Move injections to the neck

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All intramuscular or subcutaneous injections should be given in the neck. Following proper injection-site practices can be a challenge, though, and may require modifications to your current protocols.

“Sometimes we have to adjust things and do things a little differently,” said Anita Varga, of the University of California-Davis. For example, think about how you administer injections during pregnancy checks. It’s common, and often easier, to give an injection in the rump rather than the neck region.

“It takes more modification if you go around and actually (give the injection) in the neck,” Varga said during a wet lab demo, sponsored by the Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program, on proper injection-site procedures at the 2012 Dairy Calf & Heifer Association Conference. “It is possible, but you have to train people and take the time to do a proper job.”

The Dairy Animal Care & Quality Assurance (DACQA) Certification manual states that moving the injection site area to the neck stops costly damage to economically important cuts of beef. In dairy cattle, the preferred site for all injections is a small area in the neck region. The base of the ear is also an approved injection site for certain antibiotics. Please see Fig. 2 in Section IV-A of the DACQA manual for more information about the preferred injection site zone in the neck.

Guidelines for administering vaccines and medications also can be found in Section VII and Section VIII of the DCHA Gold Standards III.

DACQA is a voluntary, national certification program intended to enhance and demonstrate quality animal care practices that assure food safety, quality and value as well as enhance consumer confidence in the milk and beef products harvested from cattle on America’s dairy farms.


DCHA is the only national association dedicated to serving the dairy calf and heifer industry. The association strives to provide information, education and access to leading research and technology to its members and the calf and heifer industry. DCHA’s
Gold Standards III also offers practical recommendations for humane handling of dairy calves and heifers, from birth to freshening.



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