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How to give a subcutaneous injection

Diagnosing and treating rabbit ailments. *Caution! These threads may contain graphic content.*
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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#31  Unread postby siddsaysgimmie » Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:58 pm


Thank you, that helps a lot. I was actually giving it sub-q (at least I thought). The skin between her shoulder blades was extremely tight and nearly impossible for me to grab enough to feel comfortable injecting. I would guess that I may have grabbed some muscle and unintentionally injected into there and hit a blood vessel. :( Thanks again, I just needed to know what I did wrong. Not sure if I'll be able to inject in the future, but I had to figure out how to avoid this happening again at all costs if it ends up being necessary.

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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#32  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:59 am


just a few tips, for future SQ injections, --
... if you can't get the rabbit to hold still, get some help restraining it.
... if the rabbit is "bucking" don't inject the meds [as you cannot be sure you are in the target injection area, or missing a blood vein]
... avoid using overly long needles, an inch is plenty for a rabbit, 3/4 inch long needles easily pierce the skin, and place meds far enough away from the injection hole to avoid too much "leaking" back through the injection site after the injection. . [overly long needles increase the chance of missing the injection target area]
...use 4 fingers and thumb to pull up the skin between the shoulder blades, [as opposed to one or two fingers and thumb] this makes a longer tent, this reduces the chance of missing the injection target area, or pushing the needle through the skin on the other side of the "tent"
....when inserting the needle into the skin, [tent] have the syringe parallel to the rabbits back [not pointed down toward the rabbit, or up away from the rabbit.
...insert the needle with point toward the rabbits head, not pointing toward its butt.[because, if the rabbit starts to wiggle , and gets loose, the head will come up, causing the needle to be pushed on a downward angle into the spine area]
... inject SQ meds with about a half inch space between the rabbits back, and where you insert the needle into the tent. [this helps avoid accidental IM injections, or spine damage from a misplaced needle].
.. when injecting Pen G or other thick medications, use a larger diameter needle,[ having to use a lot of force to inject meds through the needle, or taking a long time to get the injection completed, increases the chance of accidents , missing the target injection area, as well as increasing the duration of the rabbits discomfort]
again, JMHO
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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#33  Unread postby Miss M » Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:29 pm


I didn't know about pulling back on the plunger either, until Tegan put up the original post.

Another thing... I quickly stopped trying to give SubQ injections between the shoulder blades, because I had so much trouble getting enough skin tented there.

I started feeling all over the rabbit for places where I could grab a good bit of skin relatively easily. I now give SubQ injections on the sides, near the shoulder and near the hip. As far as I can tell from reading, the only difference with using a different site is the rate of absorption. I haven't had trouble with the medication working, so I've just gone with it.
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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#34  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:03 pm


Miss M wrote:I didn't know about pulling back on the plunger either, until Tegan put up the original post.

Another thing... I quickly stopped trying to give SubQ injections between the shoulder blades, because I had so much trouble getting enough skin tented there.

I started feeling all over the rabbit for places where I could grab a good bit of skin relatively easily. I now give SubQ injections on the sides, near the shoulder and near the hip. As far as I can tell from reading, the only difference with using a different site is the rate of absorption. I haven't had trouble with the medication working, so I've just gone with it.


especially in bucks, the buck's skin is especially tough , and better attached [harder to tent] - than a doe......[I still like the "between the shoulder blades" site better because of the ease of injection, while restraining the rabbit with no help, and [as mentioned above] the absorption rate is a little better].....
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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#35  Unread postby akane » Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:40 pm


I can't do horse and dog vaccines because even with knowing to check if it's in a blood vessel I just feel paranoid about doing something wrong to something that is such a big part of my life. I did practice doing IM injections in rabbits and I took equine veterinary classes so technically I know how to do it. There's always a minor risk though. It doesn't really matter right now because feed store meds can't be used on anything I'm keeping that I would try giving in injection to. I use oral bird or aquarium meds for the cavy, gerbil, and chinchillas. Generally the chinchillas are worth a vet trip. In their case we are talking $100-$200 very personable indoor pets.
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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#36  Unread postby a7736100 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:17 pm


Is this method used to treat dehydration? If so where do you buy the solution? May be good to practice on rabbit with the runs.

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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#37  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:56 pm


a7736100 wrote:Is this method used to treat dehydration? If so where do you buy the solution? May be good to practice on rabbit with the runs.


vet supply company's stock saline solutions, - use a sub Q procedure as mentioned above, 50 to 100 ML is about the usual dosage for full size rabbits who have need of fluids, [ 1 to 2x/ day ]...
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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#38  Unread postby Miss M » Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:28 pm


michaels4gardens wrote:
a7736100 wrote:Is this method used to treat dehydration? If so where do you buy the solution? May be good to practice on rabbit with the runs.


vet supply company's stock saline solutions, - use a sub Q procedure as mentioned above, 50 to 100 ML is about the usual dosage for full size rabbits who have need of fluids, [ 1 to 2x/ day ]...

Saline is usually given in the abdomen, isn't it? If so, do you know how to do this safely, without accidentally perforating the intestine or something? Or is it alright to give that amount in between the shoulders or on the side?
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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#39  Unread postby alforddm » Thu Apr 14, 2016 8:41 pm


Well, I was skeptical about giving subcutaneous fluids, but turns out this is an technique actually used for dogs. If you had a very calm rabbit it might work. Sounds like it's mostly used for chronic conditions and not acute dehydration. http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-he ... n-dogs/945

Injecting fluids into the anus with a tube can work with humans and is fast acting but if you had a case of severe diarrhea I'm not sure how that would work. Here is an article that explains the technique in humans. http://www.realfirstaid.co.uk/rectal/

-- Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:41 pm --

michaels4gardens wrote:
a7736100 wrote:Is this method used to treat dehydration? If so where do you buy the solution? May be good to practice on rabbit with the runs.


vet supply company's stock saline solutions, - use a sub Q procedure as mentioned above, 50 to 100 ML is about the usual dosage for full size rabbits who have need of fluids, [ 1 to 2x/ day ]...


How fast acting is giving fluids like this?

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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#40  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:30 am


In my opinion,
... giving fluids under the skin [ SQ ] between the shoulder blades is the safest and easiest method. The fluids are absorbed over a 2 to 4 hour period, the fluids will travel under the skin [gravity] toward the sides or even to the belly area. I do not recommend, that anyone try to give a rabbit fluids [ or any animal] through the abdominal wall. -[even vets screw this up sometimes]- warm the fluids to about 100 to 105 degrees F [feels slightly warm to your skin on the inside of your wrist] before administering. this reduces discomfort, and avoids shock in sick rabbits from rapid lowering of the body temperature.
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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#41  Unread postby Miss M » Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:38 am


Wow, that's even faster than I thought it was absorbed!

Thank you for the warming tip, too, M4G! :)
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Re: How to give a subcutaneous injection

Post Number:#42  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:39 am


Miss M wrote:Wow, that's even faster than I thought it was absorbed!

Thank you for the warming tip, too, M4G! :)


the absorption time depends on how much fluids are given, and the health of the rabbit, -- I have administered as much as 150 ml to a rabbit [on vet orders] it can take longer to absorb large amounts.
Fluids can be "prescribed" for sludgy urine, stinky urine, dehydration, "off feed" rabbits, and rabbits being force fed. - sometimes it is given a little "hot" [110 to 115 F] for a crashing rabbit with a low body temp [below 99 F] in an effort to "reinforce" the system during a "crash".
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