Cervical dislocation

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Cervical dislocation is a common method of euthanising laboratory mice.

Cervical dislocation is a common method of animal euthanasia. It refers to a technique used in physical euthanasia of small animals by applying pressure to the neck and dislocating the spinal column from the skull or brain.[1] The aim is to quickly separate the spinal cord from the brain[2] so as to provide the animal with a fast and painless death;[1] however, research on this method has been shown it to not consistently concuss the brain and cause instantaneous insensibility.[3]


Apply firm pressure at the base of the skull, sharply pinching and twisting between thumb and forefinger. At the same time, pull backward on the tail.[4] This severs the spinal cord at the base of the brain or within the cervical spine area (the upper third of the neck).[2] According to the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), cervical dislocation is normally only conducted on small animals.[1]


The University of Iowa and some veterinary associations consider the technique as an ethically accepted method for terminating the life of small rodents such as rats, mice, squirrels, etc.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Glossary Archived June 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine." CCAC Programs. 2005. Canadian Council on Animal Care Archived 2009-10-17 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 13 July 2007.
  2. ^ a b Extension "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2007-07-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ https://www.hsa.org.uk/neck-dislocation/neck-dislocation
  4. ^ Hogan, B., F. Constantini, and E. Lacy. 1986. Manipulating the Mouse Embryo: A Laboratory Manual
  5. ^ University of Iowa. "Euthanasia Archived January 26, 2008, at the Wayback Machine." Accessed 15 August 2007