Indicators used in livestock to assess unconsciousness after stunning: a review
Using methylene blue boli, injected via an intracardiac catheter, the blood supply to the brain in two one- to 10-day-old calves and three adult sheep was studied during and after severance of the common carotid arteries and jugular veins. Passage of dye through cerebral vessels could not be observed in the exposed cerebrum of sheep after bilateral severance of major blood vessels. When vessels were severed on one side only, the passage of dye was noted for at least 53 seconds. In calves, after bilateral severance, sequential boli of dye could be detected passing through the cerebral vessels for more than 100 seconds. These results provide an explanation and support for the belief that there are major differences in the onset of insensibility between sheep and calves subsequent to severance of the common carotid arteries and jugular veins. The differences in blood supply to the brain which were demonstrated could be accounted for by differences in the blood supply to the brain by the vertebral artery in sheep and cattle. The effects of slaughter on the blood supply to the eye are discussed as a possible explanation of the disparity between results of studies in this general field which have used retinal responses in their investigations and those which have not.