Although tricaine methanesulfonate (MS-222) immersion has historically been standard of care for fish and anuran euthanasia, recent research has proven it insufficient for euthanasia of goldfish. To assess appropriateness for humane euthanasia of anurans, this study evaluated the efficacy of MS-222 in Smokey Jungle Frogs (Leptodactylus pentadactylus). Eighteen frogs (21–33 g) were exposed to one of three MS-222 concentrations via partial immersion: 2.5 g/L for 90 min (M2.5/90), 5 g/L for 60 min (M5/60), or 10 g/L for 60 min (M10/60). Physiologic parameters and times to loss of spontaneous movement, righting reflex, and noxious stimulus response were recorded. Following exposure, frogs were rinsed with dechlorinated water, and time to cessation of heart beat was recorded. Survival in M2.5/90, M5/60, and M10/60 was one of six, zero of six, and zero of six, respectively. In M2.5/90, three of six frogs had continued purposeful, spontaneous movement throughout exposure. In M5/60 and M10/60, median (range) time to initial loss of movement was 14.3 (5.5–30.0) and 7.6 (4.8–19.7) min, respectively. Twelve of 18 frogs among all groups demonstrated a median (range) of two (one to six) episodes of regained consciousness with purposeful, spontaneous movement following loss of noxious stimulus response. Median (range) time to heart beat cessation in M2.5/90, M5/60, and M10/60 was 150 (135–210), 157.5 (60–225), and 90 (75–210) min, respectively. Although death was achieved in 17 of 18 frogs, given the repeated events of regained consciousness, MS-222 immersion when used at concentrations ≤10 g/L did not result in rapid and distress-free death and is not sufficient for humane euthanasia in this species.
Smokey Jungle Frog