A livestock prod is typically cylindrical, and can carry an open electric current at the "shock end" when activated. The electric current at the shock end runs through two metal electrodes. Anything which touches the electric current receives a high-voltage low-current shock, not strong enough to kill a human or a large animal such as a cow or sheep from short-term exposure, but it is enough to cause significant pain.
The livestock prod was originally created to apply a painful shock to cattle, and thus "prod" them along; the pain stimulates movement. Some higher-voltage hotshots can interfere with radio and CB radio reception when activated.
There are various designs of livestock prods. Their shape is often subject to guidelines of what can easily be used and handled. They range in length from 6 inches (usually of a more encased rectangular prism design like a taser), to this one which is two feet long. This high performance prod handling tool delivers a shock to help direct animals. This animal prod is effective on all types of animals.