Horsing Around Injections

(Chris) Hello and welcome to Horsing Around. I’m, Dr. Chris Blevins here at the Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center and today we’re going to talk about some things that might make some people kind of uncomfortable and that’s needles. And I know that some people, if you have horses, you have to deal with needles, or somebody has to deal with needles potentially if you’re treating or even just giving vaccines to your horse. So what are some important things to remember or to know about the needles and the horse? There are very common things that are missed by owners while giving vaccines or giving medication. One is the size of the needle. Two is the location. And three, how sharp the needle is also plays an important role. Maybe not on that time, but on the next time you give injections. So starting with location on the horse and where we give those. Most people just go right straight to the neck to give those injections, and it’s a safe area to give injections. Just remember when you do those, making sure you’re above the cervical vertebrae and in front of the slope of the shoulder. Your veterinarian can sure help you with that if you have any questions or concerns about where to give injections in the muscle of the horse. The other area that we can use is the pectoral region, so between the front legs; or in the lower hip of the back leg is another location we can give injections to the horse. Again, if you have any concerns about giving injections or questions, talk to your veterinarian or give us a call at the Vet School. You can even find information on our website at KSU Timely Topics if you search it. The other thing would be the aspect of needle size. Just because you think a smaller needle makes it so a horse doesn’t necessarily feel it, that may be true, however we also have to worry about the size and the gauge of the needle if it would break off in the muscle of the horse. And so the safety of those sizes of needles is also very important. Most injections need to be deep IM, so they need to be an inch and a half in length and usually an 18, 19 or 20 gauge would be the smallest gauge we’d want to use as far as size of needle, when giving IM injections. Third is making sure that the needle is sharp. Because if a needle is not sharp, and its burred meaning that all it takes for a needle to be burred would be if it goes into a rubber stopper, or if its already been injected some where else, that can cause a horse to react and feel the needle more. Most horses don’t really feel a sharp needle, so using a clean, sharp needle every time is important for the horse not to react but also for sanitary reasons and so you’re not cross contaminating anything between one horse or the other when giving medications to your horse. Now whenever we talk about the safety of injections, different medications, and your veterinarian prescribing different things, don’t ever hesitate to ask him questions if you’re not quite familiar with giving them, or you have never given vaccines or injections before. Have your veterinarian demonstrate the first one for you if you’re ever concerned or not knowing exactly what you’re doing with that when prescribed. Again, all those things are very important when you’re injecting your horse with IM injections, whether vaccines or medications, and hopefully if you have any other questions give us a call here at the Vet School. I’m Dr. Chris Blevins at the Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center for Horsing Around. We’ll see you around.

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