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View Full Version : Who does their own IV shots?



ilaria
Oct. 31, 2008, 02:31 PM
I am starting my 13 y/o gelding on Legend. How many of you do the IV shot yourself?
Is it worth it to have the vet administer once month, or to have them teach you?
I am a whiz at the monthly Adequan injections, but IV is a whole other story.
Where are the best places to find veins?
Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Laurierace
Oct. 31, 2008, 03:02 PM
If you have to ask where the vein is, you obviously aren't ready to do IV shots. Ask your vet to show you and then attempt to teach you. I have done probably 10,000 IV shots over the years without any problems but I did have a good teacher.

Blinkers On
Oct. 31, 2008, 03:27 PM
Holy sh*t! What Laurie said! Please don't take a blind stab at something you don't know! Even vets can "miss" the jug from time to time. I'd hate to hear that someone caused damage to their horse because they wanted to save a fee.
I do some of my own, though it is frowned upon. I hit the pipe with accuracy. I am pretty sure I saw it a zillion times before I tried it.
I have had 2 fillies. one needed tranq/dantrium daily and I would used ace injectable, and the other a bad bleeder that worked early early in the am and the vets never wanted to be there before 4am. So they would give me a syringe of lasix. On this filly I couldn't get the vein, so I ended up giving it IM. And took extra time getting to her for her work.
Please don't mess around with getting it in the pipe. Let the professionals do it.

ilaria
Oct. 31, 2008, 03:29 PM
I know the vein is under the neck. What I was asking is what other veins do people use. I guess I wasn't clear. I am planning to have the vet show me the how to do it the first time. I would never go poking around in my horse with a needle. I wanted to know if people who can do it, regularly do, or if they have the vet come out for them. I understand that any IV shot can cause anaphylaxis, and I am trying to assess if the risk is worth the savings of not paying a farm call once a month for a routine injection of Legend.

Laurierace
Oct. 31, 2008, 04:04 PM
The juglar vein is the only one used for IV injections in horses.

hedmbl
Oct. 31, 2008, 04:12 PM
The jugular is the only vein used.
I do my own and have for years. But as others have said I would have your vet do the Legend for you for a while. Try to be there during the appts so he/she can teach you and supervise for a while before trying solo (my vet taught me how to find/hit the vein by first having me draw blood instead of risking an injection...I was pretty young). Lots can go wrong (Artery hit, blown vein, missed vein, etc) Art hits are terrifying and very dangerous....it's very easy for a novice to hit the artery instead of the vein and not realize until it's too late. I've never had a problem in the countless times I've done IV shots but I've seen two artery hits with different drugs in the past. Both collapsed instantly and one very nearly died...not good.

poopoo
Oct. 31, 2008, 04:21 PM
Personally, I would not worry about anaphylactic reactions with Legend - it's just HA, right? I do all my own IV. I think it's pretty easy to learn, and some day you may need to be able to do it in a pinch. IV Bute is one you don't want to get outside the vein as it will damage the tissue in the surrounding area. I'd get the vet to show you. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to learn how, and if you hit an artery - you will know because it will spurt out and will be bright red. You must know that you will get holy hell on this BB asking if you should learn how to give IV shots...... right????? Only special people can learn that!
P.S. The artery lies closely behing the Jugular in the bottom part of the neck. I always go at least 2/3 of the way up the neck.

hedmbl
Oct. 31, 2008, 04:41 PM
Personally, I would not worry about anaphylactic reactions with Legend - it's just HA, right? I do all my own IV. I think it's pretty easy to learn, and some day you may need to be able to do it in a pinch. IV Bute is one you don't want to get outside the vein as it will damage the tissue in the surrounding area. I'd get the vet to show you. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to learn how, and if you hit an artery - you will know because it will spurt out and will be bright red. You must know that you will get holy hell on this BB asking if you should learn how to give IV shots...... right????? Only special people can learn that!
P.S. The artery lies closely behing the Jugular in the bottom part of the neck. I always go at least 2/3 of the way up the neck.

