Darts to deliver medications is a serious BQA challenge
Bottom line … DON’T DO IT! Darts for delivery of medication or vaccines to animals intended for food are not under any circumstances or in any way recommended, approved, or condoned by any veterinary organization. There is no indication from dart manufacturers that their darts met FDA and USDA required sterility requirements, and the manufacturers do not provide guidance for sterilization procedures needed to meet sterility requirements. Dart used to deliver fluoroquinolones, ceftiofur, or compounded medications (mixed or diluted other than specifically instructed on the label) is strictly illegal and considered a criminal act under the FDA Code of Federal Regulations. There is no research documenting that dart delivery of medical liquids reaches the labeled SQ or IM requirement. Not reaching the intended SQ or IM compartment eliminates all but 1 food animal medication, oxytetracycline, and there are no darts sufficient in size to accommodate the dosage requirement of the drug. Improper dosing, including under-dosing, of antibiotics can seriously risk antibiotic resistance development. Since darts do not have ballistic characteristics similar to bullets, targeting is unpredictable. This makes delivery to the neck region, the only acceptable IM or SQ injections site, inconsistent and potentially very dangerous to the animal if the cervical vertebrae are hit with a dart’s needle. This concern heightens when darts are used beyond 10 yards, and there are no dart delivery charges for this distance which do not pose the potential for embedding the dart’s cylinder through the animal’s hide into muscle.