Oregon State University

IACUC Guideline: Use of Ether for Anesthesia or Euthanasia in Animal Research

Concerns and Background

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) “Guidelines on Euthanasia” (July 2007) classifies the use of ether as conditionally acceptable (JAVMA, vol. 218, No. 5, 2001). Primary concerns are:

  • Ether has explosion potential and represents a personal safety issue.
  • Ether has high solubility in blood and induces anesthesia slowly.
  • Ether is irritating in animals, especially to eyes and nose, and has been used to create a model for stress.

Together, ether represents an animal welfare and human safety concern.  Generally, alternative inhalation anesthetics (such as isoflurane) are available.

It is the policy of OSU’s IACUC that:

  • Ether is not recommended for anesthesia or euthanasia in animals.
  • The investigator must provide scientific justification for the use of ether and explain why alternative anesthetics are not acceptable.
  • Justifications based solely on cost, ease of use, or past history are not acceptable.

Accepted by the IACUC:  July 2011

Contact Info

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

Fax 541-737-9041

Office of Research Integrity
Research Office
Oregon State University
B308 Kerr Administration
Corvallis, Oregon 97331-2140
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