Amongst other things, it’s quite a learning process. It’s not fun either. I was very nervous. A couple of our dogs decided to tussle with one of our ranch cats. Normally this cat gets away (which is pretty good for a 3 legged cat). It didn’t this time but it got in a few licks of its own during the altercation. Apparently it’s outdoorsy life has equipped it for biological warfare because a couple of days after the fight, 2 of the dogs started to display swelling where they’d been scratched or bit (go kitty!)(seriously, the dogs needed to learn better… though I doubt they did…). Since this stuff got worse instead of better we decided to give them a shot of penicillin. The cat did get away by the way, it just normally does that before it gets into a fight.
I really don’t want to hurt my animals. I was definitely afraid I was going to hurt them while giving them shots. Given that I had to re-stick them a few times, I probably did hurt them a bit more than a well done injection would have. Sucks to be the guinea pig. Some lessons learned:
1. Sterilization of your injection area is difficult to impossible to achieve. Go with what you can do.
2. Leaving the medicine in the shot can cause it to dry in the needle and clog it, thus rendering the syringe useless.
3. Discovering #2 above can result in shooting the syringe’s needle across the room while you are trying to figure out what’s wrong.
4. It may take several individuals to hold down the dog for its shot.
5. Dogs appear to have less nerves than people do and seem to be able to withstand multiple needle sticks better than I could.
I had to give two of the dogs penicillin injections over a three-day span. By the end of that I actually got pretty good and the dogs were more tolerant as well. After all, it resulted in getting a treat! They both improved immediately so it appears that the right thing was done. Just more ranch animal drama and first time experiences to go along with it.