Evaluation of brain damage resulting from penetrating and non-penetrating captive bolt stunning using lambs

Australian Veterinary Journal
J W FinnieR A Davies


To compare the brain damage in sheep resulting from penetrating and non-penetrating captive bolt stunning. The unrestrained heads of anaesthetised lambs were impacted in the temporal region with penetrating and non-penetrating captive bolt pistols (humane stunners) using a constant charge. Two hours after head impact, brains were perfusion-fixed with 4% paraformaldehyde. Coronal sections were stained with haematoxylin and eosin and immunohistochemically for amyloid precursor protein, a sensitive marker of axonal and neuronal reaction in brains after trauma. Pathological changes in these brains were then quantified by morphometric analysis. The skull was fractured in 50% of lambs after a non-penetrating head impact and in all animals after a penetrating head wound. Impact contusions were present in 80% of lambs receiving a non-penetrating head injury and in all of those with a penetrating wound. Total contusion area was similar in both groups. Amyloid precursor protein-positive axons and neurons, and haemorrhage, were widely distributed in the brain after both head impact types, but there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups. Multifocal necrosis of the cerebellar granular layer was found in all lamb...Continue Reading


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