Giving your animals innoculations – part 1

An injection is the best method of administering certain medicines and vaccine. But when it’s not given properly, an injection can do more harm than good.

Some medicines and vaccine can only be given to animals by an injection. But you must know what you’re doing, otherwise you can hurt the animal. Sometimes, poorly injected products won’t work. Call your vet or animal-health technician to help you inject your animals. But in an emergency, you might have to give injections yourself.The first step to giving an injection is to read the label. Manufacturers try to provide safe products that will treat an illness effectively, provided they’re stored and used according to the directions on the label or the document that comes with the medicine. Before licensing a product, research is done to determine the best injection site and dosage for treating a particular condition in a particular species and class of animal.

This information will be found on the label.

On labels, expect to find:
The product name, the active ingredient, and the concentration of the medicine (what it’s made of and how strong it is). The expiry date – the date past which the unopened product shouldn’t be used. The lot number – a record of the manufacturer’s production batch. Warnings and hazards to human health and safety associated with handling the product, and any restrictions on use, for example: “Do not use on lactating cattle”.The withdrawal time – the recommended time between the last treatment and the slaughter of the animal for food, or sale of milk.The species, class of livestock and the diseases the product is aimed at.Dosage directions – how much medicine must be given, how often and for how long.

Administration directions – how the medicine must be given. Can it be given through the mouth, or injected?

Three kinds of injections:
Intramuscular injections (IM) are delivered to the muscles. In people, this injection is given in the buttocks.

A subcutaneous injection (SQ) is delivered under the skin. An intravenous injection needs to be inserted into a vein, so the medicine can go straight into the bloodstream.Always remember to read the label and the package insert. There will be scientific information only a chemist or vet can understand, but the really important information that you need to know should be fairly easy to follow.Take your time, make sure you understand the instructions, and then follow them. If you have any doubts, always ask your vet for help. Source: Giving Medication to Animals by Injection, by Dr Ann Godkin of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.     |fw