Shortage of euthanasia drugs for animals

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There could be a shortage of euthanasia drugs for animals in Canada. Health Canada warns the public on the matter. According to them, there will be a global shortage of euthanasia drugs. The reason is an explosion at a manufacturing plant. The incident took place in December 2020. However, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) says that pet owners in Canada have nothing to worry about.

Health Canada alerted veterinarians on Tuesday. They found out earlier in 2021 about the incident at a manufacturing site. Therefore, they knew there would be a global shortage of pentobarbital sodium. It is an active ingredient that most euthanasia products for animals contain. “Health Canada is working in collaboration with CAHI (Canadian Animal Health Institute), the CVMA, drug manufacturers, importers, and distributors to mitigate the impact on the veterinary health system and Canadians requiring end-of-life care for their animals/pets,” the agency said. CVMA was aware of the shortage before Health Canada made a public statement.

Shortage of Euthanasia Drugs

“Drug shortages do occur from time to time, so in that sense, it was not a surprise. However, given the importance of this particular drug to the welfare of animals in Canada, it immediately became a matter of great concern,” the CVMA stated.

Affected products include Euthanyl, Euthanyl Forte, and Terminal. The shortage is concerning since euthanasia is an important veterinary service. CVMA stated, “Euthanasia is an extremely important aspect of veterinary practice that allows pet parents and their veterinarian to ensure that a beloved animal has a gentle and painless end to its life.”


CAHI has asked Canadian veterinarians to administer only the recommended amount of the drug. They further requested specialists to only order a limited amount of euthanasia they are confident they will need at their practice. This way, they can avoid stockpiling, which could further exacerbate the shortage. Both Health Canada and CVMA shared the same advice for Canadian veterinarians.