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Res Vet Sci. 2012 Oct;93(2):960-4. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2011.12.008. Epub 2012 Jan 4.

Evaluation of EEG based determination of unconsciousness vs. loss of posture in broilers.

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Department of Animal and Food Sciences, 242 Townsend Hall, Newark, DE 19716, USA.


Evaluation of the loss of consciousness in poultry is an essential component in evaluating bird welfare under a variety of situations and applications. Many current approaches to evaluating loss of consciousness are qualitative and require observation of the bird. This study outlines a quantitative method for determining the point at which a bird loses consciousness. In this study, commercial broilers were individually anesthetized and the brain activity recorded as the bird became unconscious. A wireless EEG transmitter was surgically implanted and the bird anesthetized after a 24-48 h recovery. Each bird was monitored during treatment with isoflurane anesthesia and EEG data was evaluated using a frequency based approach. The alpha/delta (A/D) ratio and loss of posture (LOP) were used to determine the point at which the birds went unconscious. There was no statistically significant difference between time to unconsciousness as measured by A/D ratio or LOP.

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