Since the end of the last century many investigations with electroanaesthesia have been performed in animals and man. The interest in this method of anaesthesia has emerged because anaesthesia is achieved immediately after the onset of the current and the recovery is very rapid after cutting off of the current. Recently a battery operated appuratus became available (Feenix Stockstill) for application of electroanaesthesia and electroimmobilisation under field conditions, and an experiment was conducted with 10 calves, 10 sheep, and 9 pigs, which were equipped with EEG and ECG electrodes. to check the analgesic and other practical effects of the apparatus. The duration of current administration was 20 minutes. Three animals of each species were used as control animals.
In all animals, during administration of the current, the breathing movements appeared to be somewhat impaired. The body temperature, the plasma cortisol level, and the pulse rate were raised durring the current administration. Moreover, the pulse rate was irregular. The corneal reflex remained positive in all animals, and the reaction to painful stimuli was positive in 15 out of 29 experimental animals. The body temperature, pulse rate, and plasma cortisol level remained constant in the control animals. Before and after administration of the current the electroencephalogram recordings were similar, except in one calf and one sheep, both of which showed patterns suggesting a decreased consciousness. The electrocardiogram recordings showed pronounced changes in cardiac activity. In one pig the heart activity stopped some minutes after the onset of the current. Changes in the electroencephalogram and electrocardiogram were not observed in the control animals during their treatment.
The results suggest that the apparatus did not cause electroanaesthesia or electrosleep but had mainly an electroimmobilising effect on the experimental animals.
Click here to return to the Homepage for more information on animal behavior, welfare, and care.