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Document created: May 2022
Author: Gemma May
Approved by: Ian Roper
Blood Sampling
Protocol for Vet Techs
The purpose of this protocol is to allow the vet tech to carry out blood sampling under either the
direct and continuous supervision of a veterinary surgeon of Westpoint Farm Vets or, if appropriate,
with a veterinary surgeon elsewhere on site in a supervisory capacity.
Species covered: Cattle, Sheep, Goats
Health and safety: The vet tech will work in accordance with the health and safety policy.
When performing a dynamic risk assessment, it is at the vet tech’s discretion to not continue
if there are significant risks to the health and safety of themselves, the animals, the farm
employees or public.
The vet tech;
must use any equipment available that is designed to reduce risks while performing the task
in hand, provided it is well maintained, in good working order and fit for purpose;
must be able to use the handling and other safety equipment provided; must be aware of
the dangers when handling livestock and be directly and continuously supervised until they
are competent;
must be able to work calmly with the animals, without displaying impatience or utilising
unnecessary force;
must be in good health and properly trained in safe work methods.
VetPartners Documents relating to this policy.
Cattle handling risk assessment
Cattle handling guidance
Health and Safety policy statement
Accident reporting category guidance
Biosecurity in practice
Needlestick injuries in veterinary practice
Emergency procedures SOP sharps injury
Document created: May 2022
Author: Gemma May
Approved by: Ian Roper
Restraint:
Adult or large cattle - To be secure in a crush with heads restrained in a yoke to prevent
them moving backwards, a bar (side application or swing-down) can also be placed behind
the back legs. A halter may be required to keep still the head if taking the sample from the
jugular.
Calves – Ideally the calf should have its head secure in a headstock. If a headstock is not
available, ensure the comfort of the calf and minimise distress, back the calf into a corner
using your body to hold them against the two supporting walls, ideally, place your front leg
slightly in front of the calf so it can’t push forward, pull the head around toward you and
hold it in place. Alternatively, and if the calf is not too tall, you could also straddle them
providing you can maintain a safe and secure footing, then follow the above guidance to
restrain the animal’s head.
Sheep – Use a race where possible, if not, to ensure the comfort of the sheep and minimise
distress, back the animal into a corner using your body to hold them against the two
supporting walls, if able place your front leg slightly in front of it so it can’t push forward, use
your arm to pull the head around toward you and hold it in place.
Goat – as with sheep.
Be mindful of horns where applicable, and to not exert too much force on horns of sheep and
goats in particular, as they may detach. Take care not to cover the nose of small ruminants as
they are obligate nasal breathers and this will cause significant distress.
Technique: When dealing with smaller numbers of animals the vet tech may wish to clip the area to
locate the vein.
Jugular (cattle including calves, sheep, and goats)– Wearing gloves, select the appropriate
vacutainer needle, needle holder and collection tube (red, green, grey or purple depending
on what you are testing for). Screw the shorter part of the needle into the plastic vacutainer
holder leaving the cap on the sharp end until you are ready to use.
Now hold the blood collection tube in the palm of your dominant hand and the tube holder
complete with uncapped needle between your thumb and forefinger.
With your non dominant hand placed in front of the animal’s throat, use your thumb to
palpate the jugular grove to locate the vein, once located apply firm pressure in the groove
to raise the vein. The vein will fill above your thumb and you should be able to see or
palpate this, it may not be so clear if the animal is dehydrated.
Once you are confident that you have sufficiently raised the jugular vein, hold the needle at
a position of 45 degrees to the skin directly covering it. Following the direction of the vein,
push the needle upwards (towards the head) into it, keep applying the pressure with your
non dominant hand to ensure the vein remains raised.
With the needle in the vein use your dominant hand to stabilise the holder while attaching
the tube securely with the palm of your hand. If the tube does not immediately start filling
Document created: May 2022
Author: Gemma May
Approved by: Ian Roper
with blood gently redirect the needle being careful not to remove it from the vein or
detaching the tube as this will lose vacuum and a new tube will be required.
If redirection does not work, it may be that you need to take the needle out and try and
reinsert it in a different location.
Once the needle is correctly placed in the jugular vein the tube will quickly fill with blood.
Once sufficiently full remove the tube and then the needle, however if more samples are
required leave the needle in place for the next tube and repeat the process for attaching a
collection tube.
Replace the cap on the needle, remove from the tube holder and dispose of in the sharps
bin.
The vacutainer holder can be cleaned for reuse.
The blood samples to be labelled stored appropriately for transport back to the lab.
Any spillages to be cleaned up.
Blown blood tubes to be disposed of in the orange bin back at the practice.
Coccygeal vein in the base of the tail (adult cattle) – Wearing gloves, select the appropriate
vacutainer needle, needle holder and collection tube (red, green, or purple depending on
what you are testing for). Screw the shorter part of the needle into the plastic vacutainer
holder leaving the cap on the sharp end until you are ready to use.
Now hold the blood collection tube in the palm of your dominant hand and the tube holder
complete with uncapped needle between your thumb and forefinger.