No one said it was brain surgery. I was 12 when I learned how to do it. I think we just responded the way we did b/c the OP sounded quite misinformed. I think everyone just suggested she have a vet there the first few times. I don't think that's unreasonable advice.

Blinkers On
Oct. 31, 2008, 04:48 PM
Sigh. Please have the vet show you and then guide you through the process. For me it's a bleeding out under the skin causing a HUGe "bubble" of blood. IV shots are nothing to mess with.

pupakin
Oct. 31, 2008, 04:48 PM
I think every horse owner sould be capable of giving an IV shot to thier horses. Have the vet show you how to administer the first time or two.

ilaria
Oct. 31, 2008, 04:49 PM
thanks everyone!
i will stick with the vet.

Laurierace
Oct. 31, 2008, 08:55 PM
I don't think you need to stick with the vet. Ask the vet to teach you how to do them and then make sure you know what you are doing. Legend is insanely expensive, add in a vet call and you could practically buy a new horse for what you are spending. If I had it to do over again, I would learn how to give IV shots by placing the needle itself DOWN in the vein and then attaching the syringe. I didn't learn that way and after all these years am very set in my ways, but it may be time to teach an old dog new tricks as that method seriously reduces your chances of problems to almost zero. Practice drawing blood, even if you just shoot it right back in until you are positive you have the feel for it. Then buy some syringes and a bottle of banamine. It will no doubt save a life someday.

Rhyadawn
Oct. 31, 2008, 09:17 PM
Ask your vet to teach you. Develop a feel for what the vein should feel like. See if you can find it somewhere else (not an injection site, just for fun), can you trace it? follow it?

I've been specifically shown at least a hundred times, watched thousands of times. I have a fantastic sense of touch and I still don't like doing IV. I can do it, but if I don't have to I don't like to.

I know it might seem senseless to have a vet call once a month to administer a drug that you can give yourself, but that prebooked call may save you an emergency call in the middle of the night on a holiday weekend.

Milocalwinnings
Oct. 31, 2008, 09:28 PM
I was trained by my vet to give IV shots, and have had to do it on a few occasions- including one emergency with my mare. I hate giving them though because of the risk and I only give them to my own when absolutly necessary- I'd never do it on other people's horses... too much risk involved.

deltawave
Oct. 31, 2008, 09:33 PM
They're a whale of a lot easier in horses than in people. :) I'm very comfortable doing IV shots. Have always done jugular--just not worth going elsewhere, although the giant vein inside the hindleg has always tempted me. . . just too much potential for violent objection back there!

AKB
Oct. 31, 2008, 10:04 PM
Butterfly infusion sets can make doing IV injections easier. KV vet carries them for something like 65 cents per butterfly needle. If the horse moves, the butterfly usually doesn't come out. The needle is so small that it is hard to go too deeply. It is also easy to make sure you are still in the vein, as you see the blood go into the tubing when you pull back on the syringe plunger. If you go into an artery, it should be easier to see that the blood is brighter red, and that it comes down the tubing with more force.

I had the vet teach me how to do IV injections. Then, I practiced drawing blood before I gave any injections. IVs are not hard to do, but there is a slight risk, particularly if you are not completely comfortable with medications and assessing for reactions. There are situations when it is very good to be able to give IV injections. I would not recommend that a horse person learn how to do IV injections unless he or she is very comfortable with horses, knowledgeable about medications, and unless you have a vet who will tell you exactly what you need to do to decrease the risk of problems (e.g., not giving caustic medications like bute that will make the skin peel off if you miss the vein).

flyracing
Nov. 1, 2008, 12:32 AM
Don't be discourage! Learning to administer IV medications for you horse could be potentially life saving someday. You will probably struggle a bit since giving a shot only once a month doesn't allow for a lot of practice, but always ask your vet if you can pull the blood for the coggins (they still need to be there, its just for the practice) or any other chances to practice.

