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How to give a cat a shot by yourself? – this question worries caring owners and it is not surprising. After all, such, at first glance, uncomplicated manipulation requires certain skills and knowledge.
A successful injection is not only a guarantee of effective and correct action of the medication, but also the absence of complications, a minimum of discomfort from the procedure for you and your pet.
The injections come in:
What you need to know before giving a cat an injection
- Do not self-medicate! Only give injections to your cat as prescribed by vet, strictly following all the prescriptions, doses, etc.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before giving the injection. But even washed hands should not touch a sterile syringe needle.
- The injection site may not be treated with antiseptic, and the injection must always be done with sterile syringes. Use a new syringe each time! Syringes and needles are disposable, do not forget that.
- The skin at the injection site should be healthy and without any inflammation.
- If the volume of medication does not exceed 1 ml and the medication is not oil-based, you can use insulin syringes with small needles. In other cases, use 2-5 ml syringes.
- If the medicine was stored in the refrigerator, it should be warmed up to 37 degrees before use.
- Be sure to check the name of the medicine and its expiration date before putting it in the syringe. Only put the required dose into the syringe.
- Do not mix several medications in one syringe. Exception is the prescription of the veterinarian.
- Draw the medicine into the syringe just before the shot is given, and cover the needle with a protective cap until it is used.
- Oily solutions are best trusted to be injected by a doctor, but if this is not possible, be careful. Before injecting an oil liquid directly into the muscle, you must make sure that you don’t get into a vessel. To do this, after inserting the needle, you need to pull the piston of the syringe slightly toward you and if the syringe is bleeding you need to change the injection site. If the oil gets into the bloodstream, it is fatal for the pet.
- Before giving the injection, whether it is intramuscular or subcutaneous, let the air out of the syringe. Lift the syringe up vertically so that the air bubbles inside it rise and let some of the medicine out of the syringe. If the air is still in the syringe, you can simply not inject the medicine all the way in, leaving some air bubbles in the syringe.
- All your movements should be precise and correct. Don’t stretch out the injection procedure by fussing with your cat, put aside doubts and pity. Remember that you are injecting for the benefit and health of the cat. Be calm, and don’t forget that your state of mind is transmitted to the cat. If the cat is of a temper, actively resisting, the shots should be given in pairs, with your assistant holding the cat firmly in place.
- If there are no contraindications, you can give the cat some food or treats before the injection to develop a positive attitude and reflex. Don’t yell at your pet, be a kind, affectionate and caring owner.
In this article we will look at subcutaneous and intramuscular shots for cats. First of all, these are the most common types of injections given to cats. And secondly, the other types of injections cannot be given without experience and even more so at home.
Subcutaneous injection for a cat
The subcutaneous fat layer is rich in blood vessels and has a loose structure – all this ensures faster penetration of the drug than, for example, when it is applied by mouth.
A cat’s hypodermic injections are given in the area between the shoulder blades, in the withers (scruff) or in the area of the crease at the knee. For so-called “painful” hypodermic injections, the withers is the safest place, since there is the least risk of getting injected “in the wrong place” and there is practically no painful sensation from the puncture.
How to inject a cat under the skin
- As with other types of injections, you need to follow the general rules mentioned above. When you have prepared the medicine in the syringe, you should prepare the cat: distract it and fix it. If you are giving the injection by yourself and the cat’s behavior is calm, then with the left forearm you should slightly press the cat and with the fingers of your left hand you should form a skin fold in the area of the hypodermic injection – take the skin on the crest or the knee and pull it up.
- In the right hand take a syringe and make a puncture at the base of the fold. If a hypodermic injection is made with an insulin syringe, the needle is inserted almost all the way in, and if with another syringe, the needle is inserted 1-2 cm deeper. The needle should be inserted parallel to the spine at an angle of 45 degrees.
- At first you will feel resistance, but as soon as the needle is under the skin, so to speak, “falls through”, the resistance will disappear. Now you can inject the medicine without any additional effort, there is no need to hurry.
- After injecting the medicine, without releasing the skin, gently remove the needle. Stroke the cat and speak softly, gently and soothingly.
- Be careful when injecting the medicine, for example, if the coat on the skin becomes wet and you do not encounter resistance when inserting the needle, it indicates that you have pierced through the skin fold and the medicine did not get to the right place.
Subcutaneous injection video
Some medications do not resorb well when injected subcutaneously or cause severe pain. If it is necessary to depot the medication, that is, to create a drug depot (a kind of reserve) so that the drug substance is slowly released into the blood. Thereby keeping a constant concentration of the drug over a long period of time. There are medications that can only be injected intramuscularly. Also, cats are injected into the muscle when a faster action of the medication is needed, but intravenous injection is not possible and subcutaneous injection is ineffective.
How to inject a cat in the hip
- Follow the general rules for giving a cat an injection. Prepare a syringe.
- Find the most comfortable place, it should be a hard, flat and very stable surface (floor, table). Secure the cat yourself, for example by placing your knee under the cat’s belly, or ask for help. Even if the cat does not lash out, it is best to give intramuscular injections to the cat in pairs, with one person holding the cat and the other giving the injection.
- The needle should be injected into the fleshiest part of the paw, which is the posterior surface of the thigh. The needle is inserted at an acute angle to the thigh, that is, not perpendicular (not from top to bottom), but parallel.
- It is very important to give the injection in a relaxed muscle. Cats tend to tense up during these procedures, so if the leg is tense, don’t give the injection! Massage the injection site first to relax the muscle. If the paw is straight, try bending it slightly.
- An injection into the thigh is more painful for a cat than a hypodermic injection and it is possible that even the calmest animal may jerk, so it is extremely important to hold the animal’s foot firmly in your hand. The movements should be clear, confident and aligned.
- The needle should be inserted carefully, about 1 cm deep into the bone. When the needle is sufficiently inserted, slowly squeeze the syringe plunger to release the medicine.
- After administering the medicine, first remove the needle and only then let the cat go. This is very important!
- If a course of injections in the thigh is needed, then with each new injection you should inject in a different leg alternately.
Thigh injection video
A cat is bleeding after an injection
Do not forget that the injection is a micro, but still a trauma to the skin, as well as blood vessels. If the blood is not so heavy, just a couple of drops, you don’t have to worry.
If cat is bleeding a lot, you should put a cold pack on the bleeding spot for no more than 15-20 minutes and call your vet immediately if the bleeding persists or gets worse!
Lameness after injection
Sometimes the cat may limp after an injection, but that’s okay. Usually limping is a reaction to painful antibiotic or antispasmodic injections. Especially sensitive and delicate feline natures may even exaggerate the painfulness of the injections and show their acting qualities, yes, don’t be surprised, it happens. The discomfort goes away quite quickly and requires seeing a doctor if the lameness does not go away within a couple or three days.
To reduce the discomfort of painful injections can dilute the drug with water for injections, saline or novocaine, but you shouldn’t experiment on your own. Before any dilution of injectable drugs you must consult a veterinarian!
Try a light massage of the paw your pet is limping on.
If the cat won’t stand on the paw or starts dragging it behind itself after the injection, you should seek medical attention immediately, since it is possible that the nerve bundle is hurt and treatment with novocaine or other medications is needed.
Changes in the cat’s behavior, the appearance of lumps, swellings after injections, any unusual phenomenon should alert you and it is better to consult a veterinarian.
Still have questions about how to give a cat a shot? Write them in the comments.