Stand behind but slightly to the side of the restrained animal. Using your non dominant hand
hold the tail approximately 1/3 of the way from the base and lift the tail until the underside
of the base is clearly visible and accessible. Clean if necessary.
Below the hand with which you are holding the tail there will be a groove running down
through the middle of the tail, starting narrowly below your hand, and widening as it gets
closer to the base. The coccygeal artery and vein run within this groove.
Use your dominant hand to palpate the groove and raise the vein, steady your hand against
the base of the tail as this will help direct the needle as the animal moves.
Insert the needle to half of its length into the groove at an angle of 90 degrees to the skin
surface.
With the needle in place use your dominant hand to stabilise the holder while attaching the
tube securely with the palm of your hand. If the tube does not immediately start filling with
blood gently redirect the needle being careful not to remove it from the vessel or detaching
the tube as this will lose vacuum and a new tube will be required.
If redirection does not work, it may be that you need to take the needle out and try and
reinsert it in a different location.
Document created: May 2022
Author: Gemma May
Approved by: Ian Roper
Once the needle is correctly placed in the coccygeal vein/ artery the tube will quickly fill with
blood. Once sufficiently full remove the tube and then the needle, however if more samples
are required leave the needle in place for the next tube and repeat the process for attaching
a collection tube.
Replace the cap on the needle, remove from the tube holder and dispose of in the sharps
bin.
The vacutainer holder can be cleaned for reuse.
The blood samples to be labelled and stored appropriately for transport back to the lab.
Any spillages to be cleaned up.
Blown blood tubes to be disposed of in the orange bin back at the practice.
Medication: N/A
Equipment required: vacutainer holder, vacutainer needles, vacutainer blood tubes appropriate for
what you are testing for, sharps disposal bin.
PPE required: Waterproofs, suitable waterproof safety footwear, gloves
Biosecurity measures: The vet tech will arrive on farm clean and presentable, carrying no soil,
organic matter or bodily fluids on their person or clothing from previous locations. They will wear
gloves throughout the procedure. Once the procedure is complete the vet tech will scrub down their
hands and arms and disinfect their waterproofs and boots using a 1 in 20 dilution rate of Fam 30
multi-purpose iodophor disinfectant.
Statement of competency: I …………………………………………… Veterinary surgeon, of Westpoint farm
vets, deem that ……………………………………., Veterinary Technician, is suitably competent to carry out
this procedure and confirm that observations have been made to support this conclusion. See
separate observation record.
Signed: Date:
I …………………………………, Veterinary Technician, of Westpoint farm vets, agree to adhere to the
written protocol for this procedure.
Signed: Date:
Review: Annually or if issues arise.

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Blood Sampling Protocol

  • 1. Document created: May 2022 Author: Gemma May Approved by: Ian Roper Blood Sampling Protocol for Vet Techs The purpose of this protocol is to allow the vet tech to carry out blood sampling under either the direct and continuous supervision of a veterinary surgeon of Westpoint Farm Vets or, if appropriate, with a veterinary surgeon elsewhere on site in a supervisory capacity. Species covered: Cattle, Sheep, Goats Health and safety: The vet tech will work in accordance with the health and safety policy. When performing a dynamic risk assessment, it is at the vet tech’s discretion to not continue if there are significant risks to the health and safety of themselves, the animals, the farm employees or public. The vet tech; must use any equipment available that is designed to reduce risks while performing the task in hand, provided it is well maintained, in good working order and fit for purpose; must be able to use the handling and other safety equipment provided; must be aware of the dangers when handling livestock and be directly and continuously supervised until they are competent; must be able to work calmly with the animals, without displaying impatience or utilising unnecessary force; must be in good health and properly trained in safe work methods. VetPartners Documents relating to this policy. Cattle handling risk assessment Cattle handling guidance Health and Safety policy statement Accident reporting category guidance Biosecurity in practice Needlestick injuries in veterinary practice Emergency procedures SOP sharps injury
  • 2. Document created: May 2022 Author: Gemma May Approved by: Ian Roper Restraint: Adult or large cattle - To be secure in a crush with heads restrained in a yoke to prevent them moving backwards, a bar (side application or swing-down) can also be placed behind the back legs. A halter may be required to keep still the head if taking the sample from the jugular. Calves – Ideally the calf should have its head secure in a headstock. If a headstock is not available, ensure the comfort of the calf and minimise distress, back the calf into a corner using your body to hold them against the two supporting walls, ideally, place your front leg slightly in front of the calf so it can’t push forward, pull the head around toward you and hold it in place. Alternatively, and if the calf is not too tall, you could also straddle them providing you can maintain a safe and secure footing, then follow the above guidance to restrain the animal’s head. Sheep – Use a race where possible, if not, to ensure the comfort of the sheep and minimise distress, back the animal into a corner using your body to hold them against the two supporting walls, if able place your front leg slightly in front of it so it can’t push forward, use your arm to pull the head around toward you and hold it in place. Goat – as with sheep. Be mindful of horns where applicable, and to not exert too much force on horns of sheep and goats in particular, as they may detach. Take