How to Give Injectable Medication to Your Cat
Some cat diseases require periodic administration of injectable medications. Frequently, this is done by the owner at home. If you feel uncomfortable administering injectable medication, discuss alternatives with your veterinarian. The most common diseases that require injectable medications are diabetes and allergies. Proper administration of these medications will help ensure your cat’s continued health.
Injectable medications can be prescribed for either subcutaneous or intramuscular use. Most medications that veterinarians dispense for owners to give at home are for subcutaneous use. Discuss the proper route and technique with your veterinarian prior to administering the medication at home.
For drugs that can be administered via subcutaneously, you can try this method:
- Clean the surface of the medication bottle with an alcohol-coated cotton ball.
- Insert the needle and syringe into the rubber top of the medication bottle.
- Invert the bottle and draw up the prescribed amount of medication.
- Make sure there are no air bubbles in the syringe.
- The skin between the shoulder blades tends to be the easiest way to give injectable medications. The skin does not need to be cleaned with alcohol prior to administering these medications.
- Hold the syringe with the needle exposed in one hand.
- With the other hand, gently lift a small piece of skin between the shoulder blades, at the base of the neck.
- By lifting the skin, an upside down “V” will be formed by the tent in the skin. Insert the needle into the center of this “V” or tented area of skin.
- Once the needle is inserted into the skin, draw back slightly on the syringe plunger, but make sure no blood flows into the syringe. If you draw blood, you’ve hit a blood vessel. Remove the needle at once, and find another location in the skin.
- If no blood is seen in the syringe, push the plunger into the syringe in order to administer the medication.
- Let go of the skin and make sure there is no liquid on the surface of the skin. If there is moisture on the skin, you may have inserted the needle through all layers of skin and out the other side of the tented skin. If this occurs, contact your veterinarian before re-dosing.
Remember, if you feel uncomfortable administering injectable medication; discuss other alternatives with your veterinarian. If you are having difficulty, call your veterinarians office and ask if you can stop by and have the veterinarian or one of the technicians’ demonstrate the technique for you.
Here’s a tip that has worked for some pet owners – If you don’t want to take your pet in, you can sometimes practice with the medication and syringe on a piece of frut such as an orange or banana.