The Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy

Program 1279-33465 is AAVSB RACE approved | Premium Content


Dr. Kathleen Cooney, founder and director of education at the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy (CAETA) guides learners in this course, which explores and hones the comprehensive skill set required in companion animal euthanasia. Within the ten-module course, participants explore topics including pre–euthanasia and anesthesia protocols, euthanasia techniques, pharmacology and physiology, caregiver considerations, challenging situations, team support, and more. 

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In addition to receiving a CAETA certification of Commitment to Excellence, successful completion also earns participants 10 hours of AASVB RACE-approved CE – Program Number 1279-33465.

At the end of this program, participants will be able to:

• Perform confident, gentle companion animal euthanasia every time
• Demonstrate improved euthanasia skills and protocols
• Understand the history of euthanasia and its implications for today
• Weigh pet and caregiver considerations to help guide protocols
• Describe the pharmacology of euthanasia on animal physiology
• Practice pre–euthanasia anesthesia and sedation and understand its purpose
• Administer five, main euthanasia techniques for achieving a gentle death
• Respond appropriately to challenging situations 
• Assess case reviews, describing the situation and recommending a course of action
• List useful supplies and materials for the euthanasia process
• Perform post–euthanasia care and memorialization

• Discuss the importance of euthanasia team support and create a team protocol


Meet Dr. Cooney and gain an understanding of CAETA’s purpose while viewing the objectives of this course by watching this introduction. After the introduction, participants will receive access to CAETA’s extensive student library of resources free of charge, which will enhance learner experience completing the course and assist them long after.

Module 1 – Companion Animal Euthanasia

This module references the history of Euthanasia practices at home and abroad. Participants will consider this history and its influence on contemporary guidelines for companion animal euthanasia and recognize ethical implications of the practice. The module also explores those guidelines in how they correspond to humane euthanasia. 

Module 2 – Caregiver and Pet Considerations

The relationship between a pet and its caregiver bears influence on how participants will approach the end of that pet’s life. This module discusses how to foster a peaceful euthanasia experience for the companion animal caregiver and create a partnership with that person when it comes to decision-making and post–euthanasia support.

Module 3 – Pharmacology and Physiology

In this module, participants will visit the stages of death that they will witness and administer when performing companion animal euthanasia. They will leave the module with new recognition of normal versus abnormal drug interactions. Finally, this module will introduce learners to the mechanisms of action upon companion animal physiology that occur during euthanasia. Comprehension of this pharmacology will instill understanding in how to achieve a peaceful passing for the animal. 

Module 4 – Pre–Euthanasia and Anesthesia Protocols

Now becoming a common global practice, pre–euthanasia anesthesia or sedation assist veterinary professionals in providing a peaceful and pain-free death for the companion animal. This module will guide participants in considering the benefits and ramifications of the practice, identifying expected physical changes in the companion animal, and provides steps for adjusting protocols to each patient’s needs. 

Module 5 – Euthanasia Techniques

The Euthanasia Techniques module expounds on the physiology and pharmacology module by exploring the common injection sites used in companion animal euthanasia and the administration of inhaled or direct physical anesthetics when necessary. This will guide learners in selecting the right technique for each patient.

Module 6 – Challenging Situations

Through this module, participants will come to understand that difficult situations occur in every veterinary practice and all of them encounter occasional challenges while performing companion animal euthanasia. That does not mean learners cannot benefit from attaining troubleshooting tips for fast response when those situations arise, and they will leave the module with heightened awareness of optimal response. Additionally, participants will acquire conversation techniques for when they must explain to caregivers what led to the challenging situation and how they addressed it.

Module 7 – Case Review

Practical application of what one learns in this course requires critical thinking and analysis of real-world situations. This module’s design allows participants to apply that necessary critical thinking and to apply their learnings to real case studies, helping to cement the concepts they have encountered so far in the course. This module also discusses in-home euthanasia logistics and discusses the plans practitioners must make for each patient. 

Module 8 – Euthanasia Technique Training

Providing an opportunity for learners to further apply what the understandings they acquired throughout the course, this video provides several demonstrations of the five common euthanasia techniques that learners encountered in Module 5 – Euthanasia Techniques. 

Module 9 – Useful Supplies and Materials

Much like Module 8, this module provides learners with several demonstrations of necessary postmortem steps they should take, from animal cadaver preparation to properly handling the decedent’s body, as well as guide them in available memorial options that they might offer their patients’ caregivers after euthanasia. Alongside these steps, learners will also review the necessary and helpful materials to have on hand during euthanasia.

Module 10 – Euthanasia Team Support
This final module focusses on veterinary team management and creating standard protocols for the euthanasia experience. Participants will also learn about available education resources. Finally, they will discover strategies for stress and grief management at the end of euthanasia.  

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