Implant profit: Routine checks and proper administration matter

Improper implant administration can mean lost pounds and dollars

It’s nearly impossible to get the most out of an implant if it isn’t administered correctly. When factoring in labor costs and lost gain potential, feedlots can say goodbye to approximately $100 per head1* for every incorrectly administered implant. That’s why it’s important to conduct routine implant checks and subsequent trainings. Remember: Employees may know the purchase price of an implant, but they may not know that incorrect administration could equal up to an $11 loss per head with a 10% error rate, which when multiplied can add up to a $10,000 loss per 1,000 head on feed.1 

Implant checks can be conducted 30 to 60 days after administration. If a random check isn’t feasible, it can be done when cattle are reworked. Either way, the opportunity to assess performance and learn from previous administration techniques that worked — or didn’t work — is valuable. 

When doing an implant check, feel the implant site and evaluate: 

  • Location — Is the implant in the middle third or “top shelf” of the ear? Is the implant a finger’s width away from any ear tags or holes? Is the pellet under the skin and clear of the ear cartilage? 
  • Orientation — Are the pellets lined up in a straight line? Or are the pellets bunched or crushed?
  • Defects — Are abscesses present or is the implant walled-off so the pellet can’t be effective?

Inattention to detail and moving too quickly often influence the quality of implant administration. If issues occur, small adjustments in technique and environment can provide a drastic improvement. That will optimize implant success, which means more dollars.

A few implant administration reminders: 

  • Sanitation — A clean ear, needle and environment are extremely important. Each dirty or wet ear should be cleaned prior to implanting. Dirt and debris should be brushed off the ear in one consistent direction to avoid driving dirt further into the ear. Disinfecting solutions and sponges should be changed regularly as well to avoid contamination. Always wear rubber gloves to prevent any additional dirt from entering the implant site. 
  • Cattle handling — Low-stress cattle handling during implanting is important. Properly restrain animals and use Beef Quality Assurance best practices to help keep animals quiet and reduce unexpected movements.
  • Employee training — Because labor can turn over quickly, doing routine implant checks provides an opportunity for real-time evaluation and additional training opportunities. Training on specific implanting equipment, such as the SX10 Precision Applicator for SYNOVEX® implants, can help improve success and effectiveness.

Additionally, Zoetis sales representatives can be a resource for conducting implant checks and trainings through the Implant Quality (IQ) program. From setting goals to developing a quality assurance program, training on proper techniques and monitoring results, the Zoetis Field Force supports producers to help get the most out of their implant investment.

“We’re here to help producers get each implant administered correctly so they can realize more gain,” said Dr. Douglas Hilbig, Beef Technical Services veterinarian with Zoetis. “Conducting implant checks often provides a learning opportunity for employees and can help protect the investment and profit potential implants provide.” 

In addition to the IQ program, Zoetis offers SYNOVEX ONE GRASS and SYNOVEX ONE FEEDLOT, which provide up to 200 days of uninterrupted performance. This extended duration helps reduce the risk of losses due to abscesses and ruptures by eliminating the need to re-implant.

Learn more about reducing stress over implanting and find proper administration resources, including helpful how-to videos, at

Do not use SYNOVEX products in veal calves. Refer to label for complete directions for use, precautions, and warnings.

About Zoetis
Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 65 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines, vaccines and diagnostic products, which are complemented by biodevices, genetic tests and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2018, the company generated annual revenue of $5.8 billion with approximately 10,000 employees. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:
Kathleen McGinty

Dorothy Tate
Bader Rutter

*Based on and average dairy gain loss of 0.45-pound-1 across a 200-day period. Equation: 0.45 lb. x 200 days = 90 lb. additional live weight. Average live cattle price of $128/cwt; 90 lb. x $1.28 = $115.20/head loss on improper implants.  
1 Data on file, Report No. GASD 16-20.00, Zoetis Inc. 



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