Guidance for Veterinarians on Euthanasia Methods that
Do Not Include Pentobarbital Sodium

Dear CVMA member,

Due to a global shortage of pentobarbital sodium, the active ingredient used in most euthanasia products for animals, the existing Canadian supply may be impacted by the end of 2021 through mid-2022. Health Canada’s Veterinary Drugs Directorate (VDD), the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI), and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) are working together with manufacturers, importers, and distributors to help minimize the impact of the shortage and provide information and updates to stakeholders.

The CVMA, through an advisory committee, has developed a guidance document, Guidance for Veterinarians on Euthanasia Methods that Do Not Include Pentobarbital Sodium, on products, methods, and protocols that can be used by veterinarians as alternatives to those that utilize pentobarbital sodium for euthanasia of animals.

The current document can be accessed on the National Issues page of the Policy & Advocacy section of the CVMA website, This is a live document that will be updated as new information becomes available.

Please note: Your CVMA username and password is required to access this document. Please contact the CVMA at or 800-567-2862 if you require these credentials.

The CVMA will endeavor to keep Canadian veterinarians apprised of any changes to the situation, including updates to the Guidance Document.

Please direct any questions regarding this document to The CVMA will coordinate written (email) responses from members of the advisory group who authored the Guidance Document.

Dr. Enid Stiles
CVMA President
You are receiving this message as a member of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). The CVMA is the national and international voice for Canada’s veterinarians, providing leadership and advocacy for veterinary medicine.