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Needles and Syringes for Goats

Navigating the World of Needles and Syringes for Goat Health: Best Practices and Considerations

Proper medical care for goats often involves the use of needles and syringes for vaccinations, medications, and other essential procedures. Understanding the different types of needles and syringes, their sizes, proper cleaning methods, and storage techniques is crucial for maintaining the health and well-being of your goat herd. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of using needles and syringes in goat care.

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Needle Sizes: Finding the Right Fit:

  1. Gauge and Length:
    • Needles come in different gauges (thickness) and lengths. Common gauges for goat are 18 and 22, with lower numbers indicating thicker needles with the larger holes. Lengths can vary from 1/2 to 1.5 inches. But the most common to use with goats is the 3/4 inch needle. 
    • Larger gauge numbers represent thinner needles, which are suitable for subcutaneous injections, while thicker needles are preferred for intramuscular injections.
  2. Selecting the Right Needle:
    • Choose the appropriate needle size based on the type of medication, injection site, and the size and age of the goat. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the most suitable needle for specific procedures.
    • Usually you will use a 22 gauge and 3/4 inch needle to give most medications. 
    • If you are injecting a thick substance like LA 200, Nuflor, Excenel RTU and Penicillin, you will use an 18 gauge needle. It hurts the goat to push a very lick liquid through a very small hole. 
    • Choose the best quality, sharpest needs possible. If you plan to reuse the needles, use a plastic-hub needle. But do know that needles do dull after several uses. 

Syringes: Multiple Sizes for Versatility:

  1. Types of Syringes:
    • Luer-Slip: The needle slips on the syringe.
    • Luer-Lock: The needle twists on and “locks” into place. This is used when injecting thick medications and prevents the syringe from “blowing” off when the syringe is squeezed. You will also use a luer-lock syringe with a needle to withdraw contents from an abscess.
  2. Capacity and Measurement:
    • Syringes are available in various capacities, typically measured in milliliters (ml). Common sizes for goat care range from 1 ml to 10 ml.
    • Different sizes allow for accurate dosage measurement, with smaller syringes suitable for precise dosing and larger ones for administering medications or vaccinations more efficiently.
    • 1 cc (tuberculin syringe): broken into tenths of a cc. Used for dosing very young kids. Always have on hand. 
    • 3 cc: Most common sized used for goats. Always have on hand. 
    • 6 cc, 12 cc, 30 cc, 60 cc: can be used to dose orally or giving electrolytes by mouth. Always have on hand.
    • It’s important to have each of the sizes mentioned above in both luer-slip and luer-lock sizes. 
    • Having 30 cc and 60 cc syringes in flared-tip style. These will be used for feeding tubes.
  3. Avoiding Cross-Contamination:
    • Use separate syringes for different medications or vaccines to prevent cross-contamination. This ensures accurate dosage and prevents unintended reactions.

Cleaning and Sterilization: Maintaining Hygiene:

  1. Cleaning Method:
    • Thoroughly clean syringes and needles immediately after use to prevent residue buildup. Rinse them with warm water and use a mild detergent to remove any remaining substances.
  2. Avoiding Alcohol for Plunger Preservation:
    • Contrary to common practice, avoid using alcohol to clean syringes, especially the rubber plunger tip. Alcohol can degrade the rubber, leading to potential issues with the syringe’s functionality.
  3. Boiling for Sterilization:
    • For effective sterilization, boil the syringes and needles in water for at least 15 minutes. Boiling is a cost-effective and reliable method to eliminate bacteria and ensure the instruments are safe for reuse.

Storage: Maintaining Cleanliness and Readiness:

  1. Storing Needles and Caps in Isopropyl Alcohol:
    • Store needles and their caps in a container filled with 70% isopropyl alcohol. This practice prevents bacterial growth and keeps the needles clean and ready for use.
  2. Avoiding Contamination:
    • Always store needles and syringes in a clean, dry environment to prevent contamination. Ensure that the storage area is free from dust, dirt, and other potential contaminants.

Conclusion: A Prescription for Prudent Needle and Syringe Use:

Navigating the world of needles and syringes in goat care involves a blend of precision, hygiene, and responsible practices. Selecting the right needle size, employing various syringe sizes for versatility, and adhering to proper cleaning and sterilization techniques are essential steps in ensuring the health and safety of your goat herd. With diligent care and attention to these practices, you can confidently administer medications and vaccinations, contributing to the overall well-being of your goats. Always consult with a veterinarian for guidance tailored to your specific herd’s needs.

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