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close this bookRestraining Animals and Simple Treatments (IIRR, 1996, 53 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentRestraining animals
View the documentPhysical examination
View the documentParaveterinary kit
View the documentDosages
View the documentCommon units of measurement
View the documentReading drug labels
View the documentEstimating live weight
View the documentAdministering medicine
View the documentEmergency procedures
View the documentWhen to call a veterinarian
View the documentGlossary

Administering medicine

Medicine can be given either through the mouth (oral administration) or trough injection (parenteral administration).

Oral administration

The most common forms of medicine given to livestock and poultry are pills, liquids and powders. Pills include tablets and capsules.


Drenching is the forced pouring of liquid preparations down the throat of an animal. This method can be used for ruminants, pigs and poultry. In all animals, hold the head elevated so that the medicine does not enter the lungs.

You can use:

- bamboo tube
- gourd
- plastic bottle



1. Tie the animal to a coconut tree or pole.

2. Elevate the nose until it forms a straight line with the neck.
Caution: Do not use a glass bottle. It can break and cause damage to the animal. Do not raise the head too high for it can interfere with swallowing. Do not pour the liquid abruptly into the animal's throat.

3. Allow about a minute for the animal to swallow and breathe before giving succeeding doses. Lower the head immediately when the animal starts to cough.

Caution: Do not pull the tongue out of the mouth. It needs to be free for swallowing.

4. Drench the medicine as seen in the illustration.


- Set the animal on its side on the ground or have an assistant and hold it down, while you drench.


- Tie the upper snout with a piece of rope. Tie the rope to a post; hold it tightly. Drench.


Things needed:

- syringe without the needle, or
- dropper, or
- rice or sorghum straw, or
- plastic straw

An assistant may be needed to hold the chicken.

1. Hold the upper beak with the left thumb (if right banded).
2. Push the lower beak with the right index finger.
3. Administer the medicine.

Solid medicines

Application of solid medicine through the mouth. Examples of solid medicines are boluses, tablets and capsules.



1. Hold the animal by the nostrils.
2. Insert the solid medicine through the side of the mouth.
3. Immediately close the animal's mouth.
4. Slightly massage the throat to ensure that the animal swallows the medicine.

Pigs and poultry

Solid medicines given to pigs and poultry are usually pulverized and mixed with feed or drinking water.

Medicated feed or drinking water

Medicines with objectionable taste and odor are hard to administer. Mask the odor and the taste of the drug in water or feed by adding salt, sugar or molasses.


1. Mix or sprinkle the remedy thoroughly with the feed or water.
2. Add salt sugar or molasses to the mixture.
3. Divide into portions and feed to animal.

Parenteral administration

Some medicines do not work if they are fed to the animal. These medicines have to be injected, depending on the type of medicine, into the muscle (intramuscular), into the blood (intravenous), or under the skin (subcutaneous).

Instruments/things needed for injection:

- syringe.
- needle/s. cotton.
- 70¾ alcohol.


Syringes are used to inject liquid drugs. They are usually scaled in cubic centimeters (cc).


Length and size of needles

The length and size of needle

For large animals

to be used depend on:

1.0 x gauge 16

- the animal's size,

For medium-sized animals

- the animal's age

1.0 x gauge 18

- the body part to be injected.

For small animals

0.5 x gauge 21

Needles can be disposable or non-disposable.

Parts of a syringe

Filling a syringe with undiluted drug

1. Shake the bottle containing the drug. Caution: Always rub the stopper of bottles drugs with a clean cloth or cotton moistened with 70¾ alcohol before injecting the needle into it.

2. Force the needle through the stopper of the solvent.

3. Hold the bottle upside down and fill the syringe with solvent or distilled water.

4. Inject the distilled water into another bottle containing the powdered medicine.

5. Shake until the powdered medicine dissolves completely.

6. Fill the syringe with the dissolved medicine.

7. Push the plunger to remove all air from the sysringe until liquid starts to cane out

8. Inject into the appropriate site of the animal's body.

Another faster way to fill a syringe with dissolved medicine

1. Fill the barrel of the syringe with air by pulling the plunger outward.

2. Push the needle through the stopper.

3. Hold the bottle upside down.

4. Press some air from the syringe into the bottle.

5. Pull the plunger down and suck in some fluid.

6. Continue to pump in this manner until syringe is full. Reminder: Clean and sterilize the syringe and needle after every use. Keep in a clean place.

Cleaning and sterilizing a syringe and needle

Unclean instruments like syringes, needles and forceps can be carriers of microorganisms from a sick animal to a healthy one. One way to avoid or prevent the spread of microorganisms is through proper cleaning and sterilization.

1. Take the syringe apart.

2. Wash every part in tap water and get rid of any trace of blood or dirt.

3. Boil in water for 20 minutes or soak in 1 part chlorine (chlorox) mixed with 7 parts of water.

4. Allow the solution to enter inside the syringe and needle.

5. Dry them in a clean and sterilized pan.

6. Put needle and syringe together; touch only the base of the needle and the bottom of the plunger.

Common ways of giving injection to animals

Intramuscular injection

Most drugs are injected into the muscle because it is easily done.

Any large muscle tissue like the hip or neck can be used for the injection. Use the recommended length and size of needles.

Medicine injected can be oil- or water-based. Medicine injected is rapidly absorbed.


1. Be sure to do the following: —Restrain the animal properly. —Clean and disinfect the injection site.

2. Take the needle off the syringe.

3. Slap the injection site with the back of the hand.

4. Plunge the needle quickly into the muscle.

5. Attach the syringe to the needle. If blood enters the syringe a blood vessel is hit. Do not inject unless you 've hit the right site. Repeat the process until no blood is seen.

6. Inject the drug.

- While pulling the needle out massage the area. It will aid in the absorption of the medicine and reduce leakage through the puncture in the skin

Sites for intramuscular injection




Water buffalo


Intravenous injection

Intravenous injection is done when giving large amounts of drugs. The drug gets into the bloodstream quickly, but this requires extra caution. Only recommended solutions should be injected through the vein. Drugs should be given very slowly. The common sites are the ear and jugular veins.


- Apply pressure on the vein to make it swell so you can find it more easily.

- Push the needle into the vein. When the needle enters the vein, blood will enter the syringe through the needle.

- Take pressure off or release the vein.

- Slowly inject the rest of the content of the syringe.

- Once finished, remove the needle.

- Apply pressure on the site with cotton moistened with 70¾ alcohol.



Common sites for intravenous injection




Water buffalo


Subcutaneous injection (under the skill)

This injection is given directly under the skin. It is painless and easy to administer. It is used only for certain recommended drugs. Common sites for subcutaneous injection are the neck and flank where there is loose skin. Absorption of drug is slow.

Reminder: If large doses are to be given, it is best to inject at several sites.

Procedure for subcutaneous injection

- Choose an area where there is loose skin.

- Raise the loose skin and insert the needle.

- Inject the drug. You should be able to feel the fluid under the skin.

- After injection is completed, massage the site as this aids in the absorption and reduces leakage of the drug.

Reminder: For mass vaccination, lifting a skin fold is not necessary provided the right size of the needle is used.