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*Intracardial injections, commonly referred to as "heart sticks," are considered inhumane and cruel when performed on animals that aren't anesthetized or comatose. Using the "heart stick" method is painful because the needle containing sodium pentobarbital - a schedule II controlled substance used to euthanize animals - passes through the chest wall and several layers of muscle before puncturing the heart. If the euthanasia substance isn't carefully and accurately administered, an animal's lungs could be punctured, causing them to fill with fluid, a painful way to die.
Intracardial injections are difficult to administer effectively on fully conscious animals because in the animal, the lungs and the heart are constantly moving, said Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a veterinarian and professor of veterinary medicine who is considered a euthanasia expert by the American Veterinary Medical Association.Animal shelter accused of inhumanely euthanizing cats, dogs