IVs and injections - lots of pictures

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milkmaid

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OK, several folks on another board have been asking me for pictures of IVs, and I finally got some pictures for them and am reposting them here for the rest of you. This post isn't complete by any means - I'll add to it when I have the opportunity - but this should be good enough to help those of you who are trying to get the juglar vein to draw blood or run an IV. I hope! ;D

First the simple stuff - proper location for IM/SC injections:

vaccinationareaBQA.jpg


That's the correct area per BQA (beef quality assurance) guidelines and should be followed on any animal that may potentially be headed to slaughter in order to minimize damage to the better cuts of meat. (That said, I understand there's times that the cow is trying her best to kill you and you just want to get the stuff in her any way you can - been there done that too. But, this is the area everyone ought to use.)

Sometimes you'll get lumps and swelling at the injection site - common - but this is evidence of the reason you should use the neck for injections.

vaccinationlump.jpg


herefordvacclumpknersie.jpg


Next, bangs tag. Seems there's a lot of questions about this one from time to time. Right ear - always.

bangstag.jpg


First two digits are the state - Idaho is "82".

Bangs tattoo - also right ear, always.
bangstattoo.jpg


Now for IVs. Once you get the hang of it, they're not hard - BUT - this is something a photo tutorial can't adequately show. Shucks, even if I were to show each of you how to do this in real life you'd have a hard time repeating it; experience is the best teacher on this one after you've been shown the location to use.

findingvein1.jpg


In order to run IVs, you have to be able to FEEL that vein. Seeing it is great too - but you have to be able to find it. On a mature cow, the vein is the size of a garden hose. You can't miss it - if you're in the right spot. If you're not in the right place you can try all day and you'll never get it.

Practice finding it on your cow before you ever need to run an IV; there's a groove in her neck right where that arrow is. The vein runs in that groove from head to brisket. Feel it - all the way down. The location of the arrow is right about where you'll insert the needle, but sometimes if the vein is ruined (more on that later) you'll go higher or lower, so you need to be able to identify the vein all the way down the neck. Press on the vein and feel it roll under your fingers. Press on it to slow the flow and then take your other hand and feel the way the vein is taut and bounces against your fingers. When you know where it is you're ready to pick up a needle.

If you're having trouble finding the vein you can try shaving the area so it's easier to locate, and/or put alcohol or hot water over the area where the vein is so it'll stand up and be easier to see. I often shave the area on calves since the vein is smaller on them and harder to find. If I'm giving fluids to a dehydrated calf I shave the area and put alcohol on - I need all the help I can get on a dehydrated calf.

IVdownward.jpg


blooddrawupward.jpg


When injecting anything into the vein or drawing blood, the needle is pointing upwards. When running fluids into an animal IV, the needle points downwards most of the time. There have been a few times when I've had a cow flat on the ground - ie for IV'ing a dehydrated calf - and then it doesn't much matter which way the needle goes. I've done it both ways.

Regarding needles - a 2" is technically an IV needle for cows; however, I prefer a 16x1 1/2" for cows and an 18x1" for calves.

99% of the time I have the animal's head turned or tied to the side when pulling blood or IV'ing. Occasionally - say for calves that someone else is restraining for me - I don't mind the neck straight. There's two reasons for having the head turned: first, it's often easier to feel/see the vein with the head turned, and second, cows don't like needles and I want them as immobile as possible, which means their head tied.

I was giving some antibiotics IV to a cow of mine today, and you can see here how I had her restrained.

tyingforIV.jpg


In the chute, head tied to the side, and nose tongs as a twitch to keep her mind off what I was doing. Anything less and the procedure would have been very dangerous to me - there's a lot of force behind that head and she could easily kill me if she were free to swing that head. Cows with milk fever tend to be out of it, and so I don't worry about them - but tame, healthy cows are the worst. Wild cows tend to freeze and they don't notice the difference between a hand touch and a needle poke - but tame cows know the difference.

