Giving your animals inoculations – part 4

When injecting your animals, always consult a vet if you don’t know what you’re doing. This week, we look at the consequences of badly administered injections and the importance of keeping records.

While there may be times when you’re forced to inject your animals on your own, it’s extremely important to always consult a vet or animal-health technician. If you have to give the injection yourself, make sure you’ve read and understood the instructions that come with the medicine. Only proceed if you know how to give an injection properly.

Consider what might happen if you inject incorrectly:
The treatment might fail if the animal doesn’t absorb the medicine. If the medicine isn’t absorbed and metabolised, medicine residue can be found in the animal’s meat or milk. The “left over” medicine can affect the taste of the milk or meat, or even make these products harmful to consumers.

If the medicine accidentally enters the animal’s bloodstream, the animal could die. If you struggle to inject the animal, you might hurt it, leading to nerve damage that could cripple the animal. Also, a poor injection could scar the animal or cause abscesses, and needles can break. This might result in a large portion of meat being trimmed off at slaughter. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re also more likely to inject yourself as the animal struggles!

The importance of record keeping:
All treatments given to food animals should be recorded to ensure you meet the withdrawal time requirements, and improve treatment decisions and success. Keep permanent written records of treatments administered to individuals or groups of animals. Record the animal’s identification, date(s) of treatment, product name, amount given, where on the body the injection was given, and the time when meat or milk will be ready for sale.

Get written instructions when buying medications, especially if your vet recommends that you use the product in a different way than that stated by the label instructions. Save the box tops or labels of products used. This provides a list of product names, lot numbers and expiry dates. Record the date of use on the box top or label to keep track of when you used a particular product. For good reference, keep the package inserts for commonly used products in a safe place.

Source: Giving Medication to Animals by Injection, by Dr Ann Godkin of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.