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Pneumatic Vaccine Injectors for Sheep and Goats
Published: May 12, 2020

You can vaccinate sheep and goats with a new technique.  The Texas A&M AgriLife Team in San Angelo is using a pneumatic injector to vaccinate sheep and goats, which decreases stress on the animals and humans.  They can vaccinate 200 ewes in less than 20 minutes, a volume that would require several hours if you were injecting with a needle.  Jake Thorne with AgriLife Extension indicates the vaccinating gun uses CO2 as a propellant to dispense the vaccine through the animal’s skin via a tiny hole that is 7 times smaller than an 18-gauge needle.  The gun has adjustable pressure for use on lambs or adults.  AgriLife purchased one of the guns to determine the effectiveness so other sheep and goat producers would know if they should invest in the equipment or not. It was shown to be as effective as vaccinating with a needle.  Also, the pneumatic injector is unlikely to transmit disease from animal to animal like a needle can. 

Although it is recommended to change needles between animals to prevent the spread of disease, this is rarely done due to cost and required time in a large herd.  Caseous lymphadenitis and ovine progressive pneumonia have plagued the sheep industry for years, and these diseases can spread between animals if needles are not changed between them.  In the past, animals with this disease were culled to prevent spread of the disease, and many good animals were culled.  A vaccine is available but was not used due to the inoculation labor required in large herds as at least two people were required when vaccinating with a needle, but only one is needed with the pneumatic injector so it is a much faster process.  The pneumatic injector costs about $3,000 so may not be cost effective for small operations, but should pay for itself in large operations.  

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