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How Long Do Subcutaneous Fluids Last In Cats

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When Done Properly Fluid Therapy Can Make A World Of Difference In The Health Of A Pet

How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids to Your Cat at Home

Incorrectly determining that a patient is dehydrated when it is hypovolemic can cost the animal its life. This leads some professionals to stress the need for caution when prescribing fluids to small animals and for a possible review of a veterinarians fluid therapy protocol.

My primary concerns with the way fluids are administered to patients include incorrect volumes being given and improper selection of fluid type, says Wayne E. Wingfield, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, Dipl. ACVECC, a professor emeritus of emergency and critical care medicine at Colorado State University.

Secondly, too much emphasis on use of subcutaneous fluids is given. Failure to properly assess electrolytes and lack of understanding of acid base in relation to electrolytes and fluid needs is also a problem, says Dr. Wingfield, also a consultant for Abbott Animal Health.

The lack of a step-by-step protocol for administering fluids is one reason missteps occur, says Elisa Mazzaferro, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVECC, of Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in Wheat Ridge, Colo.

I see a lot of animals in need of fluid therapy, often referred to me by other practices, Dr. Mazzaferro says. Sometimes practices stabilize the animal before transferring it, other times they immediately refer. When treating an animal in need of fluids, a complete and thorough physical exam is necessary.

How Much Do I Give

The amount of fluid you should give depends upon the severity of dehydration. Your veterinarian will tell you how much fluid to give. Try not to exceed 100 milliliters per site unless directed by your veterinarian. If your pet needs 200 mls of fluid every 3 days, you should give 100 mls in one area, remove the needle and place the needle a little further down on the back and give the second dose of 100 mls.

If the skin becomes tight, stop giving fluids in that area. If your pet is due for another dose of fluids and you think you can still feel fluids under the skin, do not administer more fluids until you consult with your veterinarian.

With patience and practice, you and your cat can become used to the routine of subcutaneous fluid administration. Your pet will stay comfortable and hydrated without the stress of the veterinary clinic.

How Much Fluid Should I Give My Dog

The instructions at the end of this handout tell how much to give for your dog’s condition and health status.

“As a rule, the average small dog should receive 100-200 ml of fluids at one time.”

As a rule, the average small dog should receive 100-200 ml of fluids at one time. If you are using two spots, you can give half of that amount in each location.

When you have given the prescribed amount of fluids, complete the following steps:

1. Stop the flow of fluids by pushing the roller in the fluid set lock downward firmly. If you do not close it well and the bag is left hanging, fluid will drip out. Some bags will have an additional slide closure on the fluid line. You can close this additional device after you have removed the needle from your pet’s skin.

2. Remove the needle from the skin and replace its protective cap. Be very careful when you replace the needle into the cap. This is when the majority of injuries and “needle sticks” occur. Remove the used needle from the drip set.

3. PLACE A NEW, STERILE NEEDLE ON THE DRIP SET AS SOON AS YOU ARE THROUGH. This prevents bacteria that were picked up on the old needle from migrating up into the fluid bag. If you wish, you may return used needles to your veterinary hospital for proper disposal.

4. Store the equipment in a safe place until the next fluid administration. The fluids should be kept in a relatively cool location out of direct sunlight. Be sure to keep this and all medications out of the reach of children and pets.

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Subcutaneous Fluids For Cats A Complete Guide

Subcutaneous fluids are the fluids given to a cat from the area under the skin so that it can be absorbed slowly into the blood. This is a useful way to replace lost fluids in cats to help them with dehydration. When a cat develops a chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, the water balance in the body gets disturbed. The most common problem is increased urine production that makes the cat dehydrated.

The cat may not drink enough water to meet the fluid loss from the body. Such a condition can make things worse and subcutaneous fluid administration can be a valuable aid for such cats. Sub Q fluids are very much like the sterile electrolyte fluids given to pets.

They are easy to administer and can be done easily at home or the veterinarians office. Introducing fluids into the body should help the cat regain its health in a few hours. It is much more effective than oral fluid consumption as it enters the body directly without any waiting time.

What You Will Need


Ive included direct links to where Ive purchased these products from, in case you need ideas on where to go to get them.

Vitality Medical,

* recommended, but not strictly required

Check out Choosing and Buying Needles if you need more information on how needles are sized and what all the different numbers on the labels mean.

