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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 32817
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Yesterday we had to have our 21 year old cat put to sleep.

Customer Question

Yesterday we had to have our 21 year old cat put to sleep. The vet injected her in her leg and caused much distress to the cat who cried out. 3 years ago when we had our 18 year old cat put to sleep the vet injected her in the back of the neck with no upset to the cat. What is the difference between the two methods and why did this vet cause our dearly loved cat so be distressed?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry for the delay in responding to you. I'm puzzled by what might be injected in the back of the neck. The best manner in which to avoid discomfort in my patient is to dissociate them ("space them out") with a drug such as medetomidine prior to administering the intravenous euthanasia solution. Medetomidine is recommended to be administered either intravenously or intramuscularly to cats. It can be administered subcutaneously to dogs and perhaps that was done in the back of the neck for your 18 year old cat. There are no accessible veins in the back of the neck. It still would need to be followed by IV euthanasia solution but any vein could be chosen because medetomidine maintains blood pressure and so good access to a vein is relatively assured.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.