When in doubt, change that needle out

A major emphasis in state and national Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) programs is to reduce or eliminate injection site lesions. One easy to accomplish this is to changed needles often.

“When vaccinating a group of cattle, it’s best to use a new one for each animal, but very few producers do this,” says George Barrington, a veterinarian with Agricultural Animal Clinic Services at Washington State University. “There are some blood-borne diseases that can be transmitted from animal to animal via needles, and our goal is to not do this, by utilizing proper technique and new needles for each animal. But with multiple-dose syringes, this is less feasible; they increase the potential for transmitting diseases—everything from bovine leucosis virus to anaplasmosis,” he says.

When using multi-dose syringes, take time to change needles every time you refill the syringe or after every 10 head. This helps ensure that you are using a sharp needle. A dull needle creates more pain and tissue damage.

“It’s a challenge to get producers to change needles often enough,” says Shannon Williams, Lemhi County Extension educator and BQA coordinator for Idaho. “People get busy and don’t want to stop.  Figure out a system to keep that 10 head count. If you have a 20 cc syringe and it’s a 2 cc dose, it’s easy to just change needles the next time you fill it. If it’s a different dosage, maybe someone who is keeping records [as the cattle go through the chute] can hand you a new needle when the next 10 animals are done,” she says. read more…

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