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July 27, 2021

Shortage of Pentobarbital

Health Canada has announced a global shortage of pentobarbital sodium, the active ingredient used in most euthanasia products for animals. The shortage is expected to impact the existing Canadian supply in mid-to-late 2021 and will continue until mid-2022. For more information, the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) asks that you please read Health Canada’s alert.

The CCAC advises all certified institutions using pentobarbital to euthanize animals to take all necessary measures to minimize the impact of this shortage. These measures should include reviewing the CCAC guidelines on: euthanasia of animals used in science for a list of alternate methods. As detailed in these guidelines, other methods for killing experimental animals may be acceptable for use following review and approval by the institution’s animal care committee and assurance that trained personnel are available. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association also provide resources and guidance on this subject.

Thank you for your commitment to ensuring the ethical care and use of animals in Canadian science. Please contact the CCAC if you have questions or concerns regarding this issue.

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