Components of electroencephalographic responses to slaughter in halothane - anaesthetised calves : Effects of cutting neck tissues compared with major blood vessels

Components of electroencephalographic responses to slaughter in halothane - anaesthetised calves : Effects of cutting neck tissues compared with major blood vessels
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIM: To identify whether cutting neck tissues or cutting major blood vessels initiates the mechanisms responsible for electroencephalographic (EEG) responses to slaughter by ventral-neck incision without prior stunning in halothane-anaesthetised calves.
METHODS: Calves were assigned to two groups, viz transection of neck tissues with intact blood circulation through the brain (n=10), or transection of the major blood vessels of the neck but not most other neck tissues (n=7). They were minimally anaesthetised with halothane, using an established anaesthesia protocol. The animals in the neck-tissue transection group had their carotid arteries and jugular veins exposed and cannulated proximal and distal to the proposed site of subsequent ventral-neck incision; this diverted blood flow through these vessels so that cerebral perfusion and drainage were preserved. In animals in the blood-vessel transection group, the carotid arteries and jugular veins were exposed bilaterally by surgical dissection. They were then transected without further damage to the remaining structures of the neck. Changes in the median frequency (F50), 95% spectral edge frequency (F95), total power of the EEG (Ptot), and arterial blood pressure were compared within each group before and after neck-tissue or blood-vessel transection, and between groups following treatments.
RESULTS: Neck-tissue transection resulted in little overall change in the F50, an increase in the F95, and an initial increase in Ptot followed by a transient decrease and eventual return to pre-treatment values. There was between-animal variation in these EEG parameters. Transection of the major blood vessels of the neck resulted in a decrease in F50 in most animals; changes in F95 were highly variable, and there was a decrease in Ptot.
CONCLUSIONS: The EEG responses seen following neck-tissue and blood-vessel transection were qualitatively distinct, and suggested that cutting neck tissues caused greater noxious sensory input than transection of only the major blood vessels of the neck. These observations support the conclusion that the EEG responses seen after ventral-neck incision in intact animals are primarily due to noxious stimulation as a result of incision of ventral-neck tissues and not mainly as a result of loss of blood flow through the brain.
KEY WORDS: Calves, compressed spectral array, electroencephalogram, emergency slaughter, median frequency, minimal anaesthesia, nociception, pain, slaughter, total power of the EEG power spectrum, transection, ventral-neck incision, 95% spectral edge frequency

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