Although widely used as a means of administering substances, particularly injectable anaesthetics, this is an inherently unreliable technique, since inadvertent injection of some material into the gut, abdominal fat and subcutaneous tissues is a relatively frequent occurrence (Steward et al, 1968, Gaines Das and North, 2007)*. For this reason, it may be preferable to use other routes such as subcutaneous or oral administration.
It is not usually necessary to try to sterilize the skin with antiseptics – their use is almost always ineffective and they simply prolong the duration of restraint needed and may cause additional disturbance to the animal.
Material that is irritant or with a high or low pH can cause pain both during and following injection.
As with other routes, if repeated injections of material are needed, consider alternatives such as use of minipumps.
*Gaines Das, R and North, D (2007) Laboratory Animals, 41, 312-320
Steward et al. (1968) Applied Microbiology, 16 (9): 1418-1419.