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RSS By: Steve Cornett, Beef Today

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A Better Syringe

May 26, 2010

By Steve Cornett

We did our spring work this weekend, and I wanted to pass along a tip about a new gizmo. I like gizmos, you know. I prefer gizmos involving duct tape or innovative uses for PVC pipe, but a real, officially engineered, store-bought gizmo is OK, too.

This is a “self-tenting” syringe and we think it worked just like they said it would. Except it didn’t actually “tent,” we think. It just did the subcutaneous injection without tenting. So it’s as easy as giving an intramuscular shot.

I heard about it in a news release from Elanco last week.  

The gizmo was invented in New Zealand:

Elanco likes it, I suppose, because of their educational efforts regarding the use of injectable products, including Micotil. Accidental injections are possible if you’re pinching up skin with your left finger and shooting a nervous calf with a long needle in your right, and especially if you’re trying to hold onto a beer, too.

So far, so good on the need for Micotil in these cows and their babies. But this syringe works for anything up to 12 ml, and I’m trying to do all the sub-q stuff to be a good cow citizen. With a regular syringe, it’s not nearly as easy or quick as the old days with a pistol syringe in each hand, jabbing needles like Roy Rogers used six-shooters.

But we learned that all those intramuscular shots were creating lesions that showed up as yuckies in peoples’ beef steak. So all the good citizen cowmen have moved their IM shots to the neck and gone subcutaneous with everything cleared for it.

This new syringe (if we used it right, and no promises there because I’ve never seen it done right and I presume the instructions in the package were translated from the Chinese or New Zealese, because they’re hard to figure out, and stupid me kept trying to figure out how to use it to make a “tent” like you pinch up) works just like the pistol syringes: You simply stick it up against the skin and pull the trigger. But instead of you sticking a needle deep into the muscle, there is a retractable needle guard which keeps the needle from going too deep, so the vaccine stays between the hide and the muscle.

I tried to find videos of the technique online, but failed. So I made my own with my little Canon pocket camera. (I never did a pocket camera video before, so you may notice there is room for improvement in the video technique. I reckon next, I’ll learn how to turn off the video part before I put the camera away. But you’ll get the gist.)

Anyhow, besides being faster than two-handed tenting, we didn’t break a single needle in this thing. I suppose that would mean you would, at some point, need to change needles, but I’ve never kept a needle straight long enough to know how often you do that. 

I don’t know where you buy these things. Y-Tex is the U.S. distributor for Simcro, but they don’t have them in in stock yet, I guess. I borrowed mine from Mike Simpson, a local friend who works for Elanco. But if I can find them, I’d like to own two by weaning time this fall.

Steve Cornett is editor emeritus of Beef Today. You can reach him via e-mail at


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COMMENTS (2 Comments)

Oh I have GOT to get me one of these........
8:50 AM May 27th
I don't think you are anywhere close to being ready for prime time movie making....I had to in one hand, camera in the where the hell is that new gizmo!!
11:14 PM May 26th

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