Don’t take anything for granted when it comes to proper needle use within your production system. Ask yourself whether you and your employees take the proper steps to minimize broken needles within your herd. Take some time to review procedures, and retrain as necessary.

John Carr, DVM, Iowa State University, provides a few basic steps that can easily fall through the cracks in the day-to-day task of working in a hog building.

1. Start each day with a supply of sharp, new, disposable needles.

2. When injecting a group of healthy pigs, do not use the same needle for more than 10 to 12 pigs (or one litter.)

Note: if Eperythrozoonosis is a problem, needles may not be used on multiple pigs, discuss this with your veterinarian.

3. Never, ever use a blunt needle or reuse a bent needle.

4. Needle usage must not move from a sick pig to a healthy pig.

5. Always use a clean needle to draw vaccine or medication from the bottle.

6. Dispose of used needles (and blades) in a proper sharps container.

7. Return a full sharps container to your veterinarian for safe disposal.