Vaccinating sheep: techniques and tips
Where is the best place to vaccinate sheep? What length needle should I use?
These are the questions that a recent research study by Zoetis, with the assistance of Dr Tristan Jubb of Bendigo Sheep Vets, looked to address. The study aimed to find the most suitable technique to deliver vaccine under the skin and minimise the chance of site reactions.
Previous recommendations were to vaccinate high on the neck behind the ear.
This is a particularly sensitive area of the neck where salivary glands, lymph nodes, blood vessels and larger vertebrae can be found, meaning an increased risk of damaging these structures and potential site reactions.
The new recommended vaccination site is further down on the side of the neck, as circled in the graphic to the left.
Needle length and technique
The length of the needle and angle become very important when trying to place vaccine under the skin.
If the needle goes too deep, vaccine will be delivered into the muscle, leading to a potential site reaction or the body ‘encapsulating’ the vaccine and preventing it from taking effect.
The following needle recommendations were found to be the best in delivering the vaccine under the skin.
|CLASS OF STOCK||NEEDLE GAUGE||NEEDLE LENGTH||ANGLE TO SKIN|
|Lambs||18 G||1/4 inch||45 degrees|
|Adult off shears /short wool / low body condition||18 G||1/4 inch||45 degrees|
|Adults with wool growth||18 G||1/4 inch||90 degrees|
For more best practice animal health advice contact your local Elders livestock production advisor.