TECHNIQUE

Venipuncture in Cranes (Disease Investigation & Management - Treatment and Care)

Jugular venipuncture, crane. Click here for full-page view with caption. Holding neck for haemostasis after venipuncture. Click here for full-page view with caption. Venipuncture leg, crane. Click here for full-page view with caption. Placing a catheter in the medial metatarsal vein of a crane.  Click here for full-page view with caption. Blood sampling from the jugular vein.  Click here for full-page view with caption. Close-up blood sampling.  Click here for full-page view with caption. Raising the jugular vein for blood sampling.  Click here for full-page view with caption. Raising the jugular vein for blood sampling.  Click here for full-page view with caption. Taking blood from the jugular vein. Click here for full-page view with caption.

Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Management / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords
  • Intravenous injection
  • Blood sampling
Description
  • Three veins are used most commonly for blood sampling cranes. Which is most appropriate will vary depending on circumstances.
  • Generally the jugular vein or median tarsal vein are used for intravenous injection,  particularly for fluid therapy; the brachial vein can also be used in some circumstances. (B115.8.w4)
Right jugular vein

This is the preferred site for taking blood from cranes, particularly when large volumes are needed. Requires three people.

  • One person holds the crane in a normal carrying position (see: Bird Handling & Movement - Holding  & Carrying)
  • A second person, standing to the left of the crane's head, holds the head and neck outstretched and rotated so the right side of the neck is uppermost.
    • Having the neck outstretched along the top of a table can make the blood collection procedure easier.
  • With the other hand, this person applies firm pressure at the base of the neck so that the jugular vein fills with blood.
    • If this pressure is relaxed and then reapplied, it makes it easier to visualise the vein.
  • Wet the feathers with ethanol/isopropyl alcohol  to improve visualisation of the vein.
  • Insert the needle through the skin and into the jugular vein.
  • Collect the sample.
    • If the crane struggles during the collection, the needle can lacerate the wall of the jugular, causing a haematoma; very rarely, this has been fatal.
  • On withdrawing the needle, apply pressure to the jugular vein at the sampling site for at least one minute to prevent haematoma formation.
  • If any haematoma forms, apply pressure over the jugular vein at the site of the haematoma until it is no longer enlarging.
  • After release, watch the crane for 30 minutes for any signs of ill effects - ruffled feathers, enlarged neck, lethargy, collapse

    (B115.8.w4, B703.10.w10, V.w5)

A preferred site for administration of intravenous fluids.

  • The procedure is as above for blood sampling.
  • A small gauge needle (25 gauge 5/8 inch or 26 gauge 3/4 inch) or butterfly catheter may be useful. (B115.8.w4)
  • If repeated intravenous therapy is required, an intravenous catheter (20-23 gauge in adult cranes) can be placed with the crane anaesthetised. (B115.8.w4)
  • After administration of fluids it is important to apply pressure at the venipuncture site for 1-2 minutes to avoid haematoma formation. (B115.8.w4)
Medial tarsal vein

A preferred site for venipuncture. Requires two people.

  • One person holds the crane in a normal carrying position with the legs extended (see: Bird Handling & Movement-  - Holding  & Carrying)
  • The same person applies pressure to the extended leg above the hock joint; the medial metatarsal vein should then become prominent.
  • Grasp the leg below the venipuncture site, clean a small area over the vein with ethanol.
  • With the other hand, insert the needle and withdraw a blood sample (up to 5 mL).
    • Avoid drawing blood too quickly as this will cause the vein to collapse.
    • There is little risk of haematoma formation due to the small subcutaneous space in this area; it is easy to apply a pressure bandage if bleeding occurs.

    (B115.8.w4)

A preferred site for administration of intravenous fluids.

  • The procedure is as above for blood sampling.
  • A small gauge needle (25 gauge 5/8 inch or 26 gauge 3/4 inch) or butterfly catheter may be useful. (B115.8.w4)
  • If repeated intravenous therapy is required, an intravenous catheter (20-23 gauge in adult cranes) can be placed with the crane anaesthetised. (B115.8.w4)
  • After administration of fluids it is important to apply pressure at the venipuncture site for 1-2 minutes to avoid haematoma formation, although haematomas are generally less of a problem at this site. (B115.8.w4)
Brachial vein

This site is less easy to access in conscious cranes due to the difficulty in restraining the crane safely in this position, but may be more useful in an anaesthetised crane in which neck manipulation for jugular venipuncture may interfere with delivery of anaesthetic gases.

  • Have the crane held supine (i.e. on its back), on a flat surface such as the ground or a table, with one wing extended.
  • Have a second person apply pressure over the humerus to improve filling of the brachial (cutaneous ulnar) vein.
  • Clean over the venipuncture site with alcohol, separating the feathers and improving visualisation of the vein.
  • Approaching from the caudal aspect of the wing, insert a needle and collect a blood sample of up to 10 mL.
  • On withdrawing the needle, apply pressure at the venipuncture site for at least a minute.
    • It is common for a small haematoma to form when this site is used.

    (B115.8.w4)

An alternative site for intravenous injection.

  • A small gauge needle (25 gauge 5/8 inch or 26 gauge 3/4 inch) or butterfly catheter may be useful. (B115.8.w4)
  • If repeated intravenous therapy is required, an intravenous catheter (20-23 gauge in adult cranes) can be placed with the crane anaesthetised. (B115.8.w4)
  • After administration of fluids it is important to apply pressure at the venipuncture site for 1-2 minutes to avoid haematoma formation. (B115.8.w4)
Appropriate Use (?)
  • To obtain blood for laboratory tests (haematology, biochemistry, serology).
  • Occasionally, to obtain blood for transfusion to another crane.
    • Take blood for transfusion from the jugular vein. (B703.10.w10)
  • For administration of intravenous therapy, including intravenous fluids.
Notes
  • For parenteral fluid therapy also consider the subcutaneous and intraosseous routes. (B115.8.w4)
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • The maximum safe volume of blood to take from a crane is 1% of body weight i.e. 1mL per 100 g bodyweight. (B115.8.w4)
  • There are risks of the crane being injured during catching and restraint for venipuncture; these are minimised by using experienced personnel.
  • Risks of limb injury are increased when taking a blood sample from veins in the wings or legs. (B703.10.w10)
  • If the crane struggles during the collection, the needle can lacerate the wall of the jugular, causing a haematoma; very rarely, this has been fatal. (B115.8.w4, B703.10.w10)
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers

For intravenous fluid therapy:

  • A small gauge needle (25 gauge 5/8 inch or 26 gauge 3/4 inch) or butterfly catheter may be useful. (B115.8.w4)
  • If repeated intravenous therapy is required, an intravenous catheter (20-23 gauge in adult cranes). (B115.8.w4)
Expertise level / Ease of Use
  • This procedure should only be carried out by an individual with appropriate clinical training and practical experience.
  • In addition, at least one other person is needed to restrain the crane; this person needs to be competent at holding cranes.
Cost/ Availability
  • Inexpensive.
  • Appropriate needles, syringes and test tubes are widely available to veterinary personnel in most geographical locations..
Legal and Ethical Considerations
  • Used needles and syringes must be disposed of properly (needles always into a properly marked sharps container).
  • In some countries there may be legislation restricting the use of this type of technique to licensed veterinarians. For example in the UK: "The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Section 19) provides, subject to a number of exceptions, that only registered members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons may practice veterinary surgery." (See: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Treatment of Animals by Non-Veterinary Surgeons).
Author Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referee  
References B115.8.w4, B703.10.w10

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