Written by Administrator-GL   
Sunday, 27 May 2007


Poke Poke..


The more you understand how to give injections the less you will worry when the time comes you have to give one!
I will try to cover anything you could ever need to know about giving injections so the task is not stressful for you or the goat.

Take a breath, Take you time and relax, it really is not as difficult as you think.

How to Give an Injection to Goats

syringe types

There are 2 basic syringe types; One where the needle screws onto the syringe and the other the needle slips onto the syringe..
I prefer the screw on type called a "Luer Lock" syringe, less chance of the needle coming off while administering medication.


  • Luer-lock, which locks the needle onto the nozzle of the syringe.
  • Slip tip or Luer Slip, which secures the needle by compressing the hub onto the syringe nozzle.

This shows the parts of a Luer Slip Syringe used for giving injections

Parts of a Syringe


This shows the parts of a Luer Lock Syringe used for giving injections

(My Personal Preference) 

Luer Lock Syringe Parts

 Luer Lock Syringe

Luer Lock Syringe Shows Hub Where Needle Screws in

close up of Luer Lock Syringe and needle

Click for detailed view

Luer Slip Syringe

 Luer Slip Syringe Shows Hub where Needle Slips on the Syringe

injection sites
Click on Image to Enlarge

Selection of needles to use for goat injections

Needles for Goat Use shown in Actual Size


Use a larger Gauge needle for thicker medications such as Tylan200, Ivomec and Ivomec Plus, Penicillin, and Nuflor such as a 20gauge needle in a shorter length such as 3/4 or 1/2 inch for easy administration- longer needles can be used but pay attention to the Gauge (thickness)- A smaller Gauge needle can be used for Vitamin B complex, Bo-Se and vaccines such as a 22 Gauge needle also in a 1/2 inch length if possible- No need to use longer than a one inch needle.

I try to use a 3/4 inch or 1/2 inch all the time just changing the gauge of the needle to accomodate the medication viscosity.


Box of Disposable Teat Cannulas

A box of Disposable Teat Cannulas for treating Mastitis in Goats

Teat Cannula and insertion into teat demonstration for mastitis medication application

Teat Cannula and placement diagram

There are different ways to administer injectable medications:

IM - Giving the injection into the large muscle, which allows the medication to absorb into the system reasonably quick.
Sub-Q - Giving the injection into the subcutaneous layer, which allows for slower absorption and tends to have less of a chance for site infection found with some drugs.
IV - Directly into the vein, which as far as I'm concerned is better left up to your veterinarian to perform.
M - Into the mammary ..using a round tipped teat cannula instead of a needle. To administer antibiotics directly into the teat-Never place further than 1/4 inch into the teat!

tissue sample
Click on Image to Enlarge

 When giving an SQ injection, Pinch up some skin in a tent where you will be giving the injection and  place the needle into that skin tent, - making sure the needle does not go out the opposite side

