo-28-propofol.html
unfortunately there is no way to know prior to administration. Peace be with you knowing that you did what was best for your baby. Again you have my sympathy.
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Old 11-22-2016, 09:13 AM
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Hi Newfowner

So sorry to hear of you losing your dog and especially the circumstances. It must have been heartbreaking.

I don't really understand why vets euthanase this way. In Britain it's just an overdoes of anaesthetic, they fall asleep very peacefully, nothing else required. That seems far more compassionate to me. But maybe I'm missing something.
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Old 11-22-2016, 11:50 AM
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There was a very similar thread posted on (I believe it was) this forum maybe a year ago or so. I remember it because the reaction so horrifying and nearly identical to your experience, but I can't find it. At first I had even thought this was the same thread.

I'm really sorry that happened
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Old 11-22-2016, 03:37 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the kind replies. We've decided to let the issue go, as I am sure our veterinarian feels terrible enough already, and undoubtedly has learned something from the experience. Further discussion with the clinic likely won't serve a useful purpose.

Apart from his final five minutes of hell, he had a wonderful life and we'll try to focus on that moving forward.
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:40 PM
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What is the 'typical' way a dog is euthanized....by typical I mean whats the actual practice rather than policy...is it one injection or two....what done be done to make the process as successful and peacefully for the dog....how do you find a veterinarian that performs these preferred practices?
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Old 11-30-2016, 09:39 PM
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The procedure for euthanasia varies slightly depending on the personal preference of the DVM.

The most common protocol, in my experience, working as a vet assistant is that the animal is first given a sedative through an injection (intramuscular). The patient is given 10-15 of quiet time alone with the owner, to allow the medication to take effect.

Then the doctor administers a lethal dose of Euthanol, by injection (intravenous).

In some instances depending on the doctor's preference, and the patient's needs, an IV catheter may be placed to ensure access to the vein and/or to ensure the vein doesn't collapse.

Euthanasia, unfortunately can sometimes go less than smoothly. It isn't necessarily because of a mistake or "bad vet". Sometimes things happen that can't be predicted. Sometimes, although rarely, the animal may screw or yalp. Sometimes they may take way more of the drug than what is typical and the doctor will need to administer a second injection. I've experienced a chihuahua needing more of the drug that a St. Bernard. Sometimes they keep breathing for a minute, or let out a huge gasp. Sometimes they immediately void their bowels and bladders. Sometimes it's very difficult to find the vein, or the vein blows.

The body doesn't always do what the "text books" say they should. There are many variables and each animal metabolizes drugs differently. Reactions can occur unexpectedly.

At the end of the day, your experience was very unfortunate and I'm sure traumatic for you. I'm so very sorry for your loss. And that the experience was so painful for you and your family.

Sincerely
LinZ
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