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Old 02-10-2021, 09:59 AM   #1
Ria P
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Default Euthanasia

A while ago i read an alarming thread on a continental hamster forum.
The author of the thread was traumatised by the way her hamster had been put to sleep by a vet and i'm not going to go into the distressing details.
I forgot the name of the drug used but i think that it starts with a T and should only be used by administering a general anaesthetic first, then wait for 10 minutes before administering the said drug because it paralyses muscles and suffocates the hamster which is an awful death for a conscious or even semi conscious animal.
The thread also stated that most vets refuse to use this cheaper drug and put a hamster to sleep with an overdose of a narcotic.
I don't need to spell out what happened to the poor hamster but have always wondered of the method or methods used here in the UK.
What are the experiences of the forum members?
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Old 02-10-2021, 10:20 AM   #2
yasmin_the_hamster
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Default Re: Euthanasia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
A while ago i read an alarming thread on a continental hamster forum.
The author of the thread was traumatised by the way her hamster had been put to sleep by a vet and i'm not going to go into the distressing details.
I forgot the name of the drug used but i think that it starts with a T and should only be used by administering a general anaesthetic first, then wait for 10 minutes before administering the said drug because it paralyses muscles and suffocates the hamster which is an awful death for a conscious or even semi conscious animal.
The thread also stated that most vets refuse to use this cheaper drug and put a hamster to sleep with an overdose of a narcotic.
I don't need to spell out what happened to the poor hamster but have always wondered of the method or methods used here in the UK.
What are the experiences of the forum members?
Thank you for pointing this out. Yasmin is still small, but it is definitely something to keep in mind - to always ask, what the vet is doing and using.

In Prague, there are animal services, which offer that a vet comes to your house, puts an animal into sleep in the safety of your home and then they do a cremation for your hamster to offer somehow decent way to say a goodbye. I would hate to leave my pets body at the vet, because the way they dispose of animals bodies are... well, unacceptable for me. However, I do not know what they use to put an animal into sleep, or other details of their service. It is just something I will consider when the time comes.
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Old 02-10-2021, 10:25 AM   #3
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: Euthanasia

I know not all vets do this in the UK, but the 'nicer' way, more 'humane' way is for it to be gassed (anaesthetised first) then the injection. I have heard some vets just do the injection straight into the heart which is just horrific and the last thing I would ever want any of my pets to go through.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:01 AM   #4
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Euthanasia

I went through this when our first hamster Charlie was nearing his time and was very anti the idea of euthanasia for this reason. It depends on the vet whether they use gas anaesthetic first or not so it's important to ask/specify you want that. Some vets give you the option to be there and no gas (you can't be there in the room when they use gas) but there is a lot of debate as to whether it causes pain or not. The injection.

Even so I also do not like the idea of an injection straight into the heart without anaesthetic and think it would be cruel. Even if it is quick. They are already scared and suffering and it is not the way I would want a life to end. Our current vet will only use gas anaesthesia first and I find that reassuring.

I phoned round 2 or 3 vets before taking Charlie somewhere and was horrified to hear one vet being quite jokey about it and saying no they don't use anaesthesia and yes sometimes it doesn't work first time and they have to inject into the gut instead. Very insensitive.They can either inject into the gut (preferable) or directly into the heart (more successful first time). But he said - up to the vet to decide. So you don't know. So being asleep and pain free with gas first is important.

The vet I finally went to I had a very bad experience. It was quite traumatic. I still don't know if he had the gas or not, she didn't speak good English and the way he was returned was exremely upsetting. I now have a vet who is very good when it comes to euthanasia (don't like her that much but she is very good at that stage).

I will add that I am now pro euthanasia because there is inadequate pain relief for hamsters who are in a lot of pain. But only if there is anaesthesia first.
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Old 02-28-2021, 03:24 PM   #5
Stella Maris
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Default Re: Euthanasia

I've had 2 less-than-wonderful euthanasia experiences. (Cat & Dog)
My dwarf, Oreo was slow, but ok, one day, then had a seizure and died. I'm hoping all my wee critters will go quickly. Since they have a short life (≈2-3 years), it seems only fair that they should get to have a 'short' death.

I found this on line:

Small Animal Euthanasia at Home

I thought if necessary, I would do this at home, rather than the stress of taking the hammie to the vet.
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Old 02-28-2021, 04:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: Euthanasia

Please don’t do this. Absolutely not. If you read more about it, it can cause terrible suffering and be an awful way to die (suffocation). Aside from the fact it is probably illegal. The only safe humane way is via the vets. I came across things like this too before but there is a lot more to it and there is no humane way of doing it at home.

