Elephant Formulary

© 2003-17 Susan K. Mikota DVM and Donald C. Plumb, Pharm.D. Published by
Elephant Care International

Disclaimer: the information on this page is used entirely at the reader's discretion, and is made available on the express condition that no liability, expressed or implied, is accepted by the authors or publisher for the accuracy, content, or use thereof.


Euthanasia Agents containing Pentobarbital

Elephant specific information, if available, is in blue.

For therapeutic uses (other than euthanasia) of pentobarbital, see the main pentobarbital monograph for this agent. The sections on chemistry, storage, pharmacokinetics, over­dosage, drug interactions, and monitoring parameters can be found in the main pentobarbital monograph also.


Pharmacology – Pentobarbital causes death by severely depressing the medullary respira­tory and vasomotor centers when administered at high doses. Cardiac activity may persist for several minutes following administration.


Phenytoin is added to Beuthanasia®-D Special ( Schering) and lidocaine to FP-3®  (Vortech) for their added cardiac depressant effects and to denature the compounds from a Class-II controlled substance to Class-III drugs. Pentobarbital is also known as pentobarbi­tone .


Uses/Indications – For rapid, humane euthanasia in animals not intended for food purposes. Individual products may be approved for use in specific species. Barbituric acid derivatives are considered to be the “preferred method of euthanasia of individual dogs, cats, and other small animals.” (AVMA Panel on Euthanasia, 1986).


Contraindications/Precautions – Must not be used in animals to be used for food purposes (human or animal consumption). Should be stored in such a manner that these products will not be confused with therapeutic agents. Extreme care in handling filled syringes and proper disposal of used injection equipment must be undertaken. Avoid any contact with open wounds or accidental injection. Keep out of reach of children. Prior use of a tranquilizing agent may be necessary when the animal is in pain or agitated.


Adverse Effects/Warnings – Minor muscle twitching may occur after injection. Death may be delayed or not accomplished if injection given perivascularly.


Doses –  Because different products have different concentrations, please refer to the information provided with the product in use.

Large Animals: (Note: must not be used in animals to be consumed by either humans or other animals). Depending on product concentration, most animals require 10 – 15 ml per 100 pounds of body weight.


Monitoring Parameters –

1)   Respiratory, cardiac rate, corneal reflex



Client Information – Must be administered by an individual familiar with its use. Inform client observing euthanasia, that animal may give a terminal gasp after becoming uncon­scious.


Dosage Forms/Preparations – See other pentobarbital dosage forms under the main monograph for lower concentration products.


Pentobarbital Sodium for Injection (Euthanasia)

Sleepaway® (Fort Dodge) 260 mg/ml; 100 ml vials; C-II

Euthanasia-6® (Anthony) 390 mg/kg; 100 ml, 250 ml vials; C-II

Euthanasia Solution (Vet-Labs) 324 mg/ml; 100 ml vials; C-II


Pentobarbital Sodium 390 mg/ml/Phenytoin Sodium 50 mg/ml for Injection (Euthanasia)

Beuthanasia® -D Special (Schering) 100 ml vials; C-III


Pentobarbital Sodium 390 mg/ml/Lidocaine 20 mg/ml for Injection (Euthanasia)

FP-3® (Vortech) 100ml vials; C-III


All products are controlled substances and require a prescription. Pentobarbital alone is a Class-II controlled substance, combination products are generally Class-III.

Another barbiturate combination product similar to Beuthanasia®-D or FP-3® is: Repose® (Syntex) which contains 400 mg/ml secobarbital and 25 mg/ml dibucaine. The suggested dose for euthanasia in dogs and cats is: 0.22 ml/kg body weight IV.