OBJECTIVE To determine the optimal anatomic site and directional aim of a penetrating captive bolt (PCB) for euthanasia of goats.
SAMPLE 8 skulls from horned and polled goat cadavers and 10 anesthetized horned and polled goats scheduled to be euthanized at the end of a teaching laboratory.
PROCEDURES Sagittal sections of cadaver skulls from 8 horned and polled goats were used to determine the ideal anatomic site and aiming of a PCB to maximize damage to the midbrain region of the brainstem for euthanasia. Anatomic sites for ideal placement and directional aiming were confirmed by use of 10 anesthetized horned and polled goats.
RESULTS Clinical observation and postmortem examination of the sagittal sections of skulls from the 10 anesthetized goats that were euthanized confirmed that perpendicular placement and firing of a PCB at the intersection of 2 lines, each drawn from the lateral canthus of 1 eye to the middle of the base of the opposite ear, resulted in consistent disruption of the midbrain and thalamus in all goats. Immediate cessation of breathing, followed by a loss of heartbeat in all 10 of the anesthetized goats, confirmed that use of this site consistently resulted in effective euthanasia.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Damage to the brainstem and key adjacent structures may be accomplished by firing a PCB perpendicular to the skull over the anatomic site identified at the intersection of 2 lines, each drawn from the lateral canthus of 1 eye to the middle of the base of the opposite ear.
To assess the extent of damage to the skull and brain of cadaveric dairy goat kids caused by a .22-caliber, 16-g pellet fired from a multipump air pistol at various power levels.
Cadavers of 8 male and 7 female dairy goat kids ≤ 5 days old.
Each cadaver was positioned in sternal recumbency with the head and neck extended on a straw bale. A multipump air pistol was held with the barrel perpendicular to and 2.5 cm from the head at the intersection of 2 imaginary lines that extended from the lateral canthus of each eye to the middle of the contralateral ear base and fired at half (5 pumps; n = 2), intermediate (7 pumps; 2), or full (10 pumps; 11) power. The head and neck were removed from the carcass for CT imaging and gross sectioning to determine the location of the pellet and extent of damage caused to the skull and brain.
The pellet successfully penetrated the skull of all 13 heads shot at full or intermediate power and 1 of the 2 heads shot at half power. The pellet did not fragment after entering the skull of any cadaver and penetrated the brainstem (necessary for instantaneous death) in only 7 cadavers.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
The described technique was insufficient for use as a stand-alone method for euthanizing young dairy goat kids. Modification of the technique warrants further research to determine whether air pistols can be used to effectively euthanize young goat kids.