How to Draw Blood from a Goat

A veterinarian will come out to your farm to do most kinds of tests on your goats. But you can be more sustainable and save money by drawing blood from your goats and sending the samples directly to a lab. Ask your veterinarian or another breeder who is comfortable with drawing blood to show you how they do it.

Your veterinarian or another breeder can also help you find out where to send samples from your area and how to ship. To get an idea of shipping requirements, see the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL).

To draw blood, you need a helper to hold the goat, as well as the following supplies:

  • Alcohol prep wipes

  • 3 ml syringes with 3/4-inch 20-gauge needles, one for each goat

  • Vacutainer tubes (from a veterinary supply store or vet)

    The color of the container top varies according to the type of test to be done. Make sure you have the correct tubes.

  • Clippers, if you need to shave the area

  • Paper, pen, and permanent marker

Here's how to draw blood for testing:

  1. Make a list of all goats to be tested, numbering each one.

  2. Label the tube with the name of the goat, the date, and your name or farm name.

  3. Have the helper back the goat into a corner and hold the goat's nose with one hand and around the chest with the other.

  4. Find the jugular vein by pressing on the left side of the goat's throat near the bottom of the neck.

    The vein pops up slightly when you press on it. If you need to, shave the area to more easily locate the vein.

    Feel the vein and insert the needle.
    Feel the vein and insert the needle.
  5. Remove the needle cap and insert the needle upward into the skin and vein at an angle nearly parallel to the vein.

    Be careful not to the push the needle through the vein.

  6. Gently pull back on the plunger.

    If blood does not enter the syringe, remove the need and start over.

  7. If you see blood in the syringe, continue pulling the plunger until you have 3 cc.

  8. Remove the needle, replace the cap, and put pressure on the goat's neck for 30 seconds.

  9. Remove the needle cap, insert the needle into the goat's labeled tube and inject the blood.

When you have finished drawing blood from your goats, refrigerate the samples or prepare them for delivery to the lab or veterinary office.

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