Electroencephalograms (EEG) and visual evoked potentials (VEP) in mice were recorded to evaluate loss of cortical function during the first 30 s after euthanasia by various methods. Tracheal cannulae (for positive-pressure ventilation, PPV) and cortical surface electrodes were placed in mice anesthetized with inhaled halothane. Succinylcholine was used to block spontaneous breathing in the mice, which then underwent continuous EEG recording. Photic stimuli (1 Hz) were presented to produce VEPs superimposed on the EEG. Anesthesia was discontinued immediately before euthanasia. Compared with that obtained before euthanasia, EEG activity during the 30-s study period immediately after euthanasia was significantly decreased after cervical dislocation (at 5 to 10 s), 100% PPV-CO2 (at 10 to 15 s), decapitation (at 15 to 20 s), and cardiac arrest due to KCl injection (at 20 to 25 s) but not after administration of 70% PPV-CO2. Similarly, these euthanasia methods also reduced VEP amplitude, although 100% PPV-CO2 treatment affected VEP amplitude more than it did EEG activity. Thus, 100% PPV-CO2 treatment significantly decreased VEP beginning 5 to 10 s after administration, with near abolition of VEP by 30 s. VEP amplitude was significantly reduced at 5 to 10 s after cervical dislocation and at 10 to 15 s after decapitation but not after either KCl or 70% PPV-CO2 administration. The data demonstrate that 100% PPV-CO2, decapitation, and cervical dislocation lead to rapid disruption of cortical function as measured by 2 different methods. In comparison, 70% PPV-CO2 and cardiac arrest due to intracardiac KCl injection had less rapid effects on cortical function. Copyright 2007 by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science.