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Br Vet J. 1991 Jul-Aug;147(4):322-30.

Changes in the somatosensory evoked potentials and spontaneous electroencephalogram of hens during stunning in argon-induced anoxia.

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Department of Meat Animal Science, University of Bristol, Langford.


This study examined the time to loss of consciousness in hens during stunning in argon-induced anoxia. Somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) and the spontaneous electroencephalogram (EEG) were recorded in 12 culled hens prior to and during stunning in less than 2% oxygen (air displaced by argon). An additional 20 hens were stunned with a similar concentration of oxygen and the time to loss of posture, eye closure, and the onset and duration of clonic and tonic convulsions were recorded. A further 10 hens were immersed in less than 2% oxygen for 15-17 s and their response to comb pinching was tested as soon as they had been transferred to atmospheric air. It is concluded that the birds had not lost the primary response in their SEPs by the time they started convulsing, but the reduction in the amplitude of the SEPs, changes in their spontaneous EEG and a negative response to comb pinch before the start of the convulsions indicated that the birds were unconscious when they convulsed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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