Anesthesia and Euthanasia in Zebrafish

Monte Matthews and Zoltán M. Varga

Monte Matthews is Director of Animal Care Services, and Zoltán M. Varga, PhD, is Director of the Zebrafish International Resource Center at the University of Oregon, Eugene.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Zoltán M. Varga, Zebrafish International Resource Center, 5274 University of Oregon, 1307 Franklin Boulevard, Eugene, OR 97403 or email


Because of the relative ease of embryonic manipulation and observation, the ability to produce a great number of genetic mutations, efficient screening methods, and the continued advance of molecular genetic tools, such as the progress in sequencing and mapping of the zebrafish genome, the use of zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a biomedical model organism continues to expand. However, studies involving zebrafish husbandry and veterinary care struggle to keep pace with scientific progress. This article outlines some of the current, acceptable methods for providing anesthesia and euthanasia and provides some examples of how performance-based approaches can be used to advance the relatively limited number of anesthetic and euthanizing techniques available for zebrafish.

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