OBJECTIVE To use MRI and CT to compare the amount of tissue damage (soft tissue and bone) to the heads of goats after administration of a nonpenetrating or penetrating captive bolt.
ANIMALS Cadavers of twelve 1- to 5-year-old mixed-breed goats that had been euthanized with an overdose of pentobarbital as part of an unrelated study.
PROCEDURES Cadavers were randomly assigned to receive a nonpenetrating (n = 6) or penetrating (6) captive bolt. The head of 1 cadaver was imaged via CT and MRI. The muzzle of a device designed to administer either a penetrating or nonpenetrating captive bolt was then placed flush on the dorsal midline of each head at the level of the external occipital protuberance (poll) and aimed downward toward the cranialmost portion of the intermandibular space, and the assigned bolt was administered. Heads were removed, and CT and MRI of each head were performed. After imaging, each skull was transected along the sagittal plane to permit gross evaluation of central nervous tissue and obtain digital photographic images. In addition, 1 head that received a nonpenetrating captive bolt was further evaluated via blunt dissection and removal of adnexa from the external surface of the calvarium.
RESULTS MRI, CT, and dissection of skulls revealed severe skeletal and soft tissue damage after impact with the penetrating and nonpenetrating captive bolts.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The nonpenetrating captive bolt appeared to cause damage similar to that of the penetrating captive bolt in the cranium and soft tissues of the head in caprine cadavers. This damage suggested that administration of a nonpenetrating captive bolt as described here may be an acceptable method of euthanasia in goats.