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IM injections, preferred location?

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  • IM injections, preferred location?

    I have always used the horse's neck for IM injections. Recently a friend suggested injecting in one of the large muscles (pectoral?) on the chest. Her reason was that if you ended up with an abscess it would drain much more easily than on the neck.

    What is your preferred site and why?

  • #2
    Hamstring. Easy landmarks, good drainage, and horses (IME) very rarely get stiff or sore when injected there. I leave the neck for vets, who understandably like to avoid the back end of the horse when they can.
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    • #3
      I prefer neck or pec. I've met a few horses who reacted quite strongly to needles in their butt luckily, I don't have to give injections frequently! (Knock on wood)
      Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
      White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

      Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


      • #4
        Neck, sometimes pec.

        Haven't even attempted hamstring again after trying it on Blush, who kicked quite violently until the needle fell out on it's own. I was thankfully able to get the hell out of the way and didn't get nailed. Really not a fun experience, though, for anyone involved.


        • #5
          What do you mean by preferred? I think the best location is the pecs, but I'm so used to giving it in the neck that it's easier for me. Pecs drain much better. Even if you see a swelling, the horse is comfortable. You might not see a swelling on the neck, but the horse feels it. My vet, chiro and trainer all tell me to use pecs, though I still occasionally use neck
          Last edited by Jeito; Apr. 29, 2013, 11:41 AM.


          • #6
            What landmarks do you use DW? Having trouble finding a lot of picture examples. I did read this recently and thought it was interesting:


            Made me want to switch from neck to hamstring...


            • #7
              The cartoon on your link shows the spot very nicely. I use the "belly" of the hamstring muscle, making sure I'm well below the point of the buttock but well above where the muscle fans out into tendon. I avoid, laterally, the big "groove" that marks roughly where the sciatic nerve lies.

              This is a drawing I found. I basically try to stay in the middle of this muscle (the semitendinosus), keeping close to or within a few cm above the widest part shown.
              Attached Files
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              • #8
                I'm a little gun shy because I believe I managed to hit the sciatic nerve once giving an Adequan injection...I managed to wake up my extremely sedated horse and he kicked out so quickly it wasn't even funny. The vet told me I had "extremely good aim."



                • #9
                  One of the reasons I prefer short needles!
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                  • #10
                    DW can you show me where you do/how you do your gluteal next time I see you? My injection is a suspension so I've been using 18 gauge (I think they are 1.5") needles because anything smaller clogs. I've been doing neck because I am chicken about the sciatic but I am tired of making her neck sore! I think she is too. Guess it's time to find out if she'll kick me Life has been way too carefree lately!


                    • #11
                      NOT gluteal. Hamstring. And of course--happy to show you. I'd let you practice on Bonnie but she's "drug free" for breeding. But you can give Boscoe one.
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                      • #12
                        I don't give my own shots, but I prefer my vet to give shots in the hamstring.

                        I just had spring shots done on Saturday, and my mare is extremely tense with the vet. We didn't do her teeth this round, so she was not sedated for any reason. He gave her vaccinations in the neck (said he avoids the back end unless they are sedated, which makes sense) and my poor mare is so incredibly sore in her neck that I have to hold her grain dish up at chest level for her to eat (still as of this morning) and she won't even let me touch her neck. She tenses up so bad not beind sedated, that I'm sure this doesn't help her cause any.

                        Last year she was sedated to have her teeth done, and so he administered the vaccinations in the hamstring. She was never sore.

                        Next year, whether she "needs" sedation or not, I'm going to ask him to give her a small dose to take the edge off and to vaccinate in the hamstring. She's too incredibly sensitive to keep putting her through this every year. Its worth it, IMO, to take the edge off a little bit so she cna get her shots in the hind end and not be so sore.
                        "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                        • Original Poster

                          This has been very educational. I have always thought that the neck was the only place to inject as it seems to be the vet's preferred site.

                          I am about to start Adequan injections. Last year I alternated on each side of the neck without problems but I think this year I will use one of the other sites indicated in the article provided by a poster. I think I will prod, probe and prick all the other sites mentioned and see what he likes best. He is a sensitive TB but usually co-operative to work around.

