Syringes and Needle Types — Uses and Safe Disposal

Not many people outside of medical professions have experience with syringes and needles. They will likely need to learn more about them if they own pets. Syringes have a variety of applications for our animal companions, and some go beyond medication and vaccination.

Before you start ordering over-the-counter syringes, you should know the different kinds you can find. Veterinarian syringes and needles are not necessarily the same as medical syringes and needles commonly used for humans. Syringes and needles for people are different. Each has its own distinct purposes and qualities, and knowing which one to choose will make things easier and safer for you and your pets. Here is some information on the different types of syringes and needles.


hypodermic needles

Hypodermic Needles

This is probably the first example you consider when trying to think of different types of syringes and needles. Hypodermic needles are commonly used for giving medication to animals, typically through subcutaneous injections (meaning under the skin) or intramuscular injections (meaning into the muscles).

Needles come in different sizes, and you must try to choose the smallest one capable of holding the volume of formula that must be injected. Depending on the brand, you can also choose to purchase them individually or by the box. Make your decision based on what your veterinarian recommends.

insulin syringes

Insulin Syringes

Diabetes treatment requires regular shots, which is where insulin syringes come in handy. Insulin is measured in units, and these hypodermics are available in two sizes: “U40,” or 40 units/ml, and “U100,” or 100 units/ml. The size you need depends on the insulin your pet needs, and your veterinarian will be able to tell you about that. They will also give you the schedule for when to give those shots and what the correct dosage is so that you give the right number of units to avoid sending your furriest family member into hypoglycemia from too much or too little insulin.


syringes without needles

Syringes Without Needles

The aforementioned types are all examples of syringes with needles. However, you can also find syringes without needles — meaning, syringes for which the needles are sold separately. The advantage to this is that you can slip on and swap out as many needles as needed without having to toss out the syringe.

This is useful because different syringes may use different means of inserting the pointy bits. Locking tip syringes have a tip designed to tighten the needle into place. Slip tip syringes allow you to slide the needle inside. These kinds of syringes can also be fitted with medical tubing, which helps with oral administration of liquid medication.


feeding syringes

Feeding and Specialty Syringes

Some syringes have highly specialized uses that require something other than needles to transmit the formula. These include feeding, curved tip, and bulb syringes. The former type is used for giving food and nourishment to baby animals. Just fit the feeding tube to the tip.

curved tip syringes

The latter two refer to specific kinds of syringes. Curved tip syringes have, well, curved tips. They are small, but can be cut to create a wider opening. Bulb syringes are useful for removing excess mucus and fluids from a baby’s mouth and nostrils.


sharps container for needle disposal

Safe Needle Disposal

After you’re done with the needles, you’ll need a safe way to dispose of them and you shouldn’t throw them in the garbage can. This can lead to injuries if they aren’t properly capped and poke through the bag. It’s also a hazardous way to spread bacteria and potential disease. Get a dedicated sharps container for safe needle disposal. We have small ones for traveling and large ones for home. We even have needle clippers to quickly remove that dangerous pointy end.


Get Different Kinds of Syringes and Needles Today

All of these types of veterinarian yringes and needles are available at California Veterinary Supply. We can provide you with a wide variety of products to help you care for your pets. Check out our selection today. Also, for information veterinary type injections, please see our other article to see what you should know about administering injections to pets.