& Management / Disease
Investigation & Management / Techniques:
||Before performing any
clinical technique, the associated legal and ethical
considerations should be consulted, knowledge of the potential complications/
limitations/ risk should be gained, and the level
of expertise and qualification required must be ascertained.
- Intramuscular injection can be performed in the conscious or
- General anaesthesia is not required for the technique.
- Intramuscular injection is performed into the orbicularis muscle;
this is the muscle which
acts to contract the hedgehog into a tight ball in the same way as
a 'purse string'.(J15.21.w1,
J60.1.w2) (see: Dermis,
Subdermis and Epidermis - West European hedgehog
Erinaceus europaeus - Appearance- Morphology- Skin-Coat-Pelage (Literature Reports)
for more information about the orbicularis muscle)
- Injection should be performed at the junction between the spine and
hair areas on the ventrolateral aspect of the hedgehog's flank.(J15.21.w1)
- The advantage of intramuscular injection at this site is that it is possible in the conscious
hedgehog when tightly curled into a ball.(J15.21.w1,
- Some authors state that intramuscular injections should not be given
into the "skin muscles of the back".(B288.11.w11)
- Intramuscular injections can be given into the muscles of the thigh.(B156.7.w7,
- This route is only likely to be accessible in the anaesthetised
- Intramuscular injection into the larger muscle bulk of the
orbicularis muscle may be preferred.
- Ensure that all equipment is available prior to starting the
- Ensure adequate restraint of the patient; intramuscular injection can be performed in the conscious or
- Select an injection site without gross contamination
(e.g. visible mud, faeces).
- Cleaning of the site is essential if the
hedgehog is heavily contaminated.
- Preparation of the surgical site is
complicated in comparison with other mammals by the presence of spines.
- Some authors may recommend disinfection of the site with
surgical spirit prior to injection.
- Select an appropriate needle size (gauge and length)
and syringe size for the
- A 23-25 gauge, five-eighths inch hypodermic
needle may be used for intramuscular injection in the hedgehog. (V.w26,
- Insert the needle at an acute angle,
not perpendicular to the skin.
- Draw back on the barrel of the syringe to make certain
that the needle is not in a blood vessel.
- Deliver the injection slowly but steadily, checking for leakage around needle.
- Check the patient for evidence of pain or discomfort if conscious
during the injection, alternatively continue to carefully monitor the
- Withdraw needle slowly upon completion. If leakage
occurs, attempt to apply pressure to the injection site with
cotton wool, although the presence of spines may make this difficult.
- Carefully massage the site, where possible, to ensure
optimal distribution of drugs.
- Check for bleeding from the injection site and apply
pressure to aid clotting if this occurs.
- Clean any excess blood from the area after clotting has
|Appropriate Use (?)
- Intramuscular injection is used for drugs specifically indicated by
- Medications can be quickly and easily administered in
the conscious hedgehog via the intramuscular route.
- Potential good drug absorption.
- Restraint time usually minimal.
- Manufacturer's data sheet recommendations should be followed as to the
recommended route and rate of drug administration (subcutaneous, intramuscular,
- Because of its rich blood supply, the intramuscular route is perceived to be a
route for more rapid absorption of drugs than the subcutaneous site.
|Complications/ Limitations/ Risk
- Small juvenile hedgehogs may not have sufficient muscle mass to accommodate any injections.
- Significant tissue damage may result from intramuscular injections due to volume,
formulation and dosage frequency. Both haematoma formation and necrosis may result.
- Injection sites should be rotated (e.g. alternating sides) to reduce trauma to
any one area.
- Injection may be painful.
- Take care to avoid the sciatic nerve running along the
back of the leg when injecting into the hind limb. (J138.60.w1)
- Care must be taken not to puncture the body wall and
give an accidental injection into the lungs or brown fat bodies. (J138.60.w1)
|Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
- Appropriate sizes of needles and syringes.
- Required drugs.
|Expertise level / Ease of Use
- Procedure should only be
undertaken by an individual with appropriate clinical training and practical experience;
this would usually be someone with veterinary training.
||Not expensive unless
expensive drugs are being administered.
|Legal and Ethical Considerations
||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).
Use of Drugs
- Many drugs are not registered for use in particular species and care should
be taken in their use, with proper regard for possible toxic effects. Consideration should
be give to relevant legislation regarding the use of drugs.
- In the UK, guidelines regarding the use of drugs are set out in the Royal College
of Veterinary Surgeons Guide to Professional Conduct 2000: (see: LCofC1
- RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Choice of Medicinal Products).
||Becki Lawson (V.w26)
||Debra Bourne (V.w5),
Suzanne I. Boardman (V.w6),
Tiffany Blackett (V.w44)