Using disposable needles and syringes is always recommended to anytime you give injections to livestock. Horses should definitely be injected only with disposable syringes and needles, and new disposable syringes and needles should be used for every injection. This is also a good idea for cattle injections but due to the large volume of animals, some cattle producers prefer to use reusable syringes and needles. Today on Texas Vet News I am going to talk about cleaning and sterilizing those needles and syringes for those owners who choose to use them.
The best method of sterilizing reusable needles and syringes is by boiling in hot water prior to use. If you clean the syringes with any kind of disinfectant or soap, it is critical to thoroughly rinse the syringes and needles with sterile water before use. Sterile water is different from distilled water as distilled water can contain bacteria that could lead to infection. Rinsing is required because if any foreign material remains in the syringe or needle, it may inactivate the vaccine and all the time and money spent on vaccination will be wasted.
So depending on the number of animals you are vaccinating and the time you have available, you can decide if you want to clean and re-sterilize syringes or simply use disposable ones and throw them away after use. If you have time to clean and boil syringes, it may be worth it. Otherwise, it is more likely to be just as cost effective in the long run to use disposable syringes and needles. Certainly, there are laws some states in about disposal of sharp objects and you do not want to simply throw these sharps in the trash. Contact your veterinarian as many times they can help you with disposal of sharp objects.