a cattle getting vaccinated

What is the Correct Vaccination Site for Cattle?

Beef producers who thrive at what they do are aware that an effective herd health program is needed to achieve and ensure beef quality. A good herd health program must include two things: (1) routine vaccination and (2) injectable antibiotics [as needed].


In this blog, we’ll focus on the appropriate injection sites. Undivided attention in this process is needed as it will greatly affect herd health as well as beef quality.


Injection Sites


One way to ensure that they’re getting their desired quality of expensive cuts is by correct injection administration. And by “correct”, we mean the right location. It is, without exception, that all injections should be administered in the neck in front of the shoulder. As much as possible, try to use vaccines that can be administered subcutaneously (SQ). Another good location for SQ injections is the base of the ear- where it connects with the head.


All intramuscular (IM) injections should be administered in “the triangle” or “the injection zone triangle”. This triangular area is located in the neck above the shoulder (see Figure below). When administering any animal health products on this site, do not inject more than 10 cc and all injections must be spaced at least 4 inches apart. This will lessen the damage around the injection site.


cattle injection zone

Figure 1: Injection Zone Diagram

(Courtesy of Dan Buskirk, Michigan State University)


Apart from ensuring that you’re injecting the vaccine in the correct site, you should also pay attention to the other cattle-processing procedures if you want to be successful in producing high-quality beef product. These include appropriate cattle handling practices, the location where you store the products, right selection of needles, how often to change the needles, as well as maintaining detailed records.