Prevalence and risk factors of injection site lesions in UK beef cattle

Cresswell E, John Remnant, Andrew Butterworth, Wapenaar W

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Objectives: Injectable veterinary medicines are widely used in cattle, and in particular vaccines are used on large numbers of animals in the herd. The formation of injection site lesions (ISLs) is a risk when using injectable products, and has potential consequences for meat quality, animal welfare and beef industry revenue.
Materials and Methods: This study collected carcase observation data in abattoirs to determine ISL prevalence in UK beef animals, which was linked with a questionnaire investigating cattle vaccination techniques amongst UK beef farmers.
Carcases were inspected visually by Food Standards Agency and slaughterhouse staff at both control points and any lesions or abnormal tissue was removed from the carcase. The tissue was labelled with the date and kill number. Where possible a gross morphological description was recorded.
A questionnaire was developed and distributed in paper format and online to cattle farmers in the UK between September and November 2011 using a convenience sample. The questionnaire contained 23 questions about cattle vaccine uptake, and collected data on how the vaccines were stored and administered.
Results: There was a trend (p=0.22) towards a difference in distribution between site of vaccine administration (60% in neck, 33% in rump) and site of lesions observed at the abattoir (42% in neck, 47% in rump)
When asked ‘When administering this vaccine by injection (using e.g. a syringe, vaccinator gun), which of the following apply on your farm?’ 43% of respondents started each vaccination session with a new needle or changed needles when they became broken or blunt.
The ISL prevalence was 4.1%, and the difference between sites being used for vaccination and the distribution of ISLs on carcases suggested that factors other than vaccination were contributing to ISL incidence. Questionnaire responses highlighted deficits in compliance such as site of injection and correct needle usage.
Conclusions: The role of the veterinary surgeon in knowledge transfer is crucial in providing practical injection advice when prescribing vaccines and other veterinary medicines. This presentation will highlight practical factors that can be addressed by veterinary surgeons to reduce ISL formation in beef animals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 29th World Buitarics Congress, Dublin, Ireland, 2016
Place of PublicationDublin, Ireland
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2016


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