If your just giving legend, there is practically zero risk associated with giving this drug in the vein. As long as everything is kept sterile the biggest risk is missing the vein and waisting the shot. To make sure you stay in the vein for the whole dose pull back a little bit at the start and in the middle and again at the end for more practice and feel. When your really good, you probably won't check mid shot, but is very good for a begginner to do. And remember only pull back enough to see you're clearly in the vein or the syringe will have too much blood in it and you would be able to do a 2nd check:)

shakeytails
Nov. 1, 2008, 01:26 AM
If you have a cool vet, he won't mind teaching you. It's really not that hard. I'll give my own horses IV shots if I have to, but I'm not very experienced at it and avoid it if possible. IM shots or Sub-Q(for the dogs) I don't even think twice about.

Simkie
Nov. 1, 2008, 01:34 AM
I give my own. My vet showed me once, walked me through it, and now I give my horse Legend monthly in addition to whatever else she needs. She's quite complicated, so I do get more practice than your average owner. It's an incredibly useful thing to be comfortable with and I'm honestly surprised with how many people don't know how to go IV.

flyingchange
Nov. 1, 2008, 09:57 AM
Yes I give my own. Agree with others that it is an invaluable skill to have in that it just might save a life someday. I have too many horses here that I am responsible for to have to call and depend on a vet if one of them needs banamine. And IV is much more fast-acting than paste.

The vet that taught me recommended using 1/2 inch needles - they decrease the risk of hitting the artery. So they are what I normally use.

Agree with the method of hitting the vein from above instead of below. I was also not taught this way but I have seen it done and it was explained that it does reduce chances of problems significantly.

Also, if you just inject the needle first without the syringe - it is good to do this. If blood comes spurting out - you are in an artery. Not what you want. You want blood to just sort of slowly drip out - you are in the vein.

grayarabpony
Nov. 1, 2008, 10:00 AM
One of the most critical things to be aware of is not to go through the juglar vein to the carotid artery.

Dalemma
Nov. 1, 2008, 10:34 AM
I think you should take a lesson from your vet as your description of where the vein is not entirely correct......it is not "UNDERNEATH THE NECK" but runs along the side of the neck in what they call the jugular grove, it runs almost the entire length of the neck but most people use the middle third for injections....kinda depends on the horse.....if you place your thumb across the jugular grove you can watch the vein fill.

I take blood but do not do IV's as my vet frowns upon clients doing their own IV's.

Dalemma

eqrider1234
Nov. 1, 2008, 10:49 AM
if one hits the artery what do they do??

grayarabpony
Nov. 1, 2008, 10:55 AM
The horse can crash like a hammer. I heard about this from a woman who worked at a vet's office (my vet, actually); she was getting her mare checked out for breeding and whoever injected the sedative accidently went through the juglar into the carotid. The mare went down instantly. The mare lived but it frightened the owner so badly that I don't know if she ever did breed her mare.

Sanity Rules
Nov. 1, 2008, 11:05 AM
Butterfly infusion sets can make doing IV injections easier. KV vet carries them for something like 65 cents per butterfly needle. If the horse moves, the butterfly usually doesn't come out. The needle is so small that it is hard to go too deeply. It is also easy to make sure you are still in the vein, as you see the blood go into the tubing when you pull back on the syringe plunger. If you go into an artery, it should be easier to see that the blood is brighter red, and that it comes down the tubing with more force.


Wonderful idea! :) Never thought of it ... and I'm familiar with butterfly needles 'cause that's what they have to use on me most of the time. Thanks for passing it on.

Ghazzu
Nov. 1, 2008, 11:17 AM
if one hits the artery what do they do??

If you're using proper technique--removing the needle from the syringe and inserting it downwards (towards the heart), you'll have found that out before you inject.
Remove the needle and apply firm pressure.

poopoo
Nov. 1, 2008, 11:59 AM
If you're using proper technique--removing the needle from the syringe and inserting it downwards (towards the heart), you'll have found that out before you inject.

