Ether UseApproved November 19, 1998 (Download)
Background: Ether is highly soluble in blood, induces anesthesia slowly, is irritating to the eyes and nose, and poses serious risks because of its flammability and explosive potential. The Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia views the use of ether for euthanasia as acceptable but notes a preference for other agents. Furthermore, explosions or fires are possible in places like freezers where animal carcasses are stored following the use of ether for euthanasia. When discovered as part of program and facility reviews conducted by AAALAC, the use of ether is consistently noted as an issue of concern requiring further explanation and justification. The relative safety and advantages of alternatives such as metofane make them preferable to the use of ether in animal facilities and programs.
Policy: Because its flammable and explosive properties make it hazardous to use, and because its use as an inhalant anesthetic or euthanasia agent is associated with undesirable irritation of nasal and ocular mucosa, the use of other agents for these purposes is preferred. Considering the disadvantages, ether should not be used for animal anesthesia or euthanasia except when there is a unique and compelling scientific justification to do so. Under such circumstances, documentation must be provided to the IACUC that the attending veterinarian and Environmental Health and Safety staff are satisfied the investigators and their personnel proposing to use ether have the appropriate training and equipment to do so and that appropriate measures will be taken to reduce the hazards associated with its use. Such measures include:
If the policy is not adhered to, the IACUC can suspend approval to use ether or require change to another anesthetic agent.