OAR Informational Sheet: Recommended Volumes for Administered Substances

Informational Sheet: The IACUC has provided a set of guidance documents (Policies, Guidelines, and Informational Sheets) for use when planning animal procedures at the University of Iowa. Informational Sheets provide information about frequently asked questions and represents guidance for best practices. Deviation from the recommendation(s) does not require specific justification.

Purpose: This document provides information about administration volumes and needle sizes for commonly employed routes of fluid administration in various animal species. The volume limits are consensus figures based on published literature and are set up to maintain animal welfare and prevent potential complications, such as muscle damage with high volume intramuscular injection, or aspiration & pulmonary injury with high volume oral administration.

Procedures:

  • Give injections at a constant flow rate
    • No resistance should be encountered during injection
    • Do not apply overt pressure on the syringe’s plunger
  • See below for recommended volume and needle size
    • Compare the weight in the table to the weight of the animal being used in the procedure and alter dose accordingly
    • Max limit with oil-based vehicles should be half the listed max limit and may require a larger gavage needle
    • Always use the smallest needle size (largest gauge) that is applicable to the procedure

Precautions:

  • Do not inject into inflamed or damaged tissue unless medically indicated
  • Injecting relatively large volumes of solutions that are below body temperature may lead to hypothermia
  • Inject separate drugs/compounds at different sites to avoid cross reaction of chemicals
  • Limit subcutaneous administration to 2-3 sites per day
  • Limit intramuscular administration to 2 sites at one time
  • Exceptions apply when medically indicated or scientifically justified, consult with Office of Animal Resources (OAR) veterinary staff for guidance

Recommended Maximum Volumes and Needle Sizes per Route and per Species

Species & weight Per os (oral) Subcutaneous Intramuscular Intraperitoneal Intravenous
Rat
200g
4 ml
16 G 
4 ml
20 G 
0.1ml
21 G
4 ml
21 G
2 ml
23 G
Mouse
25g
0.25 ml
18 G
0.5 ml
20 G
0.05 ml
23 G
0.3 ml
21 G   
0.125 ml
25 G
Hamster
100g
4 ml
18 G
2 ml
20 G
0.1ml
21 G
2 ml
21 G
1 ml
25 G
Guinea pig
200g
4 ml 2 ml
20 G 
0.1ml
21 G
2 ml
21 G 
1 ml
23 G
Rabbit
4kg
80 ml 20 ml
20 G
0.5-1 ml
20 G
40 ml
20 G
20 ml
21 G
Cat
5kg
100 ml 100 ml
20 G
1 ml
 20 G
100 ml
20 G 
25 ml
21 G
Dog
10kg
200 ml 50 ml
20 G
5 ml
20 G
200 ml
20 G
50 ml
20 G
Pig
25kg
250 ml 62.5 ml
 20 G
2-5 ml
20 G
250 ml
20 G
250 ml
18 G
Ferret
1kg
10 ml 5 ml
21 G
0.5 ml
23 G
10 ml
21 G
5 ml
21 G
Goat/Sheep
45kg
450 ml 450 ml
19 G
5 ml
18 G
450 ml
19 G
450 ml
18 G

 Updated 11/07/13