Intramuscular Injections in Birds

Introduction

Intramuscular or IM injections in birds are given into the pectoral muscle mass, which consists of superficial and deep pectoral muscles with a prominent fascial plane in between (see below). The pectoral muscles are the only site recommended for IM injections in birds.

 

Video


Video produced by Dr. M. Scott Echols and narrated by Dr. Susan Orosz.

 

Intermuscular injection anatomy overlay

Figure 1. Superficial and deep pactorial muscle intermuscular injection anatomy overlay. Click on image to enlarge.

Equipment needed

  • Short 25-30 gauge needle
  • Isopropyl alcohol (optional)

Step-by-step instructions:

  • With the bird properly restrained, wipe the plumage away from the featherless tract along the ventral midline with isopropyl alcohol to expose the pectoral muscle mass.
  • Avoid any pre-existing visible muscle bruising or other lesions. Intramuscular injections are typically administered in the middle third of the pectoral muscle mass and lateral to the keel that protrudes on the midline. Avoid the cranial portion of the pectorals because the presence of a neurovascular bundle. Caudally, the underlying sternal bone thins to only fibrous connective tissue with the liver located below.
  • Insert the needle at an acute angle measuring less than 30ยบ into the superficial pectoral muscle.

    Intermuscular injection

    Figure 2. Insert the needle at an acute angle measuring less than 30º into the superficial pectoral muscle. Click on image to enlarge.

  • Aspirate back on the syringe as you would in any species, then administer the medication.