Directions Of Use
Oral Drenching Cattle:
Using an oral drench gun attached to the back of the operator, drenches which are in a pack worn on the back are administered down the throat of the animal.
The operator must put the cows head in a head bail or crush and use one hand to pry open its mouth and the other to slowly release the drench into the throat.
Oral drenching can cause problems if the drench is administered to the wrong part of the throat causing the drench to go into the lungs.
This could potentially kill or make a cow seriously ill.
The trachea leading to the lungs is located at the middle-back of the throat this is where the lungs are located.
The oesophagus is in the back left and this is where the stomach is located and where the drench should be administered.
Care must be taken not to damage the tongue, gums or throat.
Oral Drenching Sheep & Goats:
There are many products that can be given to animals as an oral drench. You will need a vessel to hold the drench liquid and a nozzle to get the liquid into the animal’s mouth. You will also need a good head bail or crush to hold large animals still, or a good race where you can drench smaller animals such as sheep or goats. The final thing is making sure you have the appropriate amount of product for the number of animals you are going to drench and a measuring device to ensure you administer the correct volume.
The majority of drenching is done using a drench gun that is filled through a tube from a pack worn on your back. The gun is refilled automatically each time you finish drenching one animal and release the drench-gun handle. There are also single-dose drench guns that you fill by putting the nozzle directly into the liquid and sucking it back into the gun.
Drench guns are designed to reduce the chance of drench being administered into the wrong place and to reduce chances of physical damage to the animal’s throat. The main risks are that drench may be delivered into the lungs via the trachea or “windpipe”, or the throat is damaged due to rough handling. It is possible to drench an animal using a standard syringe, but this increases the risk of the drench going down the windpipe, as it is harder to position a standard syringe at the right place in the mouth.
Drench products in the lungs can kill an animal, so it is important to understand the anatomy of the animal you are drenching to avoid this. In most livestock, the oesophagus is at the left side of the throat (note that this is from the animal’s perspective, not yours), which is where you want the drench to go. The opening to the trachea which leads to the lungs, is in the middle of the back of the throat.
- You should restrain the animal’s head before putting the drench gun in its mouth.
- This may mean putting a cow into a head bail or crush, or straddling a sheep so you can hold it with your legs over its rib region.
- You can then hold the lower jaw with one hand and use the other hand to hold the drench gun.
- The drench gun should be inserted into the mouth either from the left or right side, rather than straight in front.
- It should then be placed over the back of the tongue and the drench gradually administered.
- Ideally this should all occur while the animal’s head is held up to avoid the drench running out of the mouth.
- When the drench hits the back of the animal’s throat, it will automatically swallow, reducing the risk of the drench going into the trachea.
Always administer the appropriate suggested dose. The logic that “if a single dose is good, twice the dose must be twice as good” is entirely untrue for veterinary medicines. In some cases, a double dose of a product may kill an animal. For this reason, prior to giving a drench, you should first check that the dose on the drench gun is accurately calibrated by measuring the volume that is delivered. To do this, squirt 10 doses into a measuring container and then dividing the total by 10 to find the individual dose. If you are drenching many animals during a day you should do this procedure at each rest break to ensure the dose remains consistent.
It is also important to follow any label instructions for products. For example, an animal may need to be penned without feed for a certain time prior to the administration of the drench.
Complying with these directions will allow the drench to give you and your animals the best outcome.