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Syringes and Injections Posts from the Diabetes Forum about syringes and giving injections

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Old 02-13-2009, 02:43 PM
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Question Shot-time Dilemmas-Your Experiences & Fixes

Anyone who's had to face a problem at shot-time, your personal experiences and how you solved them would help us out with Princess!

Your answer may be an answer for her too.

Old 02-13-2009, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: Shot-time Dilemmas-Your Experiences & Fixes, PLEASE!

I believe you use Vetsulin? I don't know which syringe your are using, but Cara started out with the U-40 1ml/cc 28Gx1/2" suringes that were supplied by Caninsulin/Vetsulin. We started having problems and switched to Ulti-Care 29 Gauge syringe. Huge different!! No more wiggeling and crying! Now I have switched to the .5cc-29Gx1/2" and things are even better. This syringe has a shorter barrel, easier to handle. Maybe something to think about with a small dog?
Old 02-13-2009, 04:36 PM
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Default Re: Shot-time Dilemmas-Your Experiences & Fixes, PLEASE!


You bring up a good point about the smaller syringes being easier to handle. Never realized the larger ones could be a problem because we used the 3/10 cc syringes for the U 100 insulin and the same 1/2 cc's from Ulti you're now using for Cara.

Thanks for bringing this up!

Old 02-13-2009, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: Shot-time Dilemmas-Your Experiences & Fixes, PLEASE!

I think that using a thinner needle with a shorter barrel might really help. And although I have no actual experience giving shots, I do remember reading about using "pretend shots" to get a dog used to the idea and not afraid of shots.

Pretend shots would be pretending to give a shot using an empty (no insulin) syringe that has the needle removed, or maybe the cap still on. You would know it's a pretend shot even if the dog doesn't, so you'd also probably be much calmer doing the pretend shots. It would also be really quick to do, because you aren't really trying to give a shot and she won't feel any of the "negative feelings", like frustration for example, from you that she might be feeling when you have been trying to give the real shot, so maybe that would also help to calm her down.

With enough repetition the dog might very quickly learn to just associate the (pretend) shot with getting a treat right afterwards. Sort of like "if I sit, or give my paw, I will get a treat". And when she is no longer fearful about the pretend shots, maybe she'd actually sit still for a real shot?

Hopefully you'll get more ideas soon!
Old 02-13-2009, 06:36 PM
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Default Re: Shot-time Dilemmas-Your Experiences & Fixes, PLEASE!

Thanks for starting this up Kathy, I'm really anxious to hear everyone's methods/ideas.

Right now we have her on Vetsulin with the .5cc, 29, 1/2" needles and it just does not seem to be working with her. I mean I stabbed myself twice the other day trying to inject her and it stung like a b***h! (That and I started bleeding....)

Anyways I think I am going to start the pretend method thing. Today during lunch I went and kept grabbing some of her skin like we would usually do during the shot and she didn't seem to move. I think alot of it though was that I didn't have a needle in hand. So what I did was grabbed a needle (cap on) and kept grabbing some of her skin to get used to it, and pretended as though I was just smelling her skin (like for insulin so that she would get distracted/or at least know it was not to give a shot) and she didn't seem to mind.

So I think tonight I will "pretend inject" her first/ or pretend that I'm just smelling her skin and see if it goes easier that way. Fingers crossed.......

(Ideally I'd like to go to a 30/31 needle, but I know they only come in small length needles so there is more possibility that the insulin doesn't get all the way distributed, but I really just want something that is going to be less painful for her. The thing is she is a much smaller dog then most here so I know she feels it more. And honestly for anyone I'm sure they wouldn't enjoy getting pricked twice a day for the rest of their life, so I want to try and make it as comfortable for her as I can.)

Sorry I think I'm just in a sort of grumpy mood today, that and my eye hurts.
Old 02-13-2009, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: Shot-time Dilemmas-Your Experiences & Fixes, PLEASE!

I know of someone who got her dog started to accept blood testing by using a "pretend" method. She used the tip of an opened paper clip and started a routine of touching her in the area she hoped to eventually do blood testing on.

I think if you can get going with doing shots without a lot of problems, you can switch to the smaller gauge needles and do the conversion method if you want.

My worry was that I had a guy who was very excited and happy when it was time for hs shots (thinking about roast beef after it), and I was personaly glad to have the longer 1/2" needle so I was sure I would get all of the insulin where it was meant to go.

I think if all of those who've had shot problems and solved them talk about them, one or more of their answers can help you both!

Old 02-13-2009, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: Shot-time Dilemmas-Your Experiences & Fixes, PLEASE!

If pretend injecting (with a real syringe or even a paper clip) just a few times before doing the real shot doesn't work, maybe try doing a bunch of pretend shots at times when she's not going to get a real shot right away.

Do it like as if you are teaching her a new trick. If the dog does the thing (give paw, sit, or in this case, pretend injection) they get a treat. Can be green bean or anything ... a really little treat will do.

Then repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat. And repeat again! She'll eventually get the idea that sitting quietly and getting a shot = a treat is coming. And if you can be calm while doing it, pretend or real shot, that would probably help, too.

I'm sure you'll soon be getting other ideas from experienced folks who had the same issues when they first started.
Old 02-13-2009, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: Shot-time Dilemmas-Your Experiences & Fixes, PLEASE!