Steps of Giving an Injection

  1. Always use a clean needle and syringe
  2. Wash your hands with antiseptic soap before handling the needle and syringe.
  3. Check the label on the vaccination or medication bottle to verify it is in fact the one you want to give your goat. Double-check the expiration date, make sure there is nothing floating in the bottle and that the drug is not discolored.
  4. Wipe top of medication bottle with alcohol prep
  5. Use separate needle for drawing medication from bottle so as not to contaminate medication- to do this  if you are using a syringe and needle combo, unscrew the needle on the syringe, and screw the syringe into the needle that is already in the rubber stopper of the medication (One that you have already placed there for this purpose) - once the syringe has the proper dosage of medication in it, unscrew the needle that is In the medication bottle and re-screw the needle you removed before  filling the syringe back onto the syringe.
  6. Make sure injection needle is properly attached to syringe (With a luer-lock syringe the needle will screw into  the hub of the syringe , then while holding syringe upside down needle pointing upwards.. loosely in one hand.. flick with your fingers the top of the syringe to get air bubbles up to top, then expel them by pushing plunger some until you are to pure medication.
  7. Secure goat either in a stancheon or using a collar or second person and secure to a fence , tree or have the person hold the goat securely  if you  cannot hold the goat and give the injection.  It helps to have the butt end of the goat up against something solid so they cannot back away which is what they typically do.
  8. Wipe injection site with alcohol prep, double check dose amount in syringe and double check the medicaiton to make sure you in fact have the correct med.
  9. Remove the needle's plastic, protective cap. Be very careful not to touch the needle.
  10. Insert injection needle into goat at what ever angle you intend on giving injection (Sub-Q or IM) - SQ goes in at an angle , IM goes straight in.
  11. Draw back on plunger to make sure you are NOT in a blood vessel! (This is especially important for giving penicillin injections as Penicillin is deadly if injected into the bloodstream)If you are in the vessel ..withdraw needle and re stick the goat.
  12. Slowly and firmly inject medication (if the goat moves and you think there is a possibility of breaking the needle- Let go of it and let it hang.. you do much less damage with the needle hanging there than trying to hold on and taking a chance of breaking it off in the goat!)
  13. Withdraw needle and rub injection site briskly.
  14. Let go of goat and apologize for giving it an owie. Give her a kiss and a cookie.
  15. Watch her for at least 30 minutes.. this is why I bring mine inside if at all possible. Keep an eye on her the next few hours Just in case..

  • Luer-lock, which locks the needle onto the nozzle of the syringe.
  • Slip tip, which secures the needle by compressing the hub onto the syringe nozzle.




*Make sure you always use a clean needle..

*If the syringe and needle drop onto the ground.. go get another needle.

*Only re-use a needle a couple times.. if you use them more than once.. they go dull VERY quickly.. and if you Do use them more than once.. make sure you sterilize them between uses.
Tip: A sterilized short jar with a tight fitting lid, filled with a sterile sponge and alcohol nearly to the top is a good place to store used needles for future use. Stick the needle into the sponge covered with alcohol and it will be sterile and ready for use later.
*Make sure you use the correct needle for the right job.. thick medications require a bigger gauge (diameter) needle.. a baby needs a smaller needle..
*Don't mix medications.
*Know which medications sting ahead of time so you don't get upset when one starts to jump and dance around thinking you are experiencing shock.. (Ivomec, Tylan200 and Nuflor among others are notorious for stinging..)
*Write down who you gave what shot to so you do not repeat it too soon, and make sure to give follow up medications when needed.. not giving enough is almost as bad as not giving any.. follow through.

This link will show you how to properly dispose of livestock sharps..(needles and scalpel blades)
Nebraska Cooperative Extension

**Giving CDT vaccine injections can leave you with an injection site abscess.. Best to give it SubQ to decrease the chances of abccess..
This is what an injection site abscess looks like..

Injection Site and how to hold the goat for back leg injection
This is a picture of how I stand a goat to give a shot.. so you can see one person can do it.. but with the bigger goats it helps to have help.. one to keep the goat busy on one end while you work on the other..

numly 45395-060919-371086-16

2006 All Rights Reserved goatlady.





Epinephrine and Anaphylactic Shock

I really want to stress how important it is to understand what anaphylactic shock is and the importance of having epinephrine on hand and ready..
I personally feel it has been overlooked and barely addressed in the articles on injections I have read.. and while every one of them tell you to have it in case of shock.. none of them explain from beginning to end just what you will have happening to your goat if it DOES go into shock how devastating it can be..
Not to scare you .. but to make it a reality and not just seem like a formality to have it..
And while it very well may never happen to you.. it is so easy to be prepared for the one time it may.. such a small price to pay for the life of your precious goat.

First and Foremost
A 10ml bottle is under $3.00 - the most inexpensive life insurance you can buy your goat!
NOW you need a Vet to Prescribe this medication!
You need to have a syringe ready to go with a correct dose of epinephrine loaded and the readied syringe with you.
IF your goat goes into anaphylactic will NOT have time to go get it!

