Conducted Electrical Weapons (CEWs) have potential as effective alternatives to chemical restraint for short-term non-routine capture and handling as well as aversion hazing of wildlife. To assess immediate and delayed physiologic effects of exposure to a CEW, we assigned 15 captive reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) to one of three treatment groups: immobilized with carfentanil and xylazine (CX), 10 second exposure to a CEW, or exposure to the CEW while immobilized with CX (CEW+CX). Blood samples were collected pre-treatment, immediately post-intervention, 10 min, 20 min, 4 hours, and 24 hours post-intervention. Physiologic effects were evaluated by analysis of blood, clinical observation for signs of physiologic compromise, and vital signs. Parameters that changed significantly (P < 0.05) post-exposure (lactate, glucose, rectal temperature, blood oxygen, cardiac troponin I, cortisol, and catecholamines) were not significantly different from baseline values within 24 hours. Cortisol, glucose, and peak rectal temperature were lower in CEW exposed individuals, while lactate, oxygen, and catecholamines were higher than for the CX exposed individuals. The catecholamine response observed in the CEW only group paralleled the response in the CEW+CX group. No long term health effects were detected from either restraint method. Use of a CEW does not appear to increase the risk of capture myopathy.

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