Different Routes/Methods Of Drug Administration In Animals

Different Routes/Methods Of Drug Administration In Animals


Local or topical treatment

This is the application of powders or ointments to surface, the installation of the drug into eyes or ears, infusion of intra-mammary preparation into the udder and insertion of pessaries into the uterine lumen.

Oral administration of the drug 

Remedies for oral administration include solution suspension, mixtures, capsules, tablets, powders granule, bolus, etc.

Administration of tablets in dogs through oral route –


·       The upper the jaw of dog is held by the left hand.

·       The tablet is kept between the second and third fingers.

·       Keeping the lower jaw of the dog in a downward direction, the tablet is placed inside the mouth

Passing of stomach tube in dogs

The stomach tube in the case of dogs is a flexible, firm, and rubber plastic tube. The length of the tube is 3 feet.


1) To administer high volume liquid medicine.

2) To administer the bitter drug.

3) To wash the stomach in the poisoning of food.

4) To know the patency of the alimentary tract of foreign loges in the alimentary tract.


·       Initially, the dog is approached either from the left or from the right side.

·       Generally, the upper jaw is lifted with the help of the left hand, and with the right hand, the tube is held above from the end.

·       Then the tube is slowly introduced through the mouth. If an obstruction is felt tube should be drawn up immediately.


·       Tube should be lubricated by paraffin to avoid injury.

·       Tube should be introduced very slowly.


Administration of liquid medicine in dog

·       Liquid medicine should be administrated very carefully so that it can not bite the hand.

·       To avoid this mouth is tied with rope.

·       Then a pouch-like hollow space is formed by stretching the cheek portion with the left hand.

·       Finally the liquid medicine is administered slowly on hollow space.

Enema in Dog

It is the process by which liquid medicine is administered through the rectum with the help of an enema pump. It is not generally used in large animals.

Use of enema:

·       As purgatives

·       It is used sometimes for giving electrolyte and fluid therapy


Drenching of medicine in ruminants -

Drenching is the method of administering liquid medicine through the mouth, with the help of drenching bottle (plastic or metal or bamboo stick.)


1) To administer a large amount of liquid medicine

2) Oral fluid therapy in case of calves and kids.


·       Animals the head is firmly held and slightly raised, the mouth of the bottle is inserted into the corner of the mouth and its content gradually emptied.

·       If an animal become restless or begins to cough or if the fluid runs out of the mouth, treatment must be stopped and head is lowered to prevent inhalation of the drug.


Administration of drug by stomach tube -

It is the method that is also used to administer - 

·       large volumes of fluid

·       irritant substances or drug

·       that have obnoxious taste

Stomach tubes are made of rubber or thick soft plastic 1.5 to 3.0 cm in diameter. They are usually easy to introduce through the mouth provided the head is held well and provided the mouth is held open with a gag.


It is prepared with a base like mollases.


1) It is used in the case of respiratory tract infection.

2) It is used to increase the sialoguage effect

3) To administer bitter drug thus the procedure is commonly practiced.


Administration of drug by sub-cutaneous route -

The s/c route is used mainly in large animal practice. It is the route providing relative alternative to i/m route. Sometimes small animals are also treated by this route.

Site of injection -

S/c injection may be given in any loose skin through any region of the body. Generally, it is given in the skin of the neck region of all animals.


1) The subcutaneous injection route is chosen when slow and continuous absorption of a drug is required.

2) Large amount of drug can be administered.

When the vein is not raised properly s/c route is preferable.



1) Drug with oil base or which is insoluble in tissue cannot be given by S/c route

2) Drug, which causes irritation, should not be given by subcut



Method of subcutaneous injection

1) Needle and syringe are sterilized

2) Needle should be sharp and fine.

3) Site of injection should be swabbed with spirit or alcohol

·       With thumb and finger, skin is picked up and needle is inserted into the s/c space by a sharp thrush.

·       Free end of the needle is moved to ensure that it has not entered into the muscle.

·       After pushing the drug needle is drawn carefully and the site is swabbed with alcohol or spirit.

Precaution -

·       In one site more than 50 ml of drug should not be injected.

·       Hypertonic solutions should not be used by this route as this may cause edematous swelling in that areas.


Administration of drug by intramuscular route -

It is one of the valuable route for liquid medicine. The peak concentration of drug usually obtained within 30 min.

Indications –

An i/m injection is used

·       For relatively irritant drug

·       For drug whose rate of absorption from the s/c route would be inadequate

·       For the administration of depot preparation eg. iron dextran etc.


Site of injection:

Cattle, sheep and goat - Gluteal muscle

Horse - Neck muscle (brachiocephalic and sternocephalicus) 

Pig - Neck region

Dogs - Semi-tendinous and semi-membranous.

Method -

1) A suitable site is swabbed with spirit or alcohol

2) Needle must be sharp and the needle should be inserted into the muscle to the right angle of the skin by a quick stabbing motion in large animals

3) The syringe is then attached to the needle and piston of the syringe is slightly withdrawn to make sure that it has not entered into the vein.

4) Then the drug is pushed slowly and a needle is withdrawn carefully and site of injection is swabbed with spirit or alcohol.



1) Should not be used in meat producing animals for 3 weeks prior to marketing especially irritating preparation.

2) Not more than 20 ml should be administrated at a site in the adult animals.



1) Over dose will cause pressure to small blood vessels so nutrition supply to the tissue will be hampered.

2) Lameness occurs due to injury of local nerves.


Administration of drug through I/V route

I/V injection of the drug means the drug is injected directly into the blood vessels. The blood level of the drug is higher than those obtained from equivalent dose of same drug given through i/m, s/c or oral route.



1) In emergency treatment

2) When a rapid effect is required (Ca borogluconate in milk fever)

·       When the drug is too irritant for administration by any other route.

·       For very precise dosage control eg, sodium pentobarbitone anaesthesia.

·       For long term administration by intravenous drip.


Site of injection

Cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, horse - Jugular vein

Dog - Cephalic and recurrent tarsal vein.



1) The vein at the injectable site is raised by arresting the flow of blood to the heart.

2) Then the site of injection is swabbed with spirit or alcohol. 3) Then needle is inserted by a thrush into the vein in large animal or obliquely at an angle of 30° in a small animal.

·       If needle enters in to the vein blood comes in a jet motion.

·       Then injectable solution is pushed slowly.


1) Chances of acute toxic reaction.

2) Repeated injection in a particular site may lead to phlebitis.

Precaution -

1) Injection should be given very slowly

2) Injectable solution should be taken to body temperature

3) No air bubble should be inside the syringe.


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By- Dr. Jitendra kumar sahu (B.V.Sc & A.H.)

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