What? I'm not getting a visual on this. I have never seen a vet give an IV injection in the jugular vein with needle and syringe in the downward, pointing towards the heart, position? It's always been stuck upwards, going up the neck, against the bloodflow in the vein.??????

hedmbl
Nov. 1, 2008, 02:17 PM
What? I'm not getting a visual on this. I have never seen a vet give an IV injection in the jugular vein with needle and syringe in the downward, pointing towards the heart, position? It's always been stuck upwards, going up the neck, against the bloodflow in the vein.??????

This is how they teach you in vet school. Same way as placing a catheter. They have you remove the needle from the syringe so you can see the blood drip instead of spurt/stream. Harder to hit the artery this way. When I do my own horses I direct upward and don't detach the needle...same as the vet you've seen (technically incorrect but I've been doing it long enough I can feel/see the difference...I've never hit an artery or blown a vein yet) but at work I have to do it this way as per regulations (I work at the teaching hospital) it's alot harder/clumsier for me but not my call and have to follow regulations.

flypony74
Nov. 1, 2008, 02:32 PM
The horse can crash like a hammer. I heard about this from a woman who worked at a vet's office (my vet, actually); she was getting her mare checked out for breeding and whoever injected the sedative accidently went through the juglar into the carotid. The mare went down instantly. The mare lived but it frightened the owner so badly that I don't know if she ever did breed her mare.

I saw this happen a few months ago at a barn I was visiting. The trainer had administered an IV antibiotic, obviously hit the carotid, and the horse crashed almost instantly. It was scary as hell. The mare was fine but it was a good lesson on not taking IV lightly.

IV isn't difficult if you practice with your vet until you are proficient. Having your vet show you once or twice isn't enough.

Ghazzu
Nov. 1, 2008, 03:36 PM
This is how they teach you in vet school. Same way as placing a catheter. They have you remove the needle from the syringe so you can see the blood drip instead of spurt/stream. Harder to hit the artery this way. When I do my own horses I direct upward and don't detach the needle...same as the vet you've seen (technically incorrect but I've been doing it long enough I can feel/see the difference...I've never hit an artery or blown a vein yet) but at work I have to do it this way as per regulations (I work at the teaching hospital) it's alot harder/clumsier for me but not my call and have to follow regulations.

I do it "the right way" because
a) I'm teaching veterinary technicians and need to be in the habit of doing things "correctly"

b) if, Allah forbid, one *does* have an adverse reaction, one's insurance carrier is much happier to know that it was done "correctly" as was beaten into one in veterinary school.

horsey nurse
Nov. 1, 2008, 04:15 PM
I am a nurse (human) and have always done my own IV shots. It is not hard to learn, remember (after your vet teaches you) to always insert the needle at a angle (about 30 degrees from the neck) when you do an IV injection that will also help prevent you from sticking the artery. Always draw back on the syringe as well after you do the IV stick. The blood should be darker if you are in the vein.

deltawave
Nov. 1, 2008, 05:49 PM
The blood should be darker if you are in the vein.

Generally true, but depends on what is being injected. Anything with lidocaine in it (say if you're numbing the area before putting in a central line) will turn the blood BRIGHT arterial red, even if you're in the vein.

jennywho
Nov. 1, 2008, 11:16 PM
Please make sure you have a vet show you and you are entirely comfortable before you try to do it on your own.

I worked for a race barn years ago where IV shots were fairly common. There was only myself and the trainer so we were pretty comfortable with giving them. One day I was holding a gelding for his shot and the trainer got into the carotid unknowingly. It killed the horse instantly. It took me 10 years before I could give another shot IV and that was in an emergency situation.

Giving shots is not something to be taken for granted. I have seen my share of anaphylatic reactions (thank goodness for SMZ's we don't use so much penicillin anymore) and they are scary, but accidentally ending a horses life even though I was holding his head and not the syringe, deeply affected me.

