Needle know-how for better cattle health practices

Apr 25, 2024


Hypodermic needles use in cattle health management is crucial for effective delivery of medications and vaccinations. Selecting the right needle involves considering the cattle's weight, the medication's thickness, and the administration route.

A smaller gauge, which indicates a thinner needle, is preferable for minimizing animal discomfort and tissue damage, while the length should be adequate for the targeted injection depth, such as intramuscular or intravenous.

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) guidelines stipulate that all injections should be administered in front of the shoulder to maximize safety across all ages of cattle.

Needles should be replaced after treating every 10 animals or sooner if they become dull or damaged. This helps maintain the sterility of the medication and reduces the risk of infection.

In case a needle breaks, it's important to mark the injection site immediately and consult a veterinarian for removal. If the needle cannot be retrieved, record the animal's ID to prevent it from entering the food chain and consider euthanizing according to proper protocols at the end of its productive life.

Regarding biosecurity, changing needles between animals is critical in herds with infectious diseases like anaplasmosis and blood-borne diseases such as bovine leukosis, which can be spread through contaminated needles. This practice is part of broader disease control measures, including managing biting insects and disinfecting surgical instruments.

Study shows an approx. 60% transmission rate of anaplasmosis through needle injections, highlighting the importance of changing needles between animals in infected herds.

Proper disposal of needles should be done using sharps containers or robust plastic containers with secure lids. It's advisable to consult with veterinarians or local health facilities for proper disposal methods and options for handling full containers responsibly.

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