For treating animals, Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) guidelines for proper injections recommend the use of disposable equipment, including single-use needles, whenever possible. However, if you administer your injections with reusable syringes, this equipment should be heat-sterilized by boiling prior to use. If any disinfectants are used – including alcohol – they must be thoroughly rinsed from equipment because they neutralize vaccine and can chemically react with some antibiotics. If a disinfectant is used, syringes should be thoroughly rinsed with sterile water before use. Sterile water can be purchased. Note, distilled water is not sterile water.
Consult your veterinarian before sterilizing equipment to ensure proper sanitation techniques. Improper sterilization can reduce the effectiveness of future injections and result in infection at the injection site. And, remember, do not contaminate modified live virus products with disinfectants as effectiveness will be decreased or even eliminated.
Here is great instructional video from Dr. Dee Griffin, Great Plains Veterinary Center, Clay Center, NE on how to sterilize reusable syringes.
For more BQA information go to our BQA page at: http://fyi.uwex.edu/wbic/quality-assurance/