Please be clear it is not stressful for the hamster being taken to the vet when it is time to go and is helping them on their way. They are often begging for help effectively by the time you get to that stage. They don’t know what is going to happen and they are anesthetised. It is why vets can’t do euthanasia at home for hamsters - because of the anaesthetic gas.
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Old 03-01-2021, 04:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: Euthanasia

Thanks, Ria P, for raising this important subject. I believe it's important to know what is happening to our pets, and I have always wondered if my previous hamster's experience of euthanasia was a comfortable one. I wanted to ask if I could go into the euthanasia room with her (it was pre-Covid days) but wasn't sure if I was allowed, so didn't. When she was brought back in her pet-carrier it looked as though she had vomited, but what really bothered me was that her eyes were wide open and she didn't look at peace at all. I wonder if one is allowed to ask if the eyes could be closed? It hadn't occurred to me that the process would be anything less comfortable than just going to sleep, and I wish I had known enough then to ask.
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Old 03-01-2021, 05:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Euthanasia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petite View Post
Thanks, Ria P, for raising this important subject. I believe it's important to know what is happening to our pets, and I have always wondered if my previous hamster's experience of euthanasia was a comfortable one. I wanted to ask if I could go into the euthanasia room with her (it was pre-Covid days) but wasn't sure if I was allowed, so didn't. When she was brought back in her pet-carrier it looked as though she had vomited, but what really bothered me was that her eyes were wide open and she didn't look at peace at all. I wonder if one is allowed to ask if the eyes could be closed? It hadn't occurred to me that the process would be anything less comfortable than just going to sleep, and I wish I had known enough then to ask.
Thank you for sharing your experiences Petite. I think I have been extremely lucky with my vets, both times they have looked after my hamsters very well. 1 time they wrapped one of them up so snuggly in a little towel, I just put her straight into a box/coffin like that. The other time they put my hamster back into her little nest all wrapped up.

I don't think you are alone in not knowing, I only knew how horrible/upsetting it could be because The Rodent Nurse had talked about it on her social media platforms.
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Old 03-01-2021, 07:35 AM   #9
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Euthanasia

Petite I had one experience like that too and it was absolutely awful - I changed vets after that. All I can reassure you is that the body reacts after death. Death is instant. But the hamster should be laid looking peaceful when returned and in my case that did not happen and it was traumatic. Most vets will return them careful wrapped and looking peaceful.

I am so sorry you had that experience too. Bear in mind that any hamster who needs to be euthanised, is suffering.

In terms of going in with the hamster - this is not possible when gas anaesthetic is used, because of the gas. You can take them in a favourite little house or nest and they stay in that and it is put inside the tank where the gas anaesthesia is done. So they just doze off just as they would if having an operation. Sometimes with a sick old hamster they just pass away on their sleep with the gas. But legally the vets still have to give the injection to ensure death. The hamster doesn’t feel this is anaesthetised.

My experience is some vets give you the option to be with snd hold the hamster and not have gas. Then they just have the injection without anaesthetic, which is very quick but I, and most vets these days, feel that is not right as they will feel pain, even if only momentarily. And it is an injection into the heart.

The main thing is find a good vet who you know cares.
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Old 03-01-2021, 12:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Euthanasia

I don't know if would offer comfort to hear the perspective from a veterinary professional I'm a student veterinary nurse as well as a hammy owner so have both perspectives.
Nowhere I've worked would ever inject directly without making sure they're properly anaesthetised first and I find it alarming that some practices still do this.
The process is (or should be) that anaesthetic gas is used to ensure they're in a deep sleep before the injection is given. The injection is usually into the heart, unfortunately, their veins are so tiny it is impossible to administer that way (the way we would with a dog or cat for example) which is why anaesthesia first is so important.
As has been mentioned, due to the dangers of anaesthetic gas, you're not allowed in with them for this stage, we have strict protocols surrounding who can be in the room when using the anaesthetic agents.
You can request that the little one is brought back to you for the injection, however at the moment, different practices have different covid protocols so that may not be possible.
On the subject of the eyes being open, it's extremely rare for any animals eyes to close when they're euthanised, I'm not sure why. They generally don't close when they're under anaesthetic for surgical procedures either (we have to frequently lubricate the eyes during surgery to ensure they don't get too dry). Often they do come back open if we try to close them so for the purpose of not causing trauma to the face, we tend to leave them open.
If they're going back to the owners, I always try to ensure they're nicely wrapped up all snuggly because I've been on the other side and know how much nicer it is that way. (Before I worked in veterinary, one of my hamsters was brought back out to me with their entire body buried in substrate and their head sticking out which was a little traumatising to say the least!).
If anyone has any questions about the veterinary side of this, I'm more than happy to answer them to the best of my ability and I hope having the perspective from the other side might help
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