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.
OBJECTIVE To validate the effectiveness of a penetrating captive bolt device with a built-in low-pressure air channel pithing mechanism (PCBD) as a 1-step method for euthanasia of cattle.
DESIGN Clinical trial.
ANIMALS 66 feedlot steers and heifers (weight, 227 to 500 kg [500 to 1,100 lb]) that were not expected to survive or finish the feeding period with their cohorts.
PROCEDURES Cattle were transported to a university facility and euthanized with the PCBD. For each calf, clinical variables were monitored and recorded immediately before and for at least 10 minutes after application of the PCBD. Following euthanasia, the head of each calf was removed and trauma to the brain and skull was assessed and scored.
RESULTS Death was successfully achieved with the PCBD without application of an ancillary technique in all 66 cattle; however, 4 (6%) cattle required a second or third shot from the PCBD because of technical errors in its placement. All shots from the PCBD that entered the cranial vault successfully rendered cattle unconscious without a return to sensibility.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that the PCBD was an effective 1-step method of euthanasia for use in mass depopulation of feedlot cattle.