Giving Injections to Animals

Whether to a pet or livestock, Kansas State University veterinarian Randy Kidd says giving injections to animals isn’t as difficult as you might have thought.

| September/October 1978

If you hate, detest, or just plain fear being on the receiving end of THE NEEDLE as much as I do, you'll probably be surprised to learn that giving injections to livestock is a fairly simple process. In fact, when dealing with birds or animals that can be easily restrained, injections are often the simplest and best way to administer most kinds of medication. Furthermore, if the job is done properly, the beasts hardly seem to mind at all ... at least they don't carry on the way I do when I'm on the receiving end of the procedure.

Know What You’re Doing

On the other hand—easy or not—jabbing a foreign substance into any living creature is a serious act. As well as a potentially dangerous one (incorrect medication, administered incompetently, can kill an animal far more quickly than will most diseases).

Before attempting to give any sick bird or animal any kind of medical injection, then, make sure you know what you're doing and that you have correctly diagnosed the ailment you're trying to treat. And if you have any doubts on either of these scores (that you know what you're doing or that your diagnosis is correct), consult your vet and be ready to pay for his good advice before you proceed any further.

Then and only then, obtain the recommended medication and read its label ... SEVERAL TIMES. It's an interesting thing about labels: They usually contain information on dosages and correct administration—almost everything, in fact, that you need to know about a drug, vaccine, etc.—which, if followed, will keep you from misusing the products they describe.

Once again, then, please remember that the science of medicine is not an area of human activity that often forgives sloppiness in any form. And that goes double for the specific practices of medicine discussed in this article: Even the correct medicine wrongly injected can be fatal. Make sure you know exactly what you're doing before you fill that first syringe or touch that first needle to skin.

Buy the Proper Equipment

Your local Yellow Pages probably lists one or more veterinary supply houses. Most all of the equipment you'll need will be available from one of these sources. Just know what you're after before you go in to make a purchase and you'll have no reason to feel "out of place" while you're there.

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