Blood Drawing for Testing (OP: 4/2014)

If you’ve done any research into goats at all, you’ll learn very quickly that there are some important blood tests that should be done in your herd, to ensure long productivity. Blood tests can be used to test for CAE, Johnes, CL, and even pregnancy.

But with vet prices through the roof in some areas, it can become cost prohibitive to pay for a veterinarian to come out and draw blood on your entire herd. Never fear – drawing blood on a goat is actually very simple and I would even venture to say, easy.

What you will need:

  • A goat
  • A helper to hold the goat
  • Trimmers to shave the neck if need be
  • 3cc syringes
  • 22 gauge needles
  • “Red top” or Vacutainer tubes

We start by shaving a patch in the neck. It’s not completely necessary but it makes it far easier to locate the vein. You can see in this picture below the location of the jugular vein. There is one on each side.

Picture courtesy of

Have your helper hold the goat and tilt the animal’s head back. Using your fingers, press in the area to locate the vein – it will be large, and when you press a finger down on it, will pop out and become even more visible.

While pressing on the vein, insert the needle at an angle firmly. If you go straight in, you will go right through the vein. If you are too gentle, the vein will roll to the side. Do not panic if you need to poke more than once, although after a couple of tries, switch to a fresh needle, as they become more dull with each use.

Once you believe to be within the vein, draw the plunger, looking for blood. If you get no blood, take care to not allow any air to enter the goat’s body, and try again.

If you lose the vein during drawing, simply shift the needle and attempt to locate it once more.

Once you have your blood, immediately put the needle through the soft top of your vacutainer tube. It will draw the blood into the tube for you. If you wait too long, the blood will begin to clot and be a little more difficult to get into the tube.

I made a short video for you guys, so you can see just how easy it really is!

I use the following lab for all of my testing needs: