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Will burying my dogs after euthanasia harm my earthworms?

 
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I have 2 senior citizen large breed dogs. One is really ready to go, the other won't make it long afterwards. The vet will come out to the property and peacefully help. The problem is...PENTABARBITIOL, the euthanasia drug. I've read that ANYTHING that "eats" the dogs liver --ei. birds of prey ect. will be killed. DOES THIS INCLUDE EARTHWORMS? I saw research was done on frogs and mice BUT I DON'T UNDERSTAND the scientific gargan.
I know horses that have been euthanized and show up in dog food will result in a recall!

Can I assume the worms will be able to clean up? I really appreciate the work my worms do and do not wish to send them on a suicide mission.
IS THERE ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH PENTABARBITAL?
 
pollinator
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Short answer, yes, until it breaks down.

This is a scholarly article dealing with pentabarbital in cattle.

It states that, to avoid secondary toxicosis, or in the common tongue, killing scavengers, the carcass must be properly disposed of, meaning deep burial, incineration, or other means.

If you bury the bodies below the level where worms go, there will be no problem but potential groundwater contamination.

I think I would consult our own Dr. Redhawk, if he pops by this thread. But the article I mentioned referenced the existence of soil bacteria producing enzymes to break down pentabarbital.

I would probably bury the body in a pit or pile surrounded on all sides by at least 18" of woodchips. I would inoculate this pile with aerated compost extract and, unless I find there's a better strain for it, oyster mushroom slurry. I don't think I would eat any of the fruiting bodies without testing them first for the presence of contaminants, but the only other thing I think I would do is keep the mass damp and keep piling on woodchips, aerated compost extract, and fungal slurry.

It would be possible to track the stages of decomposition by looking for telltale insect species crawling out of the pile. Eventually, worms would find their way in, and hopefully by that point, the contaminants would have been broken down and/or sequestered by the fungi and whatever pioneer species had found, or been encouraged to occupy, the mound.

It just occurred to me to wonder why there aren't any alternatives to pentabarbital. I am not saying to go out into the back forty with a rifle for a last picnic, though that has many fewer ecological problems with it. But what of other relaxants? Aren't there plants that grow, I think datura might be one, or nightshade, that cause the heart to stop? Perhaps we need to consult an end-of-life herbalist.

My first thought was actually a drug overdose. Isn't there a potent natural canine sedative or painkiller that results in coma and quick, painless death? Then your companions' legacies needn't be associated with any toxicity. Just a couple of pills in a giant yummy meatball, maybe on a picnic at a favourite place, and the last thing they know is their constant pain fading to dullness with their favourite person nearby.

-CK
 
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Wow I never considered this before and we have 2 dogs buried after being euthanized on our property. Eeks!
 
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Renee Bulk wrote:I have 2 senior citizen large breed dogs. One is really ready to go, the other won't make it long afterwards. The vet will come out to the property and peacefully help. The problem is...PENTABARBITIOL, the euthanasia drug. I've read that ANYTHING that "eats" the dogs liver --ei. birds of prey ect. will be killed. DOES THIS INCLUDE EARTHWORMS? I saw research was done on frogs and mice BUT I DON'T UNDERSTAND the scientific gargan.
I know horses that have been euthanized and show up in dog food will result in a recall!

Can I assume the worms will be able to clean up? I really appreciate the work my worms do and do not wish to send them on a suicide mission.
IS THERE ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH PENTABARBITAL?




Is euthanasia the only answer? Do these harmful drugs have to be used? From a permaculture standpoint, what normally happens in nature to aging animals?

I know these are difficult questions, but sometimes you have to step back and ask why.



 
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Nobody wants to create a small toxic zone of death for soil critters around the burial site of a beloved pet.  But in my soil profile, it gets pretty lifeless below about 14 inches or so; after that I'm into stony clay pretty much.  Some roots penetrate, but there isn't much sign of soil life down there; the worms and such all seem to stay in the top twelve inches or so.

And the thing is, around here I need much deeper pit to keep scavengers -- or even my own hooligan dogs! -- from digging up a burial site.  Minimum three feet, four is better.  Buried at that depth, I don't think worms and critters are going to get much access.

I have to say I generally take my animals in for euthanasia and my vet charges a very reasonable fee for incineration; much as we love our rescue dogs, we aren't as committed to keeping them on the land with us after they have passed away.  If I had a backhoe to dig the holes it might be different, but I can't justify spending all day digging an animal grave.
 
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Hamilton Betchman wrote:

Renee Bulk wrote:I have 2 senior citizen large breed dogs. One is really ready to go, the other won't make it long afterwards. The vet will come out to the property and peacefully help. The problem is...PENTABARBITIOL, the euthanasia drug. I've read that ANYTHING that "eats" the dogs liver --ei. birds of prey ect. will be killed. DOES THIS INCLUDE EARTHWORMS? I saw research was done on frogs and mice BUT I DON'T UNDERSTAND the scientific gargan.
I know horses that have been euthanized and show up in dog food will result in a recall!

Can I assume the worms will be able to clean up? I really appreciate the work my worms do and do not wish to send them on a suicide mission.
IS THERE ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH PENTABARBITAL?




Is euthanasia the only answer? Do these harmful drugs have to be used? From a permaculture standpoint, what normally happens in nature to aging animals?

I know these are difficult questions, but sometimes you have to step back and ask why.





What happens in nature is far more cruel than euthanasia. The animal gets too weak or in to much pain to find food and starves to death, dies of dehydration, or is killed by a predator.

My advice would be cremation after euthanasia for pets.

Cross posted with Dan...
 
elle sagenev
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Hamilton Betchman wrote:
Is euthanasia the only answer? Do these harmful drugs have to be used? From a permaculture standpoint, what normally happens in nature to aging animals?

I know these are difficult questions, but sometimes you have to step back and ask why.



We believe in supplying our animals with humane lives, that often includes humane endings. When our St Bernard was bleeding to death due to cancer we chose to euthanize rather then let him slowly die. Same for our pup who grew, but not his kidneys, and was suffering greatly.  
 
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Joseph Jenkins (Humanure Handbook) has a chapter on the benefits of composting bodies, rather than burying them deeply, due to his concern about water contamination. Composting in a critter-proof bin with lots of sawdust and leaf mold sounds better to me than deep burial. The worms tend not to move in until after the compost cools a little, so if you can get it good and hot with microbe tea and a good N/C ratio, I would think that would help.

I really respect your concern for collateral damage - if your earthworms contain the drug and crawl away and a bird eats them, the worms may live, but the bird may not. We had a very healthy and growing owl population in our area and they were keeping the robins and squirrels from getting too bold. All of a sudden this spring, we weren't hearing them call and the robins have quickly adapted to their absence. My guess is that someone poisoned something and the owls took the fall. I doubt they were the intended target, but just innocent bystanders.
 
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Happily there is a reasonable cremation service for pets in our area. We used it for our last beloved pair and were able to bring them 'home' and spread their ashes where each dog loved to be.
 
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Hamilton Betchman wrote:

Renee Bulk wrote:I have 2 senior citizen large breed dogs. One is really ready to go, the other won't make it long afterwards. The vet will come out to the property and peacefully help. The problem is...PENTABARBITIOL, the euthanasia drug. I've read that ANYTHING that "eats" the dogs liver --ei. birds of prey ect. will be killed. DOES THIS INCLUDE EARTHWORMS? I saw research was done on frogs and mice BUT I DON'T UNDERSTAND the scientific gargan.
I know horses that have been euthanized and show up in dog food will result in a recall!

Can I assume the worms will be able to clean up? I really appreciate the work my worms do and do not wish to send them on a suicide mission.
IS THERE ANYONE FAMILIAR WITH PENTABARBITAL?




Is euthanasia the only answer? Do these harmful drugs have to be used? From a permaculture standpoint, what normally happens in nature to aging animals?

I know these are difficult questions, but sometimes you have to step back and ask why.





What happens in nature is far more cruel than euthanasia. The animal gets too weak or in to much pain to find food and starves to death, dies of dehydration, or is killed by a predator.

My advice would be cremation after euthanasia for pets.

Cross posted with Dan...



Pretty much exactly what I was going to say.  Mother nature can be very cruel, and almost any death we can give a pet will be far better than what would have happened in nature.  A rifle bullet to the lungs, which takes 30+ seconds to result in loss of consciousness will still be much more humane than a "natural" death like a wild coyote or similar would experience.  

