One of the most important aspects of quality in our industry is performing injections properly. Veterinarians Mark Hilton and Mike Apley offer these basic guidelines:

Foremost, adequate restraint is a basic requirement. Every effort should be made to have the animal still when administering an injection.

Needle movement during intramuscular (IM) injections increases muscle damage, and could cause a significant portion of the injection to be deposited subcutaneously (SC). Movement during SC injections may lead to a significant portion of the injection ending up IM.

In either case, the result is a product in a different site than intended. This may affect efficacy and, in some cases, contribute to an altered withdrawal time.

The SC "ented technique,"where the skin is pinched and raised with one hand while injecting parallel to the hide with the other hand, should only be used when the animal is restrained in a squeeze chute or otherwise completely immobile.

For IM injections, the best way to learn the boundaries of the injection site triangle in the neck is to ask for an anatomy lesson from your veterinarian (especially during a necropsy) or attend an injection site demonstration.

If you’re giving IM neck injections in front of the head gate, you’re likely giving injections too far forward in the neck. Consider SC-labeled products whenever possible.

Separation between injection sites is as important as site selection. Moving the needle only an inch or two between sites essentially creates one big site. Moving a hands-breadth away for the next site is a good rule to follow.