Administering Drugs By Injection

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As a cat owner you will rarely have to inject your own cat. Most conditions are treated with tablets, capsules, fluids, creams and ointments or drops. The vet will often start a course of treatment by injecting a drug though. The only condition in which you, as an owner, will be required to inject your own cat on a regular basis is Diabetes Mellitus.

Injections can be given by different routes. You will normally be trained, by a member of the veterinary practice, to inject your own cat by the 'subcutaneous' route, which means the drug is administered under the skin through the needle. The injection can be given in several areas on the body but the most common one is in the neck or scruff of the cat. It is done by lifting a fold of skin lightly from the underlying tissue with one hand, while holding the syringe, like a pencil, in the other hand. The needle is directed towards the skin fold under an angle of approximately 45°. The needle is pushed through the skin by putting pressure on the syringe barrel rather than the plunger itself. After the needle has penetrated the skin, the plunger is depressed to empty the syringe. The whole syringe is then withdrawn and the area of application is rubbed lightly.

The injection should not be painful to the cat. The tissue under the skin is not very sensitive and the needles used are very sharp and thin. Most cats will not notice the injection at all. Sometimes you can take the cat's mind off the injection by giving some food at the same time. Ask the vet if this is possible in your cat's case. You may have to ask someone to hold the cat while you give the injection.

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