I never really thought about the effect of the euthanasia drug on other critters.  As mentioned, cremation is your best bet if you are that concerned.
 
Renee Bulk
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ORIGIONAL POSTER:
So many WONDERFUL ideas, so truly THANKFUL!

Our 14 year Newfoundland past early this morning. I believe this is good --falling asleep in your own bed. I also like that the other dogs are not LOOKING for their GONE/DISSAPEARED family/pack member. They sniffed her and KNOW!!!
We will definitely talk with our vet about other OPTIONS that are available for our 16 year old newf. Perhaps find a less destructive chemical for helping.
I have no qualms about planting a tree on our naturally deciced dog and am happy to feed the worms!

YOU ARE ARE AMAZING PEOPLE! THANK YOU FOR YOUR VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE AND TIME!
 
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Sad times, but a good ending.  

Hugs.

It makes me glad to know the dog will still be with you on the farm, albeit feeding the soil.  

What sort of tree will you choose?  Trees make wonderful markers.  I especially like a food tree so I can remember the happy times while harvesting.  
 
Jay Angler
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Yes, sad times indeed and I'm glad you can see the silver lining and respect that we all eventually die, and dying with dignity in familiar surroundings is about the best outcome one can ask for.

If your conversation with your vet produces alternative "better" options, please post them, as clearly there are permies here who would make use of your research. Worms are an important part of my workforce, and I don't want to hurt them or anything else higher up the food chain.
 
Chris Kott
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My condolences for your loss, but as you say, how better to go than to go to sleep in your favourite spot? No strange places, people, or smells, just home one minute, then the clover meads of the Summerlands for endless squirrel-chasing and zoomies. All dogs go to heaven.

-CK
 
Renee Bulk
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What sort of tree will you choose?  Trees make wonderful markers.  I especially like a food tree so I can remember the happy times while harvesting.  

FUNNY HOW YOU WERE THINKING FOOD! I LOVE IT, VERY HONORABLE!
THANK YOU! I will update and let you know.


 
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Renee Bulk wrote:ORIGIONAL POSTER:
So many WONDERFUL ideas, so truly THANKFUL!

Our 14 year Newfoundland past early this morning. I believe this is good --falling asleep in your own bed. I also like that the other dogs are not LOOKING for their GONE/DISSAPEARED family/pack member. They sniffed her and KNOW!!!
We will definitely talk with our vet about other OPTIONS that are available for our 16 year old newf. Perhaps find a less destructive chemical for helping.
I have no qualms about planting a tree on our naturally deciced dog and am happy to feed the worms!

YOU ARE ARE AMAZING PEOPLE! THANK YOU FOR YOUR VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE AND TIME!



I see I found this thread a bit late, my condolences on your loss. It is really good that your other dogs know that she is now in the spirit world, that makes it much easier on them but do expect them to grieve her loss at some point.

For the interment of the other dog you can get a packet of mycorrhizae fungi and make a batch of milk bokashi for anointing when you lay the body to the soil. This will take care of any drug they might use in fairly short order, making the burial a non contaminating one.

*Milk Bokashi: 5 gal. pail with cloth for lid, 1 gal. whole milk, 2 gal. vegetable matter, one cup of good, healthy soil, mix all the ingredients together and cover pail with cloth tied in place. Let ferment for 1 week or longer. In this particular case just pour the whole contents over the corpse then sprinkle with the fungi and cover.

You can plant any tree you like if you follow this plan since the fungi and bacteria will break down any chemicals they come across.

Redhawk
 
Renee Bulk
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ORIGIONAL POSTER:

THIS IS GREAT NEWS for me. I like the sound of it!!! I'll start it right away, so it is ready when we need it-- and look up some information on it-- since I have never heard of it before.
I'll look and see if you have a forum for MILK something(?) I can't see it right now!👁👁
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Renee, I don't think you will find milk bokashi listed anywhere, I learned about it in the mid 1960"s from a Japanese gardener who was happy to help me learn about creating bonsai and growing cherry trees.
This is the first time I've given out how to make it and I haven't noticed anyone on the Bokashi forum or the KNF forum mention the milk bokashi.

Redhawk
 
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