care not to cover the nose of small ruminants as they are obligate nasal breathers and this will cause significant distress. Technique: When dealing with smaller numbers of animals the vet tech may wish to clip the area to locate the vein. Jugular (cattle including calves, sheep, and goats)– Wearing gloves, select the appropriate vacutainer needle, needle holder and collection tube (red, green, grey or purple depending on what you are testing for). Screw the shorter part of the needle into the plastic vacutainer holder leaving the cap on the sharp end until you are ready to use. Now hold the blood collection tube in the palm of your dominant hand and the tube holder complete with uncapped needle between your thumb and forefinger. With your non dominant hand placed in front of the animal’s throat, use your thumb to palpate the jugular grove to locate the vein, once located apply firm pressure in the groove to raise the vein. The vein will fill above your thumb and you should be able to see or palpate this, it may not be so clear if the animal is dehydrated. Once you are confident that you have sufficiently raised the jugular vein, hold the needle at a position of 45 degrees to the skin directly covering it. Following the direction of the vein, push the needle upwards (towards the head) into it, keep applying the pressure with your non dominant hand to ensure the vein remains raised. With the needle in the vein use your dominant hand to stabilise the holder while attaching the tube securely with the palm of your hand. If the tube does not immediately start filling
  • 3. Document created: May 2022 Author: Gemma May Approved by: Ian Roper with blood gently redirect the needle being careful not to remove it from the vein or detaching the tube as this will lose vacuum and a new tube will be required. If redirection does not work, it may be that you need to take the needle out and try and reinsert it in a different location. Once the needle is correctly placed in the jugular vein the tube will quickly fill with blood. Once sufficiently full remove the tube and then the needle, however if more samples are required leave the needle in place for the next tube and repeat the process for attaching a collection tube. Replace the cap on the needle, remove from the tube holder and dispose of in the sharps bin. The vacutainer holder can be cleaned for reuse. The blood samples to be labelled stored appropriately for transport back to the lab. Any spillages to be cleaned up. Blown blood tubes to be disposed of in the orange bin back at the practice. Coccygeal vein in the base of the tail (adult cattle) – Wearing gloves, select the appropriate vacutainer needle, needle holder and collection tube (red, green, or purple depending on what you are testing for). Screw the shorter part of the needle into the plastic vacutainer holder leaving the cap on the sharp end until you are ready to use. Now hold the blood collection tube in the palm of your dominant hand and the tube holder complete with uncapped needle between your thumb and forefinger. Stand behind but slightly to the side of the restrained animal. Using your non dominant hand hold the tail approximately 1/3 of the way from the base and lift the tail until the underside of the base is clearly visible and accessible. Clean if necessary. Below the hand with which you are holding the tail there will be a groove running down through the middle of the tail, starting narrowly below your hand, and widening as it gets closer to the base. The coccygeal artery and vein run within this groove. Use your dominant hand to palpate the groove and raise the vein, steady your hand against the base of the tail as this will help direct the needle as the animal moves. Insert the needle to half of its length into the groove at an angle of 90 degrees to the skin surface. With the needle in place use your dominant hand to stabilise the holder while attaching the tube securely with the palm of your hand. If the tube does not immediately start filling with blood gently redirect the needle being careful not to remove it from the vessel or detaching the tube as this will lose vacuum and a new tube will be required. If redirection does not work, it may be that you need to take the needle out and try and reinsert it in a different location.
  • 4. Document created: May 2022 Author: Gemma May Approved by: Ian Roper Once the needle is correctly placed in the coccygeal vein/ artery the tube will quickly fill with blood. Once sufficiently full remove the tube and then the needle, however if more samples are required leave the needle in place for the next tube and repeat the process for attaching a collection tube. Replace the cap on the needle, remove from the tube holder and dispose of in the sharps bin. The vacutainer holder can be cleaned for reuse. The blood samples to be labelled and stored appropriately for transport back to the lab. Any spillages to be cleaned up. Blown blood tubes to be disposed of in the orange bin back at the practice. Medication: N/A Equipment required: vacutainer holder, vacutainer needles, vacutainer blood tubes appropriate for what you are testing for, sharps disposal bin. PPE required: Waterproofs, suitable waterproof safety footwear, gloves Biosecurity measures: The vet tech will arrive on farm clean and presentable, carrying no soil, organic matter or bodily fluids on their person or clothing from previous locations. They will wear gloves throughout the procedure. Once the procedure is complete the vet tech will scrub down their hands and arms and disinfect their waterproofs and boots using a 1 in 20 dilution rate of Fam 30 multi-purpose iodophor disinfectant. Statement of competency: I …………………………………………… Veterinary surgeon, of Westpoint farm vets, deem that ……………………………………., Veterinary Technician, is suitably competent to carry out this procedure and confirm that observations have been made to support this conclusion. See separate observation record. Signed: Date: I …………………………………, Veterinary Technician, of Westpoint farm vets, agree to adhere to the written protocol for this procedure. Signed: Date: Review: Annually or if issues arise.