needle size for needle shy horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-19-2013, 01:49 AM Thread Starter
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needle size for needle shy horse

My horse does not like needles at all! She isn't terrible but does toss her head and try to walk off. The last time I vaccinated her she jerked the syringe out of my hand (she swung her head so violently) and I had to give her the injection a second time with a new needle.

I had the vet out a month ago for coggins and she dragged me around the yard trying to "get away". As soon as she sees the syringe/needle she gets upset. Smart girl is too smart for her own good. I used to cover her eye before getting the needle out, but she has figured that out too.

She is supposed to be getting weekly Pentosan injections for the next month. What is the best needle size for IM injections? Should I go with a 1" needle or 1 1/2"? a 22 gauge or 20?

I'm assuming smaller would be less painful? She is a very sensitive horse.
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-19-2013, 02:06 AM
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You do want to stick with the 1 1/2" needle as the further into the muscle you are, the less painful it is.
You can use a 22g needle as well. I use either 22g or 20g, whichever I have on hand, but the 22ga is noticeably smaller.

It's useful to have cross ties and a person holding the horse to do injections. I simply use cross ties with my horses and they stand well for injections. Make sure you also know proper technique as that will decrease the amount of pain the horses feel

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post #3 of 6 Old 02-19-2013, 07:30 AM
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I have a bratty horse too when it comes to shots. Use a 1 1/2" and a 22 gage if you can.

Distract her with a pan of grain or an apple. And have two people working on her, one to hold, the other to insert the shot.

Also take the needle off and putting the needle in first and then attaching the syringe sometimes works well for difficult horses.
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-19-2013, 07:42 AM
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On top of what Cla and Anebel said, I'd take a syringe out there on my own every now and then and rub her with it, act like you're going to give the shot, then don't. That way she won't expect it EVERY time the needle come out.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-19-2013, 08:45 AM
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Make sure along with correct placement etc you get the needle in fast!
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-19-2013, 08:51 AM
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Usually the size of the needle depends on what is being injected. Some injectable drugs are thicker then others. Sounds like you have a lot of random skin pinching to do. That way the horse never knows if you're going to stab it, or just pinch the skin.

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