The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) panel on
euthanasia specifically prohibits the combination of
pentobarbital with a neuromuscular blocking agent to kill
animals because of the risk of unrecognized consciousness. 2000
Report of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
Panel on Euthanasia, 218 J. Am. Veterinary Med. Ass'n 669, 680.
(March 1, 2001). (PC-R4. 80-107). Pentobarbitol is an
intermediate-acting anesthetic with a half-life of many hours,
which means that its effects last much longer than the ultrashort
acting sodium thiopental.
The use of sodium thiopental in combination with a
neuromuscular blocking agent would certainly be even more
unacceptable under the AVMA standards because of the increased
risk (compared with pentobarbital) that an animal would regain
consciousness after the ultra-short acting anesthetic wears off.
Additionally, 19 states have expressly or implicitly prohibited
the use of a neuromuscular blocking agent in animal euthanasia
because of the risk that it would prevent veterinarians from
detecting consciousness in animals.
Section 828.058, Florida Statutes, prohibits the use of
paralyzing agents in euthanizing dogs and cats. The statute
also specifies that only sodium pentobarbital or another agent
approved by rule by the Board of Veterinary Medicine may be used
in euthanizing dogs or cats. The statute also specifies the
training required for an individual performing euthanasia.
Therefore, the protocol used in Florida to execute condemned
inmates would be illegal to euthanize a dog or cat.
The third chemical used in Florida lethal injections is
potassium chloride, which is the substance that causes the death
of the prisoner. It burns intensely as it courses through the
veins toward the heart and causes massive muscle cramping before
inducing cardiac arrest when it reaches the heart. Without
adequate anesthesia, the condemned would feel the intense
burning and the pain of a heart attack, but is unable to
communicate his pain because the pancuronium bromide has
paralyzed his entire body so that he cannot express himself
either verbally or otherwise.