Handling drugs safely

Hygiene and product safety 

  • It is preferable to use new syringes and needles. All syringes, needles and guns should be clean.
  • Do not use out-of-date or contaminated product.


  • All prescription animal remedies and needles and syringes should be stored in a secure place, out of the reach of children.
  • Always check the storage instructions on the label.
  • Many injections are stored at room temperature. A lockable cupboard that is dry and cool is suitable for this.
  • Most vaccines have to be refrigerated. If transporting these products, keep them cool in an eski. If an opened container is to be stored for continued use in the near future, tie a knot in the pipe before removing the gun and store in the fridge in an upright position. Check the label for recommendations on storage of opened containers. Note that many drugs have a recommended time limit for usage from when the pack/bottle is punctured.

Back to top


Used syringes and needles and empty packaging should be stored in appropriate disposal units.

Back to top


Always double check dose rates and know the weight of the animals you are treating.

Back to top 


Most injections in food producing animals are given in the anterior (front) half of the neck. This is to prevent downgrading of the more valuable cuts of meat at slaughter. Always ensure the animals you are injecting are clean and dry. This reduces the incidence of abscesses and injection site lesions.

Subcutaneous (under the skin)

Many vaccines are given subcutaneously which means under the skin. When giving subcutaneous injections lift a tent of skin so that you can slide the needle under the skin rather than in the muscle. Short needles will assist in this.

Intramuscular (into the muscle)

Some vaccines and many antibiotics are given directly into the muscle of the anterior half of the neck. Use a needle of at least one inch in length and introduce it straight into the muscle. Always draw back on the syringe before injecting, to ensure you are not injecting into a vein.

Intravenous (into a vein)

Only people competent in the use of intravenous injections should attempt to administer intravenous treatments. Examples are intravenous metabolic solutions in down cows. Always use the jugular vein.

Back to top

Intramammary treatments 

After milking, clean and disinfect the teat with an alcohol wipe, paying particular attention to teat end. Carefully insert the tip of the intramammary tube into the teat canal and express the antibiotic into the quarter. Spray the teat with a licensed test spray.

Back to top

If you have any questions regarding the use of prescription animal remedies call The Vet Group farm services.