Shopping for subq fluids supplies can take a little bit of practice and planning. If you are just getting started with giving fluids to your own cat, do yourself a favor and purchase your first kit directly from your vet. The vet will provide you with the fluid bag, line, and needles. They may even attach the line to the bag for you.

The fluid bags used in this process require a prescription. As far as I know there isnt anyplace where you can buy them, in any country, without a prescription. There may be some less-than-reputable sources, but as this is something being injected directly into your cat I would strongly advise against attempting to use any fluids that can be acquired without a prescription.

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How Much Fluid Is Given

Your vet will tell you how much fluid to give, and whether to give it all in one place or use more than one site. Generally around 10-20 ml/kg of fluid can be given at a single SQ injection site .

A soft lump will develop under the skin at the site where the fluid has been given. This should not be painful, and the fluid is gradually absorbed over several hours. The fluid is usually given under the skin high up on the chest, but gravity will often cause the fluids to accumulate lower down on the chest or tummy. If fluid is still obvious under the skin when your cat is next due for fluids, you should check with your vet before administering any more.

How Much Fluids Should I Give My Cat

Your veterinarian will tell how much to give your cat for your specific situation. The average sized cat should receive 100-150 ml of fluids at one time. As a rule, the average sized cat should receive 100-150 ml of fluids at one time. If you are using two locations, you should give half of that amount in each location. 1.

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What Other Tips Do I Need To Know

It is usually not necessary to “sterilize” the skin with alcohol before inserting the needle. In reality, wiping a little alcohol on the skin does not really sterilize it and the odor and feel of alcohol may aggravate your cat.

  • Most cats tolerate fluid administration quite well. However, if the fluids are unusually cold or hot, they may be uncomfortable. Ideally, the fluids should be stored at about body temperature. However, as long as they are at room temperature most cats are fine. Do not refrigerate them.
  • As the fluids are running, a lump will form under the skin. Do not be alarmed this pocket of fluid will be absorbed over the next few hours. If absorption is slow, gravity may cause the fluids to migrate downward along the side of the body. Fluids may even move under the skin of the front or rear legs in rare instances. Do not be alarmed. If this happens, the fluids will still be absorbed and your cat will not be in any pain or discomfort.
  • You will not cause any problems if a few bubbles of air are injected under the skin. If quite a bit of air gets under the skin, you may feel a crackling sound when you push on the skin, and your cat may experience mild discomfort for a couple of hours, but no real harm or damage will occur. The body will eventually absorb the air without any difficulty.

How Long Do Subcutaneous Fluids Last In Cats

Pet Care Tips- How to administer subcutaneous fluid therapy to your cat

How long the fluids last in the cats body depends on the severity of the medical condition it is suffering from and the effects. Though subcutaneous fluids replace the fluid loss from the body and make the pet feel better, the duration of effect varies for different cats. Some cats may have serious kidney problems or failure and may get dehydrated more often than others. This means such cats need more frequent fluid administration to stay hydrated.

Your vet can analyze the cats condition and advise you on how much fluid you should give and how often. As a general rule, an average-sized cat should be given 100-150ml of fluids at once. Subcutaneous fluids can be administered as often as required depending on the symptoms and health condition of the pet. They are given every one to three days for most cats. It is easy to monitor the symptoms of dehydration to decide when it needs to be repeated.

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Subcutaneous Fluids For Cats Side Effects

Though most procedures complete without any complications, cat owners should know about the side effects of subcutaneous fluids. The biggest concern is the pain and discomfort associated with the administration. The pet is generally sedated before the procedure but can experience numbness and pain in the injection area after the process.

Subcutaneous fluids also have a risk of an embolism if the needle misses the vein. The fluid can accumulate in the surrounding area and make the cat uncomfortable. Another concern is infection from a dirty needle that can spread viruses or bacteria. Most vets use sterile needles and clean the site of injection to avoid any risk of infection.

Pay attention to the cats behavior after the procedure to make sure it has no pain or discomfort. If you see swelling at the injection area and if it becomes hard or painful, it is an indication of a local infection that should be treated.