                          Thanks everyone. It is amazing how much we can learn from the Internet. How did we ever manage without it.


                          • #14
                            I think a lot of people are taught the neck as it is safest location for them to be standing. I use the chest for any animal that reacts to vaccines - a sore neck can make it difficult for the horse to eat and drink unless you raise every thing up. Have had a horse jump forward over top of me though. Have used the semi muscle, but as someone mentioned it can definently put you in the line of fire. For kickers, if you are tall and the injection volume is small, you can use the muscle at the top of hindquarter (sort of half way between the hip and the point of the buttock), stand on the opposite side then you are injecting and reach across - they will most likely kick with the leg on the side you are injecting and not the side you are standing. It would be a bad location if you did get an abcess, so not commonly used, the last time I saw it used was with a badly spoilt mare for her tetanus, every time the vet got near her neck she leapt, struck out, kicked, bascially had a total temper tantrum. So he just pivoted around and stuck it in her butt (small mare and very tall vet), she was stunned and had zero response.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sherian View Post
                              ...a sore neck can make it difficult for the horse to eat and drink unless you raise every thing up...
                              This is what's happened to my mare right now actually...shots were given on Saturday morning, she won't reach to ground level to eat her grain, although she is drinking from the water tub which is equivalent to about a foot off the ground (I've watched her drink several times from it actually) and her hay nets are at about chest level when they are hung so no problems there, but she will NOT reach to ground level to eat out of her grain dish for breakfast and dinner. I have to hold it up for her to eat it from chest level.
                              "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


                              • #16
                                I've always done the neck, never had any problems.
                                My vet does in the neck as well, my mare always gets a small lump when he does injections but never seems to bother her and its gone the next day.
                                The other vet that comes to the barn does them in the pecs and almost every horse was swollen and sore for a couple days after some longer.
                                The neck works for me so that's what I'll keep doing


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                  Hamstring. Easy landmarks, good drainage, and horses (IME) very rarely get stiff or sore when injected there. I leave the neck for vets, who understandably like to avoid the back end of the horse when they can.
                                  I actually know vets who don't recommend IM injections in the semimembranosus/semitendinosus due to the extremely thick fascia covering those muscles and their neighbors (biceps femoris, etc) in the horse. The thick fascia makes a highway for infections to travel deeper into the limb should they occur. Plus you have the danger of getting kicked, and the danger of hitting the sciatic nerve.

                                  IMO, neck and pecs are my first stops. The only time I've done the semimem/ten is when I was giving penicillin injections and ran out of places in the front end.


                                  • #18
                                    99% all IM are given in the neck. There is really no reason not to unless directed by a vet because of the type of meds being given and or the needle being used. When giving mutable injections at one time, ie vaccinations divide between sides. Horses that are on a treatment program requiring daily/multiple injections the vet should advise on how to go about it so as not to make the horse uncomfortable injecting in the same locations.
                                    One should always “draw back” to check for blood and to make sure in the very slim chance that the needle has not stopped/landed in a capillary. Not doing so can/will cause an infection. We have a large population and have never had one come up with an infection. We have vets in an out all the time. Have never seen one give an IM anywhere other then the neck nor have been told otherwise. Except in special cases. Of course there is always the odd horse.
                                    I always give Adequan in the neck. Though there is a school of thought the butt is better because Adequan is usually being given for back and hind end issues and therefore gets to the “source” faster/better. Not sure if there is any science to back this up.
                                    This is not based on my opinion but on many, many years of experience and working with many different vets over the years. When in doubt ask your vet.
                                    To each their own.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by gumtree View Post
                                      One should always “draw back” to check for blood and to make sure in the very slim chance that the needle has not stopped/landed in a capillary. Not doing so can/will cause an infection.
                                      An infection? What?

                                      One should draw back and check for blood to ensure that the entire dose delivered actually goes IM instead of some or all going IV. Procaine penicillin, for example, will kill a horse if any of the dose slips into a vein.

                                      But drawing back to check for blood when giving an IM injection has absolutely NOTHING to do with causing an infection. How on earth would that even work?


                                      • #20
                                        Wow, gumtree, that's a whole lot of misinformation in one paragraph.
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