Ask Mary Battrell, head veterinarian for Murphy-Brown’s North Carolina hog operations, about injection-site marking syringes, and she’ll tell you about the benefits she’s seen. “The big benefit,” says Battrell, “is that we can be sure that the injection was in the neck muscle. We definitely want to make sure that no injection is given incorrectly.”

The marking syringe gun that her medication crews use applies a paint spot automatically at the same time as it injects. The mark shows within an inch or so of where the needle entered. The mark usually stays on an animal’s hair for three days. However, when cooling misters or sprayers are in use, the paint tends to wash off within 24 hours.

“In the nursery,” explains Battrell, “we inject all pigs with a Mycoplasma pneumonia vaccine. When the job takes more than a day, we use a different color the following day.” That allows crews to keep track of what’s been done.

Color coding vaccines and medications lets her more easily monitor what shots have been given to each group of pigs. Also, because the marks show where the injection was made, she can check at a glance how well a crew did in terms of hitting their mark. This is especially effective in training employees and even keeping veteran employees on track.

“We encourage our contract producers to buy and use marking syringe guns as well,” adds Battrell.