B273
Giving Injections


It is recommended that most injections be administered by the local veterinarian. This is because the veterinarian can ensure that proper administration techniques are followed. However, if individual situations require that the injection be given at home, the following information and general suggestions are a must:

The two most common routes to administer injections are subcutaneous (SQ) and intramuscular (IM). A few vaccines and injections are given intranasal (IN) and intravenous (IV). Giving injections by the improper route can result in product failure and may result in local or generalized reactions.

Subcutaneous (SQ or SC)

A 1 inch needle of 22-25 gauge diameter is the best size of needle to use. The loose skin on the top of the neck is a good location for SQ injections. However, because of potential complications, feline leukemia and most rabies vaccines should never be given between the shoulder blades (interscapular space). Substances injected SQ are not picked up by the blood supply as quickly as they are if given IM (see figures 1 & 2 below).

Intramuscular (IM)

Drugs given IM are picked up by the blood supply and spread very rapidly to all tissues of the body. A needle 1 inch in length and 20-22 gauge in diameter is recommended for giving IM injections. The best location to give injections is in the heavy muscles of the leg. To avoid accidental intravenous (IV) administration, pull the plunger back and make sure no blood appears in the syringe. If blood appears, pull the needle completely out and re-insert the needle in a new site.

Intranasal (IN)

Intranasal vaccines are packaged with special applicators that aid in administering the vaccine. With the head tilted upwards, restrain the animal and squirt the contents quickly into the nasal passages. The animal may sneeze, but this does not reduce the effectiveness of the vaccination. Never inject an intranasal product into muscle or under skin. See figure 3 below.

Intravenous (IV)

These IV injections should be reserved for the trained professional.

*See the following figures for the exact locations for giving injections.

Figure 1
When giving a subcutaneous injection, the loose skin on a hind limb or back should be used. The skin should be raised with one hand, while the injection is given with the other. Subcutaneous injections should be given just under the skin, but not in the muscle. Care should be taken to ensure the injection is not given in a blood vessel. To avoid accidental intravenous (IV) administration, pull the plunger back and make sure no blood appears in the syringe. If blood appears, pull the needle completely out and re-insert the needle in a new site. A video of this procedure can be found below.

 

Figure 2
Because of potential complications, feline leukemia and most rabies vaccines should never be given along the spine or between the shoulder blades (interscapular space - the area outlined by the white circle and line). These injections are best given on the limbs.

 

Figure 3
When giving an intranasal (IN) injection, gently raise the animalís head and quickly squirt the entire contents of the vaccine into the nostrils.

Note: Always use the plastic applicator tip that is provided with the vaccine and never use a needle. These intranasal products should NEVER be injected into muscle or under skin.

 

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