Choosing The Right Applicator

Having the right applicator whether injecting, drenching or pouring on is critical to overall good treatment result. The risks using the wrong applicators are many and following a few small guidelines can improve your animal health practice.

Good practice will eliminate things such as:
Over dosing – Wasting money
Under dosing– Risk of resistance and effectiveness of the product
Incorrect administration – Ineffectiveness of the product, animal injury
Less than ideal cleanliness – Spreading disease
Malfunctioning or inaccurate dosing – Non maintained applicators

Applicators for Drenching

Oral administration, especially viscous product is a challenging job requiring proper handling, technique and equipment. There are range of products on the market today in both plastic and metal with various dose sizes and nozzle accessories. Always refer to the drench manufactures recommended dosage, applicator and application technique. Some quick tips to keep in mind:

  1. Size Matters – choose a drencher that is close as possible to the maximum dose that you will need, this insures the highest accuracy and comfortable handling
  2. Nozzles – check the length based on the animal size
  3. Priming – Setting the barrel on maximum dosage allows easier elimination of any air in the system during set up which you want to evacuate, prime than adjust downward if needed
  4. Accuracy test –Set the required dose and test the accuracy of the drencher with a scaled measuring cup before going to work
  5. Maintenance – After working, clean and disinfect the drencher according to the manufacturer’s instructions and always oil the o-rings with food grade oil, to keep the piston running smooth. Dry and store in a clean location.

Emphasis needs to be placed on care. So often, people are in a hurry when work is done that they forget to clean and care and the next time the drencher is needed it does not work properly which costs more time and money than the 5 minute cleaning job. Many of todays drench products are viscous and  harsh on o-rings making it more critical to keep the o-rings clean and lubricated in between use.

Applicators for Injecting

Keeping animals healthy is a priority, we spend a lot of money on vaccines and herd health programs, part of this should be choosing a quality vaccinator that does the job correctly. A compromise on the syringe to save a few pounds may end up costing a lot more. Choosing the appropriate vaccinator consideration should be given to the following points:

  • Bottle Mount or Draw off – A general rule of thumb for comfort is 100ml and smaller use a bottle mount, 200ml and larger go for a draw off connection
  • Draw off syringes – Using a bottle holder on arm or waist eliminates the bottles from getting in the way of work or tubing getting caught up with the animals and loss of product
  • Protecting the Bottle – When using Glass bottles consider a syringe with a basket for added protection
  • Bottle Neck Sizes – There are variety of shapes and size bottles in the market, most tend to have either 20mm, 30mm or 33mm necks. Before you go out to vaccinate verify you have a syringe that fits your bottles. Many syringes are packaged with only one connection size
  • Dosage – As with drenching, choose a syringe that is as close to the maximum dose you will be giving for accuracy. The further the dose setting is away from maximum dose, the less accurate the syringe will be. Refer to instructions on adjustment settings, some syringes are to the end of the plunger others to the o-ring
  • Bottle Set Up – to avoid small pieces of bottle bung getting stuck in the vaccinator, prior to connection, it is recommended to pre-puncture the bung with a clean needle. Use this ‘pilot’ hole as a base to insert the draw off spike or bottle mount spike.
  • Priming – Always prime on maximum and dose test into a scaled measuring cup to verify accuracy


Wynnstay stock a large range of disposable and reusable needles to suit your every need – visit us in store for more information.

Gauge Length (inches) Type Animals
14 1 IM Cattle, Horses
14 1.5 IM Cattle, Horses
16 1 IM Cattle, Horses, Pigs
16 1 IM Cattle, Horses, Pigs
18 0.75 IM Calves, Piglets
18 1 IM Cattle, Horses, Pigs, Sheep, Goats
18 1.5 IM Cattle, Horses, Pigs, Sheep, Goats
20 0.5 IM Piglets
20 1 IM Horses, Pigs, Sheep, Goats
20 1.5 IM Horses, Pigs, Sheep, Goats
16 0.5 SQ Cattle, Horses
16 0.75 SQ Cattle, Horses
18 0.75 SQ Cattle, Horses, Pigs, Sheep, Goats
20 0.5 SQ Horses, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Fowl

Keep track of needles before and after working. Count the number of needles to be used for treatment. Count the needles again when the job is done to ensure all needles are accounted for. Change needles, as needed, to ensure sharpness and cleanliness. If you drop a needle, find it and dispose of it properly. Do not straighten and reuse bent needles. Dispose of used needles and other “sharps,” such as knife blades and scalpels properly and according to regulations to prevent environmental contamination and potential injury to animal caretakers, waste handlers, other livestock and pets.

Cleaning your Applicator:

Always refer to the manufactures guidelines. Most manufacturers recommend the following procedure for cleaning your applicators:

  1. Rinse thoroughly with a hot water & soap mix
  2. Rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water
  3. Remove the applicator from container, wrap cloth around the handle and pump it dry
  4. Lubricate the O-ring with a food grade oil (Petroluem based products harden the piston)
  5. Store in a clean dry place

In summary, whether you are administering oral, topic or injectables fit the applicator for the purpose, take time to care and clean. Following these basic steps will insure that treatments are effective and  efficient. Reusable applicators with care will last for many thousand treatment cycles. For more information, please contact your local Wynnstay representative or visit your local store.

Written by: Ceri Jones | Sheep & Beef Co-ordinator | Wynnstay Group Plc

Information provided by Agrihealth

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