Finding the vein - you can go on the right or left side, either works. I prefer the left side, but I'd IV'd her on that side on Monday and there was a lot of swelling, indicating the vein appeared to have been damaged or at least hard to get to, so I used the right side today. I'm using oxytetracycline here which is very caustic and tends to cause tissue damage. In all likelyhood the needle slipped out of the vein at some point on Monday and the oxytet got outside the vein. Calcium and sodium iodide are two other solutions that will also ruin veins, at least temporarily. If I can't find the vein on one side and I know the cow has been IV'd recently, I'll try the other side and usually can get the vein on the other side without any problems.

IVfindingvein.jpg


So, left fingers on the vein to slow the flow; blood flows back to the heart so the vein is taut above my fingers. Syringe in right hand... insert needle at a 45 degree angle. Sometimes more on a fat cow, sometimes less on an emaciated cow.

Note her reaction when I inserted the needle - that's why I have her restrained like this.

IVfindingvein2.jpg


If you're drawing blood or injecting solution, have the syringe attached to the needle so after insertion, you can pull back on the plunger and look for blood. If you see blood immediately in the syringe, you've got the vein, go ahead and inject - slowly. If no blood, move the needle around; deeper, shallower, figure out where the vein is at.

If you're drawing blood into a syringe you'll do it as shown in the pictures, minus the solution in the syringe that I have.

If you're running fluid into the cow through an IV line, I find it easiest to take the needle alone and insert it into the vein. If blood pools up and drips out of the needle, you've got the vein, go ahead and attach the IV line. If no blood, move the needle and find the vein.

Now - I don't have pictures yet of running IV fluids - but if nothing else works, you can always draw up the fluids into a syringe and inject them as shown in the pictures rather than using an IV line.

Draw back - see blood in the syringe (it's easier to see if you're giving something that's clear, like banamine).

IVfindingvein3.jpg


And inject...

IVfindingvein4.jpg


You can use your left hand to hold the syringe near the needle so it doesn't slip or move out of the vein - I do sometimes - but today it was easier to IV when I kept my left hand on the vein so it stayed full and tight where the needle was.

Depending on what you're giving, you can go fast or slow. Oxytetracycline can kill a cow if given too fast - causes cardiac arrest - and the label says to give over a period of 5 minutes. My vet has no problem giving 60cc's inside of 1 minute - and without incident, I've watched him do it, but since my dairy boss tells me he killed a cow once when IV'ing oxytet I tend to be a little wary. Even so, I gave 60cc's to Twelve in 2-3 minutes and would have gone a bit faster if we hadn't been taking pictures. :p

With 60cc's in the syringe, I'll give 10-20cc's, pull back to check that I'm still in the vein, give another 20cc's, check again, give another 10... by the time you get down to the last couple cc's the syringe has mostly blood with some solution.

IVsyringedone.jpg


Were I giving something like Banamine and with less volume, I might have only checked once during the course of the injection.

There's some blood on the syringe above because 12 moved, I lost the vein (well, the entire needle came out of the cow actually) and I had to insert again. Left her bleeding from the previous spot on my hands. Normally you wouldn't see that.

Well........ I hope this post helps those of you who are wanting to try your hand at IVs. When I have the opportunity to run an IV with an IV line next I'll try to get some pictures. I did do an IV like that on a milk fever case last week, but at 4am and with it being pitch black out and working by dim barn lights - it just wasn't a good photo opportunity. I'll modify this post when I get a chance. ;-)
 

tom4018

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Good information and pictures, don't know if I would or could do and IV. But then again I never thought I could tube one or reach inside to pull a calf.

Would you mind sharing the other forum you visit? I enjoy reading forums.
 

Double R Ranch

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That is a truly great post that should be able to stay at the top of the board!!! Excellent! I hope it really helps the people who don't know how.
Can you tell a bit more about your experiance with IV fluids. I once again had to give fluids under the skin on a sick calf and truly feel it would have done better if given directly. I know you will do a post on it when you can but still have a sick calf that will need fluids tomarrow. Would like to try and give direct and see if we get better results.
Thanks for the great posts!!
Double R
 
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milkmaid

milkmaid

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Vt - I haven't done the tail vein yet. For everything I've had to do so far the juglar has worked fine. I'm sure the tail would be better though if I were pulling blood on large numbers of animals. Speaking of the tail vein, I've heard of folks using the tail vein for IV on a cow with milk fever.