What exactly IS Anaphylactic Shock?
It is a sudden, severe allergic reaction involving the entire body.
If it is not treated immediately with injected adrenaline (epinephrine), which opens the airways and blood vessels .... the outcome can be deadly!
Anaphylaxis constricts or narrows the airways and the blood vessels, resulting in difficult breathing, rapid pulse, a fall in blood pressure, and even cardiovascular collapse, shock and then death. Causing vessels to dilate rapidly, tissues that line the respiratory tract swell and obstruct the airway. Wheezing & dyspnea develop. Fluid pours out of the tissues in reaction to the substance, causing an internal drowning effect. The bronchi constrict & shuts down air passages causing suffocation.
This all takes place in a literal matter of a very few minutes!
By the time you realize something is bad wrong.. it is nearly too late you need to act NOW and think later if you should see these signs directly after an injection!
And I will repeat.. there is NO time to go get and load a syringe with epinephrine.. it better be in your hand loaded and ready to go- EACH time you give an injection!

In the most serious cases of anaphylaxis, the heart can stop pumping blood (a condition known as cardiovascular collapse). Cardiovascular collapse happens when there is a rapid loss of blood pressure, and the tissues and organs do not get enough fluids and oxygen. It is considered the "shock" part of anaphylactic shock.

So, What are the Signs of Anaphylactic Shock?
I have tried to get these symptoms in the order of which they typically happen so it will be easier for you to recognize what -IF ANYTHING- is going on with your goat.

Your goat may not show all of these symptoms. I have listed all of the signs possible; both from research and unfortunately personal experience.
Also I want to STRESS right now, that while typically anaphylactic shock occurs immediately after giving an injection, it CAN happen up to a couple hours afterwards.
(But since the horrible loss of my first goat,Goatee.. just a few weeks ago as of this writing, I have done a tremendous amount of research on the subject.)
I had given him an injection of iron dextran on one side with a dose of injectable Ivomec on the other.. watched him for my standard 30 minutes here in the house and when I was sure he was fine.. sent him outside. An hour later I heard a goat hollering over the intercom, it was Not his typical voice. I went outside to see who it was and he was staggering and hollering, got him directly in the house and before I could get the epinephrine and load the syringe, he had gone through the entire cycle of these symptoms and was gone.. I would say it literally took 2 minutes or less.

I did finally find one website with research information on this and has stated the fact that anaphylactic shock can occur a couple hours later.. But most typically within minutes .. I quote the article:

"Within a few minutes or hours after the injection, an animal may develop swelling at the site, fever, vomiting, anaphylactic shock, or even seizures. Left untreated, the animal may die. The risk that an animal will have a severe reaction to a vaccine is extremely small, experts emphasize."
So, while it most likely will occur within just a few minutes (if that) after the Can happen later.
I will also tell you in the 12 yrs I have raised goats and over the amount of injections I have had to give in those years.. I have had but 2 cases of anaphylactic shock occur.. it IS unusual, but it Can happen.. better to be Prepared than not. It typically happens with a medication you have given the goat before with no adverse reactions. Vitamin supplements can induce anaphylactic shock.

The Early Signs
  • Vocalization
  • Glassy eyes
  • Staggering
  • Rapid breathing
  • Itching, flushing, and burning skin, around face, neck, chest
  • Urticaria (hives)
  • Edema (swelling) in face & tongue
  • Cyanosis in mouth eyelids and lips (bluish or purplish tinge to the skin and mucous membranes)
  • Tightness & pain in chest, persistent cough, wheezing & dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Drop in BP (blood pressure)

Last Stages Before Death
  • Foaming, frothing or excess salivation
  • Nystagma (rapid back and forth eye movements)
  • Paddling motions of the limbs
  • Ataxia(Inability to coordinate voluntary muscular movements)
  • Ear twitching
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Extreme Vocalization
  • Gasping for breath
  • Pupils fixed and dilated
  • Death







In it's entirety happens in a literal matter of a few minutes. Believe it!

What is Epinephrine?

This has been an article by Goat-Link
How to give a goat an injection-all about anaphylactic shock and epinephrine. Syringe types. Goat  Articles, Emergency Goat Information, Injections,goat,syringe type,anaphylactic shock, epinephrine,injection site abscess,subQ injections,how to give a goat a shot to a goat
Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 January 2010 )