Just have a minute to post but would like to help. Lady is a 15lb Australian Terrier who can be very hard to handle. For her injection she is on a counter or table on a specific pad. (She has already eaten her wet food that is in her dish on the floor.) When she is on the pad, laying down, her dry food is in a small measuring cup with a few pieces of chicken on top. While she is eating the food I give the shot.
For the first 2 years she had Vetsulin(Caninsulin) but she has recently been switched to NPH. At the end of the Vetsulin she was getting 16iu's each injection and it still wasn't keeping her bgs regulated. We're getting better control with the NPH and I have less insulin in the syringe and the syringes are smaller. I have small hands with short fingers so wasn't going to be able to inject more than the 16iu's of the canine insulin. We were using the Ulticare syringes..1/2in, 29 gauge, .5cc. for the Vetsulin.
The syringes for the NPH are still the 29 gauge but I think they're just .3cc. Not close to them right now to be able to check.

It took months to come up with this arrangement but has worked for 21 months. Every once in awhile she will fight the shot but I just take away the food till she settles back down. Sometimes I think that her skin is tender where I'm making the tent so I move my fingers a little. I have 4 spots that I rotate around when doing the shot. That took a couple of months to work out too!!
Hope you have an easy time adjusting to the routine and I'll check back when I can to see how you're making out. If I can do this--anyone can!!
Wishing you all the best,
Jo-Ann & Lady
Old 02-13-2009, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Shot-time Dilemmas-Your Experiences & Fixes, PLEASE!

The short needles should easily deliver the insulin under Princess's skin, so you could go ahead with that, but I"d be inclined to wait till you solve the basic problem of Princess's terror. I really like your idea of doing the pretent-shots, and I'm delighted you tried it at midday today!

Keep up the good work!

Remember that both you and the dog have to learn. Remember that YOU need to be calm, or Princess certainly won't be! Remember to breathe - dogs notice when we hold our breaths, and anticipate "the worst."

Once you've been successful with a few injections, then you could turn your attention to the possibility of using the thinner, shorter needles - reports from those who made this change are that it's like night and day.

Keep us posted, please! I think you have the entire forum rooting for you and Princess!

Fri, 13 Feb 2009 17:58:43 (PST)
Old 02-13-2009, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: Shot-time Dilemmas-Your Experiences & Fixes, PLEASE!

I can't contribute any personal experience as Chris was never a problem to inject. I will try to pass on, though, various techniques that I have seen work with dogs over the five years I've been involved in forums...

I would try the different syringes - thinner needle and shorter needle - and see if it helps - you really don't have anything to lose. It could be the long needles are too long and going in too far and poking her on the other side. Or maybe she just prefers a different needle length just because. Certainly is worth a shot... no pun intended! The SubQ space is not necessarily all that far down.

The pretend shot is an excellent suggestion. Thank you Cushy!

Does she eat kibble? If so, you could actually use her meal as training/conditioning treats and give her a pretend shot and then reward her with some of her meal - give her 20 pretend shots in one sitting! And mix that up with some other tricks so it doesn't get totally focused on the shots. That way, you wouldn't be adding something new or extra into her diet. And pretend shots at various times throughout the day so it doesn't only happen at meal time and could be rewarded with something other than food.

You do have to consider the "playing you" angle. If it's accomplishing a goal of Princess', she's going to keep it up. You are assuming, at least emotionally, that the shots hurt her and it's been suggested that she's scared. That may or may not be true. It sounds like Princess has not often had to adapt her behavior to your training - you have adapted the routine to fit Princess' demands, such as with potty training. So she's used to having her way. That was okay until you bumped into something that she has to have to survive. It will take a pretty big shift in your relationship with Princess in terms of who is in charge if this is the case.

It's a good thing nail trimming isn't necessary for survival or Chris would have passed away at an early age!

The question is whether this is a "control" issue or an actual "fear" issue. No amount of conditioning ever got Chris over his aversion to having his nails trimmed - it was the only thing that would cause him to try to nip - while practice eventually made his lip tests really easy. I personally suspect that in Princess' case it is more of a "control" issue.

I have seen dogs where the person just deciding "we ARE going to do this" made a difference.

The time pressure will not help anyone so you may need to figure that Princess' schedule may be a bit off for a while if the pretend shots don't do the trick. And there may be times when you just have to back off and let the shot go for fifteen or twenty minutes - before everybody is a wreck - and try again. Or maybe even skip one - not a great option but neither is a bloody adrenaline soaked battle that fuels everyone's anxiety!

Injecting her in a different place or a different position or a different style - on the floor, on the couch, in her bed, in the sink, held tightly, not held at all, speaking soothingly, not saying anything, being stern, being matter of fact, baby talking... Every dog is different and none of us can tell you which, if any, of these changes would help Princess - I've seen all of them work with some dogs. You will have to draw on your experience with her and probably just plain experiment.

It's like they say about socializing puppies... expose her to shots in lots of different kinds of settings so they aren't tied to that one time and place and see if one particular place/technique/hold or no hold seems to work better for her.

And if it's that she's always called the shots (there goes the pun again...), could be none of them will work and only a change who's in charge will do it.

Even plain old passage of time may make the situation better and you can step back emotionally and figure that you will get it worked out but it doesn't have to be all fixed today. Your mental approach does have a big effect.

Think about what motivates Princess and use that to your advantage if you can. Jack, for example, does not like to be petted, so stroking would not be a positive reinforcement for him. A snack or play time would and sometimes he really needs a boundary set on his behavior rather than a reinforcement.

And let yourself off the hook... it will come with time and experimenting with different techniques and conditioning... maybe a little bit of all of those things.

For right now, try everything and see what works with Princess. And be kind to yourself!

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