This infomation is intended for clients that are comfortable and willing to administer intramuscular injections and have horses that are relatively well-behaved during this process. It is only recommended to give injections under the advice of a veterinarian. If you are unsure or your horse is needle-shy, you and the vet will need to develop an appropriate plan.
Administering any type of medication to a horse by any route requires thought and attention. Intramuscular (“IM”) injections are no exception. IM injections are very safe if done properly. IM injection performed improperly can lead to serious complications. Below are some suggestions for giving a safe IM injection.
Sterility is paramount in handling a needle, syringe, the bottle containing the medication, and the injection site.
Drawing up the medication
After wiping the rubber top of the medication bottle with an alcohol swab
Attach the covered needle to the syringe, remove the needle cap and fill the syringe with air. Then insert the needle into the bottle. While tilting the bottle upside down, inject air into it to produce some back pressure, then slowly withdraw the solution into the syringe. Fill the syringe with a few more ml than required. Then inject that small extra fluid amount back into the bottle with any obvious air bubbles. Now you have the prescribed amount of medication in the syringe. This is all accomplished with the initial single needle stick into the inverted bottle. Withdraw the needle from the bottle. Carefully recap the needle.
Injecting the Horse
Have the horse stand in a location where it would not hurt itself or you or damage equipment if a problem should arise. Have another person hold the horse with a sturdy halter and rope. The horse should be held and observed for 2 minutes after the injection for any signs of an unfavorable reaction.
There are several spots horses can be given an intramuscular injection. The most common sites are the neck muscles, pectoral muscles and rump muscles.