Guidelines for Determination of a Moribund Condition

The NFL-ACUC recommends that intramural NFL researchers use the following criteria to identify a moribund condition necessitating euthanasia:

  1. The animal is unable to reach food or water which is situated in a readily available location.
  2. The animal shows no reaction to external stimulus such as pinching the toe or tapping the side of the cage.
  3. A serious fracture has occurred which creates extreme pain and, in the opinion of the veterinarian, cannot be repaired or the associated pain controlled.
  4. A tumor mass, excessive ascites, or infectious process exists which interferes with or prohibits normal bodily functions; e.g., eating, drinking, normal postural adjustments, locomotion, urinating, or defecating.
  5. Infection, inflammation, or pain is present to such a degree that the animal becomes anorexic and is not responsive to medical treatment or cannot be treated under approved experimental protocol.
  6. Tissue necrosis and/or drainage is present and is not responsive to medical treatment or cannot be treated under approved experimental protocol.
  7. A female rodent experiences dystocia during labor. The animal shows no progress and exhibits symptoms which may include bleeding, dehydration, increased respiration, etc. An immediate caesarean section may be performed to save any viable pups. Euthanasia of the female may be performed to end suffering and/or to end her use as a breeder since the dystocia is often a hereditary problem. If dystocia occurs in non-rodent species, the decision to treat or to euthanize the animal will be made by the program veterinarian in consultation with the investigator, project officer, or other individuals.
  8. Extremely low or extremely high body temperature that cannot be controlled.
NCI Animal Care and Use Committee - Issued 9/30/98