Giving Alpacas Injections - Alpacas of Montana

Giving Alpacas Injections

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Giving Alpacas Injections

Giving injections often intimidated me in the past. However, they are a necessary part for some issues of life and I out of necessity I had to get used to giving them. This is not exactly a glamorous topic, but necessary to anyone who has just about any kind of animal, pet or livestock.

A diagram of the optimal places for Alpaca injections.
IM - Sites for Intramuscular Injections
SQ - Sites for Subcutaneous Injections
* - Sciatic Nerve

Intramuscular Injections (IM)
  1. Any large muscle mass will work. We usually choose the shoulder or rump and rotating.
  2. Use 22 to 16 gauge needle. The thicker the drug, the larger the needle (smaller gauge is larger). Use. 1.5” length needles. We usually use the green 18 needles for almost everything.
  3. Avoid the sciatic nerve and neck region.
  4. The needle should be inserted all the way in to make sure you are in the muscle.
  5. If frequent injections are needed, rotate the muscles used to avoid soreness or ask if it is possible to switch to SQ injections.
Subcutaneous Injections (SQ)
Alpaca IM injection sites.
IM injection sites

  1. These injections go in the layer between the skin and muscles below.
  2. Use a 22 to 16 gauge needle 1” to 1.5” long.
  3. The needle should be directed through the skin at a slight angle. With practice, you can feel when you have gone through the skin. This is where you inject the drug. If you penetrate any deeper, you will be in the muscle.
  4. By grabbing the hair near the site of the injection with your left hand, (if you are right handed), the skin can be slightly elevated. This makes it very easy to feel when you’ve passed through the entire thickness of the skin. 
  5. If there is a lot of resistance when pushing the plunger, you are probably still in the skin, not below it.

Hand Position Used to locate IM site on shoulder
Hand Position Used to locate IM site on shoulder

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