Injecting Angora goats
By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Thursday, 17th March 2016

Cleaning syringes:

(a): Syringes should be cleaned by washing with a detergent or soap (the outside only).

Detergents, soaps and disinfectants will kill modified live vaccines and/or alter the structure of the protein complexes in both killed and modified live vaccines. Cleaning a syringe with detergent and rinsing it a few times will leave enough detergent in the syringe to kill the virus or bacteria in a modified live vaccine and may change the structure of the protein complexes in a killed vaccine, making the vaccine ineffective.

(b): Disassemble the syringe, place in boiling water, the plunger lubricated with clean Vaseline and assemble them in a clean dust free area while they are still hot. They should be stored in a new zip-lock bag in the freezer.  Never get any detergent or disinfectants inside the syringe.

(c): Never use a syringe for a vaccine that has had an antibiotic in it.

(d): Never use a syringe for a modified live vaccine that has had a killed vaccine in it. All of these procedures will destroy the effectiveness of a vaccination program.

Cleaning the injection gun

  • Cleaning the injection gun including all parts coming in contact with the drug or the product to be injected, should be placed in a large container such as a pressure cooker or saucepan and thoroughly boiled with with the lid on.
  • Bringing to the boil will kill all normal bacteria and boiling for 30 minutes will ensure the destruction of most bacterial spores. 
  • After boiling, the saucepan or container should be tipped sideways with the lid on so that the water drains out. With all the water out, the syringe and the plunger may be picked up by external parts only and carefully fitted together without touching any part, which will make contact with the animal or the vaccine.
  • Wash and dry your hands before picking up and assembling the injection equipment.


 What needle and syringe must I use?

  • Generally, use the smallest and shortest needle that is suitable.

18G (green) to 21G (pink) needle.

21G  GREEN most suitable

For intramuscular an 1 inch length

For subcutaneous a 5/8 inch or 1 inch suitable

  • Use a syringe closest to the volume you want to inject. This will usually range from a 3ml to 10ml syringe in a goat.


General Hygiene

  • When giving injections always get veterinary advice to make sure the products are appropriate and you know the correct procedure.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter for storage and use of the product.
  • Make sure you take care to dispose of old syringes, needles and packaging in a safe place. Needles are especially dangerous and should go into a special “sharps” rubbish container.
  • Various pathogenic bacteria are present on the surface of the skin and these may produce infection if injected with the medication. Therefore, when time allows or for valuable animals, or if the environment is very dirty, take every care to clean and disinfect the skin before injecting. Tincture of iodine is satisfactory and is better than methylated spirits which though commonly used is not effective as a disinfectant - a fresh swab of disinfectant should be used for each animal. On large farms this may be hopelessly impractical. For example, if you have to vaccinate 500 ewes, you will not have time to disinfect the skin of each goat. You may simply proceed down the race injecting each goat in a clean part of the neck, taking care to keep your hands clean (and washing them if they become dirty), and replacing the needle after each race.

Where do I inject an Angora goat?

Areas on body (marked in photo)


  1. Thigh muscle in front of femur bone. Be careful of injecting close to the sciatic nerve running just behind the femur bone. Angora goats generally do not have much muscle mass so injecting in the biceps behind the femur can potentially lead to the nerve being damaged through the needle itself or an injection site reaction. If goats intended for slaughter for meat purposes then rather inject in the neck muscle.
  2. Gluteus muscle. Be careful to keep away from the spine.
  3. Neck Muscle. Not the area of choice as any tissue reaction may cause discomfort when grazing.



  1. Neck skin
  2. Skin behind elbow and thorax


Subcutaneous injection (SQ - under the skin)

 This is the easiest and quickest form of injection, and it is used for many vaccines and drugs that are non-irritant and are readily absorbed.

With stock held in a race to give a subcutaneous injection, pull up a handful of skin to make a “tent” and slide the needle into the base of the tent under the skin and press the plunger.  Check when doing this to make sure the jet from the syringe is not coming out the other side of the tent because you’ve pushed the needle too far through.

 The loose skin on the side of the neck or behind the elbow is a good location for SQ injections.

