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How to Give Your Goat an Injection

You can have a vet visit or take your goats to a clinic to receive vaccinations or other injections, and many goat owners do this. But to save the money, you can do it yourself. Giving injections is easy after you get over any fear you might have.

It can help to have an experienced person demonstrate the technique before you try it. You can also practice by injecting into an orange — just remember to dispose of your practice needles and syringes. You can get needles and syringes at a feed store, veterinary office, or livestock supply catalog.

Anaphylaxis is a severe, sudden allergic reaction. The faster it occurs, the more severe it is. If a goat unexpectedly collapses or goes into shock after an injection, administer epinephrine immediately. The dose is 0.5–1.0 cc per 100 pounds.

The two most common types of injections are subcutaneous (SQ), which is just under the skin, and intramuscular (IM), which goes into the muscle. Read the instructions that come with the medication you're using to determine what type of injection to give. Most injections that can be given IM also can be given SQ; consult with your veterinarian regarding which injections you need to give IM. Giving subcutaneous injections is a bit easier because you don't have to worry about hitting a blood vessel or vein.

When you're ready to give injections yourself, gather your supplies and bring your goat into an area away from the other goats. Have someone hold the goat and find the site where you will give the injection.

Never use the rear leg as an injection site because you can hit a nerve and make your goat lame.

The best places to give injections are the sides of the neck and
The best places to give injections are the sides of the neck and "armpit" area just behind the front leg.

Gather your supplies:

  • Medication

  • Disposable needle and syringe

  • Alcohol and cotton balls or other wipes

  • Container for sharps (used needles), which you can purchase at a drug store

Before giving the injection, wipe the top of the medicine vial with alcohol to ensure that it's sterile. Then insert the needle into the bottle and withdraw the required dose of medication. Withdraw the needle and tap the syringe and push the injector slightly to push out any bubbles.

To give an SQ injection:

  1. Lift the skin into a tent.

  2. Insert the needle under the skin into the tent, toward the body.

    Make sure that the needle isn't in the skin or muscle, or through the other side of the tent.

  3. Inject the medication and remove the needle.

  4. Discard the needle and syringe into your sharps container.

To give an IM injection:

  1. Insert the needle into the muscle, being careful not to hit bone.

  2. Withdraw the plunger slightly to make sure that you have not hit a vein or vessel.

    If you see blood in the syringe, pull out the needle and start over.

  3. Depress the plunger slowly, and then withdraw the needle.

  4. Rub the injection area gently but firmly to distribute the medication.

  5. Discard the needle and syringe into your sharps container.

Never use the same needle or syringe for different medications or on different goats. Mixing medications can make them less effective or cause an unexpected chemical reaction; sharing needles can spread diseases from one goat to another.

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