Successful Administration of an Implant begins with the Right Technique

(File Photo)

 This article was written by Gary Sides, PhD, Beef Strategic Technical Services, Zoetis.

Synovex growth implants from Zoetis are valuable tools available that help producers maximize profit potential in every growth stage, but only if administered properly.

Poor implanting techniques can significantly impact how well implants work and can result in poor gains, feed conversion and behavior issues.

Implant defects include improper site, abscessed, walled off, located in ear cartilage, missing due to abscess, pellets missing and/or bunched. There are multiple ways to prevent implanting errors for effective administration and thus optimum performance. 
Almost 35% of implant defects are sanitation related.1 Cleanliness is key to a successful implant program  and preventing issues in the future. The following are some ways to ensure sanitary implanting:
•    Disinfect the needle. Make sure a tray filled with disinfectant and a sponge is ready in the workspace. Cleaning the needle with the disinfectant and sponge between each animal (and after an attempted inserting of the implant where the needle does not penetrate the ear but slides over the skin) reduces implant abscesses.
•    Use chlorhexidine disinfectant. A chlorhexidine solution should be used to scrub dirty ears before implanting and can also be used for cleaning implanting tools as well. Never use iodine or alcohol, and make sure the chlorhexidine solution is mixed fresh daily and replaced when it begins to discolor.
•    Always clean dirty or manure contaminated ears. Use a brush and the chlorhexidine solution to scrub the ear and remove the debris. This helps prevent abscesses forming from needles carrying contamination from the surface.
•    Keep hands and implants clean and dry. Wearing latex or nitrile gloves and cleaning with water or the chlorhexidine solution is an easy way to further ensure cleanliness. Make sure implant cartridges are clean and dry by keeping them in their packaging when not in use and protected from moisture and contamination. 
Taking labor costs and gain potential into consideration, feedlots can lose over $100 per head for every incorrectly implanted animal.2 Make sure everyone on the team has learned these to help get the most out of your implant investment.
•    Know your applicator. Practice loading, unloading, changing/sharpening needles and maintaining a clean implant applicator to prevent errors during the implanting process. This can prevent malfunction of the implant applicator and make the process more efficient. 
•    Train employees. Make sure the entire implant team is trained in implanting. From ear placement to routine checks make sure employees know all aspects of the implanting process. 
•    Handle cattle properly. Calm cattle are easier to handle and reduce unexpected movement while implanting. Use Beef Quality Assurance best practices to properly restrain and work cattle with low stress.                      
Routine checks
After cattle have been implanted, it is important to do routine checks to make sure the implants are working. These checks should be done 15 to 30 days after administration.  

When feeling the implant during a check, evaluate the following:
•    Location. The implant should be in the middle third of the ear at least a finger’s width away from any holes or ear tags. The implant pellet should be placed between the skin and the ear cartilage.
•    Orientation. The implant pellets should be in a straight line, not bunched up or crushed in the ear.
•    Defects. Check if there are any abscesses, and if the implant is walled off or rejected.
For more information on implants from Zoetis that can fit your program, visit
Refer to individual labels for complete directions for use, precautions, and warnings.  Reimplant only if and as directed in labeling.



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