NYS legislation proposed to change euthanasia process

By DR. JOSEPH D'ABBRACCIO
Posted 9/11/19

If you have ever had to euthanize a pet, you know it is an extremely difficult and emotional process. The euthanasia process itself was a strong topic of discussion at the end of the NYS Legislative …

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NYS legislation proposed to change euthanasia process

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If you have ever had to euthanize a pet, you know it is an extremely difficult and emotional process. The euthanasia process itself was a strong topic of discussion at the end of the NYS Legislative session in the spring. The NYS Senate passed a bill that would bring forward some changes to the euthanasia process in the state.

Currently, if an animal is severely ill, suffering severe trauma, or struggling with advanced degenerative disease, families can elect to have their pet humanly euthanized. This is a very serious process and a decision that is between the patient’s family and a veterinarian. Typically, when that decision is made, the pet is sedated to allow them to relax in the comfort of their family’s company. This injection is either given intravenously or intramuscularly. After a period of time, the final injection is given that helps the patient pass away peacefully in less than 60 seconds. Typically, the final injection is given in a vein, but there are several other locations that are approved and accepted for injection. Some of those locations include the kidney, liver, or intra-cardiac. Depending on the patient’s condition a veterinarian may select a specific route of administration with the goal of it being the least distressing route possible. Each veterinarian may perform the euthanasia procedure in a different way, but they all have the patient and their family’s comfort in mind.

The proposed legislation would require informed consent for euthanasia and limit the use of intra-cardiac injection. At the current time, all pet owners must sign a document to authorize the procedure and a statement that their pet has not bitten a human within a 10-day period. The proposal legislation would require an extensive conversation with a client whose pet required euthanasia. This conversation would include alternatives that are available, the benefits and risk of each method, and the impacts on your pet. The current paperwork process takes less than five minutes with no need for extensive discussion, thus allowing people to focus on the important moments with their pet. The proposed legislation will certainly drive a wedge between people and their pets. An emotional and critical time will be clouded with legal jargon and signature collection. Imagine going through such a process for a human loved one that has passed way: The funeral home director discussing different processes and methods when all you want and need to be doing is grieving your tremendous loss.

I would encourage you to reach out to your NYS Assembly representative to discuss your feelings regarding the proposed bill, which is Bill A5699. To look up your Assembly Representative click here.

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