A 1-inch needle of 18-20 gauge diameter should be used.

With irritant materials as some vaccines can be, a reaction may result producing a lump. This may blemish the carcase when the animal is killed and dressed. In such cases, make the injection at the top and to one side of the neck. Any lump that occurs here can be trimmed off when the carcase is dressed.


Intramuscular injection (IM - into the muscle)

 Many drugs have to be injected deep into the muscles to give more rapid absorption and may lead to less irritation.

  • Angora goats usually do not have thick muscles and care should be taken when giving intramuscular injections.
  • Possible intramuscular injection sites are the muscles of the neck, big muscle mass of a hindquarter. Care should be taken to avoid the nerves and blood vessels that run alongside these muscles.
  • It is important that the injection is not put into subcutaneous fat and actually hits muscle. • A shorter needle than for sheep should preferably be used, especially in kids; 1 or less inches in length and 18-20 gauge in diameter is recommended for IM injections.
  • Just before pressing the syringe plunger; withdraw it a little and if has inadvertently gone into a blood vessel, blood will show in the hub of the needle. If this happens the needle must be moved to a new site so that the injection is intramuscular and not intravenous.



Intravenous injection (into the vein)

Avoid giving intravenous injections (into the vein) and leave them to your veterinarian, as finding a vein and injecting into to it can be tricky, especially on a goat with long hair.


Intra-mammary injection (into the udder)

In goat, antibiotics for mastitis are normally given intramuscularly but you may need to give an Intra-mammary injection to get antibiotics into the udder via the teat canal.

These are really “infusions” using the long neck on the tube rather than a needle to deliver the treatment.

  • Remember the teat sphincter muscle that opens into the teat canal are very delicate structures and the teat is a very sensitive part of the goat so work gently and with care.
  • A goat’s teat canal is much smaller and more delicate than that of a cow.
  • After the full tube has been emptied into the teat, it’s no longer recommended to hold the teat end and massage the product up into the udder.
  • It is also important to clean the end of the teat with methylated spirits before you insert the tube. Use cotton wool swabs and keep using them until they show no more dirt from the teat end. This may take quite a few rubs. If you don’t clean the teat end - all you’ll do is to push dirt and bugs into the teat and cause more problems.



Filling a syringe

 If you have to draw liquid from a new bottle of product into a syringe, it’s often hard to suck out because there is no air in the new bottle or container.

All you need do is to draw into the syringe the amount of air that will be replaced by the injection, and inject this air into the bottle through the rubber cap.

  • This will put enough air into the bottle and allow you to fill the syringe.
  • You may have to do this every now and again if you find it hard to fill the syringe.
  • Or you can put another needle in the cap of the container to act as an air entry while you are drawing product out.
  • Try to keep everything as clean as possible and free from contamination. 3


On Farm Critical Control Points for Vaccine Handling:

Transport and Storage:

  • Always transport vaccines in an insulated container with sufficient frozen ice-packs to keep the desired temperature to point of destination. If the temperature of the vaccine is above refrigeration temperature or the vaccine is exposed to sunlight for too long the structure of the protein complexes is altered and the vaccine loses its effectiveness.
  • On the farm keep vaccine in a reliable refrigerator with a min/max thermometer (4-8 C)
  • Do not freeze vaccines.
  • Have a contingency plan in case of fridge failure or extended power failure (Sufficient cooler box space and frozen ice-packs).

 Taking the vaccines to the kraal to vaccinate:

  • Transport vaccine to and keep in an insulated container with sufficient frozen ice-packs at the working area where animals are to be vaccinated.
  • Keep vaccine out of direct sunlight.
  • Administer reconstituted live vaccines within 1 hour. Live vaccines begin to loose potency as soon as they are mixed up.
  • Do not attempt to preserve reconstituted vaccines in a fridge for future use. They will no longer be viable.
  • Always consult the vaccine package insert for the correct information on storage, handling, dose, route of administration and possible precautions.
  • Change needles regularly: Repeated syringe filling and needle puncture of the vaccine bottle may also carry contamination into the bottle.



Mel Pence DVM, MS, PAS, Diplomate ABVP (beef cattle) University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine

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