Double R - What would you like to know? I put the calf flat on the ground, shave the area, apply alcohol, insert needle. If they're severely dehydrated you can open up the IV line and put 1,000mLs in as quickly as it will go, then follow with another 1,000mLs done slower. Sometimes you can add vitamin B and/or 10mLs of dextrose to the IV solution as well.
 

TexasBred

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milkmaid":3n7zyhx7 said:
Vt - I haven't done the tail vein yet. For everything I've had to do so far the juglar has worked fine. I'm sure the tail would be better though if I were pulling blood on large numbers of animals. Speaking of the tail vein, I've heard of folks using the tail vein for IV on a cow with milk fever.

Double R - What would you like to know? I put the calf flat on the ground, shave the area, apply alcohol, insert needle. If they're severely dehydrated you can open up the IV line and put 1,000mLs in as quickly as it will go, then follow with another 1,000mLs done slower. Sometimes you can add vitamin B and/or 10mLs of dextrose to the IV solution as well.

If your drawing blood the tail vein is easiest and fastest once you get the hang of it. For administering an IV use the jugular or the milk vein. The tail vein is much to small and it'll take you all morning to give the IV...it will definitely be a slow drip...I usually throw away that big needle that comes with the IV set and use a 16 x 1". This keeps me from adminstering the IV too fast which usually isn't a big concern except when treating milk fever.
 

Double R Ranch

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milkmaid":1rqu9n4y said:
Vt - I haven't done the tail vein yet. For everything I've had to do so far the juglar has worked fine. I'm sure the tail would be better though if I were pulling blood on large numbers of animals. Speaking of the tail vein, I've heard of folks using the tail vein for IV on a cow with milk fever.

Double R - What would you like to know? I put the calf flat on the ground, shave the area, apply alcohol, insert needle. If they're severely dehydrated you can open up the IV line and put 1,000mLs in as quickly as it will go, then follow with another 1,000mLs done slower. Sometimes you can add vitamin B and/or 10mLs of dextrose to the IV solution as well.

Tail veins are a cinch once you figure it out!! Truly the easiest in my opinion for blood draws. You don't have to tie the head or anything. Just remember to wipe the area your going to draw from. Last time I checked manure was a contaminant. ;-) I can't however imagine doing IV in a tail vein. It is very hard to keep the tail up for a longer period of time. It is like a snake.
That was the info I needed. Thanks. My vet will not allow you to do IV. In my opinion it is easier on a horse for me to do IV. I haven't had much luck on cattle. Now I know why. I don't go in at enough of an angle. I also wanted to know how ya'll give fluids. Under the skin is one thing. I can tell you that it sure makes a faster improvement iv vs. under the skin. Had to do it last night. I didn't know that you could give Vit. B iv. Thats good to know in an emergency case. Always seem to add dextrose to my ringers.
Thanks,
Double R

P.S. I don't know if it has been touch here but some have asked me in the past what milk fever is. Can you explain? Thanks
 

VtMapleGal

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I was wondering about the tail vein for preg test. I have to draw 2 next week or so, and i dont have a chute, so the jugular is kinda hard for me.
 
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milkmaid

milkmaid

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Vt -- I borrowed my vet's chute for this IV; I don't have a chute of my own either. Some cows (esp wild ones) I might chance doing an IV in an alley way (boss and I have done several IVs on cows standing in the milking parlor) but this particular cow has an attitude about needles and this was the only way that was safe. If you have a good relationship with your vet you might try calling him/her and see if they'll let you use their chute and/or teach you how to draw blood from the tail vein. I've paid a significant amount of money over the years to have my vet teach me how to do all sorts of procedures. :p
 

VtMapleGal

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lol, i live in vermont. not really any large animal vets out here other than horse vets. They dont have chutes for horses.
 

spinandslide

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thank you milk maid! As always, great post and information and photos! Im a visiual learner!

You may have me almost brave enough to try an IV..so far Ive stuck with IM and SQ, but I know I need to learn how to IV.
 

rancherbob

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I attempted to print the entire article but the pictures don't show. Can anyone tell me why?
 
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