What is the difference between IM (Intramuscular) & IV (Intravenous) Injections?

Last Updated on March 23, 2022 by Allison Price

Your veterinarian may have recommended that you give your horse medication via injection. This means the medication is administered via a needle and syringe.

Your veterinarian might recommend injecting your horse for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. Treatment of an illness
  2. Sedation;
  3. Chronic pain management
  4. Routine vaccinations

There are many reasons why the route of injection of injectables may vary.

  • Temperament: Horses may prefer to take different medication routes.
  • Type of medication: Certain medications cannot be administered by any other route.
  • Urgency: An IV drug is more effective than IM for administering drugs.
  • Cost
  • Trust and experience of the handler
  • It is important to determine whether the drug has to have a local or global effect.

Here are some things to keep in mind when injecting.

  • Use a new needle and/or syringe every time. Sharper needles cause less pain and more damage to the area. Also, new syringes can prevent infection.
  • If you use the medication bottles more than once, always disinfect their tops. Avoid letting bottles become dirty or dusty.
  • To prevent infection, always clean and disinfect the area of the horse that will be injected.
  • Use needles that are firm and precise. Avoid stomping or jabbing the horse as this could scare them.
  • You should always monitor the injection site for heat and swelling, and notify your veterinarian immediately if any occurs.
  • Make the event as enjoyable as possible. If possible, give treats and lots of cuddles to horses who behave well. It’s very easy to make a horse needle-shy.

IM (Intramuscular) Injections

Intramuscular injections (IM) are when the medication is directly injected into a muscle. IM injections can be used when a drug needs slow release into the body, such as drugs that are used to treat joint disease or antibiotics. Common medicines that can be given IM include vitamins and minerals like Ranvet’s Batphol and Macrofol; as well as antibiotics, steroids and joint treatments.

difference between IM Intramuscular & IV Intravenous Injections

There are many areas on the horse where you can inject the muscle. The neck is a favorite area for vaccinations. This area is well-suited for vaccinations. However, injecting more than 10ml into it can cause severe soreness. You can use this area to inject large quantities of penicillin, but you should clean it with alcohol and disinfect it well before and after each injection. Also, make sure you always use a fresh needle and syringe. Although the gluteal muscles or the top of your hip are good places to store large volumes, it is difficult to treat an abscess as there is no drain. For large amounts of penicillin, the preferred area is the upper rear legs on either side from the dock at the tail. These muscles are known as the semimembranosus and semitendinosus. These muscles are large and will drain easily in the unlikely event of an abscess. If your horse is not comfortable with needles, this area can prove dangerous. Always stand straight ahead when injecting this area. Although the pectoral muscles can also be used, this area is more prone to swelling. Because it drains well, an abscess is easy to treat. This area is ideal for small amounts of steroids or treatment for joint pain.

Intramuscular injection sites:

First, clean the area and then apply alcohol to it. Next, insert the needle straight into the area until it reaches the hub. If there is any blood, you can pull the needle halfway out and redirect to a new spot. Attach the syringe to its hub gently and securely. Pull back to ensure there is no blood. Slowly, but firmly inject half of the contents. Then check again to ensure that there is no blood in the syringe. If you see blood, always redirect the needle. Injecting medication like penicillin into veins can cause severe reactions. After removing the needle, inject the remaining contents into the syringe. To reduce pain and injury to the muscles, it is important to not wiggle the needle when injecting.

IV (Intravenous) Injections

IV (Intravenous injections) are when the medication is directly injected into a vein. IV injections are recommended for drugs that need to be absorbed quickly. Another reason is when the drug could be irritating or poorly absorbed. Common IV drugs include vitamins & minerals like Ranvet’s Foliphos, sedation, fluids for rapid rehydration (such as Ranvet’s Lang’s Solution ), and fluids such as Ranvet’s Lang’s Solution .

The jugular veins at the neck are the most common for IV use in horses. You can use other veins if you need them, but they are not very common. First, clean the area and then wipe it with alcohol. To make the needle easier to insert, press down on the vein using your finger. To ensure you are injecting into a vein, the needle should be inserted at an angle. The veins will “ooze” and “drip”, while the arterial blood will “pulse” or “pulse”. This is vital as injecting the wrong drug in an artery can cause death. If you are not in the right spot, gently remove the needle halfway. The syringe should be checked for air bubbles and attached to the needle. After the syringe has been attached, draw some blood into the needle to ensure it is still there. Next, release your finger from the vein by releasing the needle. If there are any bleeding, pull the needle out and apply pressure to the area using a cotton swab until it stops.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!