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.