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Care Guide

About Care Guides[x] These care guides are written to help your clients understand common conditions, tests, and procedures, as well as to provide basic information about pet care. They are based on the most up-to-date, documented information, recommendations, and guidelines available in the United States at the time of writing. Pharmaceutical product licensing, availability, and usage recommendations are based on US product information. Use the Download Handout button to generate a PDF for printing or e-mailing to your clients.

Injectable Medication

    • Some medications can only be administered by injection and must be given by a trained veterinary professional.  
    • Your veterinary care team will be glad to address any questions or concerns you may have about the injectable medication your pet is receiving.
    • If your pet has any problems after receiving an injection, notify your veterinarian right away.

    Why Does My Pet Need Injectable Medication?

    Certain medications, such as insulin, can only be administered by injection. Some injections can be given at home after owners have received necessary instructions. However, in some cases, an injectable medication must be given by a veterinarian or trained veterinary professional.

    Examples of injections that are given by veterinary professionals include:

    • Chemotherapy
    • Certain antibiotics
    • Sedatives
    • Medication to treat heartworm disease (in dogs)

    How Are Injectable Medications Given?

    • Injectable medications can be given the following ways:
    • Direct injection into a vein (known as intravenous [IV] injection)
    • Injection through an intravenous catheter
    • Injection into a muscle (known as intramuscular [IM] injection)
    • Injection directly under the skin (known as subcutaneous [SC orSQ] injection)

    Some injectable medications can be given on an outpatient basis. In other cases, your veterinarian may recommend that your pet remain at the veterinary office for a period of observation after an injection is given. In some cases, blood work before or after an injection may be recommended. 

    Some injections are only given once, but others need to be repeated according to a schedule. If your pet must receive medication injections on a particular schedule, it is very important to maintain this schedule and notify your veterinarian if a scheduled injection must be postponed.

    What Should I Do if I Have Concerns About My Pet’s Injectable Medication?

    Your team of veterinary professionals will be glad to answer any questions you may have about the injectable medication your pet is receiving. Any concerns about side effects, pain, and expected outcome after treatment should be discussed so that you understand what is happening with your pet.

    If your pet has any problems after receiving an injection, notify your veterinarian right away. In some cases, an alternative medication or treatment schedule may be possible.