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 (Fig 1). The pectoral muscles are the only site recommended for IM injections in birds.
Video produced by Dr. M. Scott Echols and narrated by Dr. Susan Orosz.
- Short 25-30 gauge needle
- Isopropyl alcohol (optional)
- 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 visible, pre-existing 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 of 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 30 degrees into the superficial pectoral muscle.
- Aspirate back on the syringe as you would in any species, then administer the medication.
Visit the LafeberVet article Administration of Medication in Birds: Injections for additional information on injections in the avian patient.
Pollock C. Intramuscular injections in birds. December 9, 2010. LafeberVet Web site. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/intramuscular-injections-in-birds/