Be careful, learn how to do it properly and always, always double check. It is a very valuable skill to have.

Dalemma
Nov. 2, 2008, 09:50 AM
What? I'm not getting a visual on this. I have never seen a vet give an IV injection in the jugular vein with needle and syringe in the downward, pointing towards the heart, position? It's always been stuck upwards, going up the neck, against the bloodflow in the vein.??????

Nope......down is now the preferred method now.......my vet is trying to make the switch. We now have a specialist in our clinic who was trained in England and is the only board certified surgeon in our province and down into the vein is the only method he uses.....it has something to do with the carotid artery....it was explained to me but I did not understand if fully....so can't give you an explanation.

Dalemma

Kyzteke
Nov. 2, 2008, 10:28 AM
I know the vein is under the neck. What I was asking is what other veins do people use. I guess I wasn't clear. I am planning to have the vet show me the how to do it the first time. I would never go poking around in my horse with a needle. I wanted to know if people who can do it, regularly do, or if they have the vet come out for them. I understand that any IV shot can cause anaphylaxis, and I am trying to assess if the risk is worth the savings of not paying a farm call once a month for a routine injection of Legend.

Yes, it's not brain surgery, but you do need to learn in properly. Ask the vet if he/she is willing to help you.

I do most of my horses except the stinkers...I let the vet do them <g>.

But I'm a nurse. Still, I actually learned how to do it when I worked on the race track. If the horse don't dance around alot and is in good health, it's pretty easy to hit the vein -- it's pretty obvious. Not near as hard as hitting people veins (and how those vet techs who hit cat veins do it, I'll never know!). Using a smaller needle (I use people needles -- like a 21 or 22 gauge) helps, as long as the substance isn't real thick.

Just ALWAYS remember to pull back the syringe plunger to make sure you have hit the vein before injecting. And ALWAYS be careful of what you are injecting. Not all meds can go IM and IV.

I would not begin to try to explain the location of the vein, how to access, etc. Have the vet show you and practice on some quiet horses giving shots of normal saline. That's how you learn.

It's just a skill, like any other.

In The Gate
Nov. 2, 2008, 11:25 AM
I'm a vet student, so yes, I do give my own injections. However, contrary to what other posters have suggested I would use a larger gauge needle when you are learning to give injections. The LARGER needle you use (18 or 19ga) the easier it will be to tell if you have hit the jugular or the carotid because with a smaller needle blood tends to drip out slowly regardless of which vessel you are in. With a larger needle, it will be more obvious if you are in the vein (where you should get blood dripping out) or the artery (where blood will be squirting out).

ladipus
Nov. 3, 2008, 08:54 AM
i do all my treatments myself im,iv etc etc but i'm a certified vet tech and have alot of experience-i would have your vet do it for you or have a skilled/knowledgeable barn manager or friend help you-if you've never done it and aren't sure don't risk harming your horse

Kyzteke
Nov. 5, 2008, 01:16 PM
I'm a vet student, so yes, I do give my own injections. However, contrary to what other posters have suggested I would use a larger gauge needle when you are learning to give injections. The LARGER needle you use (18 or 19ga) the easier it will be to tell if you have hit the jugular or the carotid because with a smaller needle blood tends to drip out slowly regardless of which vessel you are in. With a larger needle, it will be more obvious if you are in the vein (where you should get blood dripping out) or the artery (where blood will be squirting out).

This is a good point.

I guess I don't worry so much about hitting anything else, because I go in at the right angle and the needle is so short. If the horse is standing still its not that hard and they resent the small needles less.

But with the horses that romp around trying to stomp on my head, I let the vet do the IV. I do the holding. Then all three of us dance around together....

Eyemadonkee
Nov. 5, 2008, 07:16 PM
My vet taught me... I'm pretty comfortable with it, especially since my horse is very cooperative and patient.