How to give your horse intramuscular injections
- Only give drugs as directed by your vet
- If you are having trouble giving the drug as directed, please give your vet a call to discuss alternatives
- Collect used needles in a safe place and return them to us for proper disposal
- Make sure you have the horse well restrained in a safe area and that you have a reliable assistant to hold the horse for you
If your horse needs a long course of antibiotics, it is important to rotate the sites at which the injections are given. There are 3 main injection sites and 2 sides of the horse, so you have 6 sites to choose from. If you are giving twice daily injections, it is easy to remember “right at night” to avoid confusion.
Neck – a hands-breadth in front of the shoulder and halfway between the top and bottom of the neck.
Rump – find the 3 bony points shown in the picture and draw a triangle between them, then head for the middle of the triangle. Make sure you stand in front of the hind legs where the horse can’t kick you – it sometimes helps to hold a handful of mane with one hand while you put the needle in with the other hand – that way if the horse moves so will you.
Pectoral muscles – between the horse’s front legs. The pectoral muscles are smaller, so it may be best to split the dose half and half between the 2 sides.
- Use a fresh sterile needle for each injection
- Draw the dose of drug up into the syringe and expel any air (tiny bubbles are normal and will not be harmful)
- Brush any dirt away from the injection area making sure you have a clean dry place to inject
- Push the needle boldly through the skin right up to the hub. On the neck, it helps to pinch a fold of skin and slide the needle in behind it. The needle should be directed perpendicular to the skin surface
- Check that no blood comes through the needle. If it does, you need to remove the needle and try again in a slightly different spot
- Attach the syringe, drawback and check for blood again, and then slowly inject. When you have injected the full volume, remove both needle and syringe together
If you have any problems or questions about giving your horse an intramuscular injection, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.