Subcutaneous Fluid Administration Recovery In Cats

Immediately following sub-q administration of fluids your cat will have a lump where the fluid was inserted. This is normal and the fluid will absorb into the tissues. The fluid may move down into the abdomen or legs. Some cats are somewhat lethargic after treatment. Occasionally, fluid, sometimes with blood in it, will leak out of the injection site, this is not cause for alarm and will stop when fluid pressure decreases. Some cats do not tolerate this therapy well and find it stressful, if they have a chronic condition requiring treatment, an alternative solution may be needed. Cats with chronic conditions, or those experiencing an acute condition that has affected electrolyte imbalance or organ functioning may require a special diet after treatment to ensure return to normal functioning.

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Subcutaneous Fluid Administration How It Works

Subcutaneous fluid administration works similar to an IV administration but uses a needle to deliver fluids under the skin near the spine area. This type of administration works on the concept of gravity as the fluid bag is hung above the pet to allow a natural flow. It is generally put on a hanger about 3 feet above the cats head.

The fluid is administered through the skin behind the neck near the shoulders because it is less sensitive. Once the needle is injected, the fluids filled in the bag enters the bloodstream of the cat to show immediate effects. After the subcutaneous fluid administration, the cat should show signs of improvement in a few hours as the loss of fluids in the body gets replenished. The cat feels energetic and active, combating the signs of dehydration from fluid loss.

How To Give Subcutaneous Fluids To Your Cat

How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids to A Cat

21st August 2018

Subcutaneous fluid administration is the term used to describe giving fluids into the space under the skin from where it can be slowly absorbed into the blood and body.

This is a very useful way of providing additional fluids to cats and helping to manage and prevent dehydration.

With chronic kidney disease , cats usually produce more urine than usual, and may become dehydrated as they may not drink sufficiently to compensate for the fluid loss. This can make the kidney disease worse, and regular SQ fluid administration can be a valuable management tool for these cats. SQ fluids may be given by your vet, but can often also be given in the home environment, with support from your vet.

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What Equipment Do I Need

The equipment for home fluid therapy typically consists of a bag of fluids, a fluid drip set, and a needle. The fluid drip set is simply a tube that connects the fluid bag to the needle.

A member of your veterinary healthcare team will go through the steps with you in person. The steps are as follows:

  • Remove the fluid bag and fluid drip set from their protective packaging.
  • Close the line lock in the middle of the fluid tubing by moving the roller so that it squeezes the tubing. The lock on a new fluid set is usually set in the open position.
  • The top end of the fluid set has a large, pointed end with a protective cap. Remove this cap, but do not allow it to become contaminated. IT SHOULD NOT TOUCH ANYTHING.
  • Pull the protective covering from the exit port on the bottom end of the fluid bag. This will expose a hole that will accept the pointed end of the fluid set.
  • Push the pointed end of the fluid set into the open hole of the fluid bag. It must be seated firmly to prevent leaks.
  • Gently squeeze and release the bulb at the top of the drip set until the bulb chamber is about half full with fluid.
  • Remove the protective cap from the lower end of the fluid set, but do not discard it. Do not allow it to become contaminated. IT SHOULD NOT TOUCH ANYTHING.
  • Open the line lock or roller on the tubing and then hold or suspend the fluid bag fluid should flow freely. Fill the fluid line with fluid from the bag. Be sure that all large air bubbles run out of the tubing.
  • What To Do If The Fluids Stop Running

    This often happens when the end of the needle moves against the skin or the underlying tissue. Do not remove the needle rather, gently reposition it until the fluids begin to flow again. Experiment with the needle’s position until the fluids flow freely. Twisting the needle will change the position of the bevel. This may be all that is needed.

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    Which Size Of Needle To Use

    The needles you typically get from the vet aren’t the best quality some call them “kitty harpoons.” Make the procedure easier on your cat by requesting a higher-gauge syringe .

    The smaller needle size will be less intrusive and do less damage to the cat’s coat long-term. The downside? It will take longer to give your cat the fluids because the flow of liquid is slower. I use 20-gauge needles, and it takes me about four minutes to administer 75 ml of fluid, Stormy’s daily dose. I’ve found this to be a good compromise between the 18-gauge “harpoons” and the slow-flow 21 gauges.

    Several commenters here have recommended Terumo needles, which are sharper and slide into your kitty’s coat more easily.

    How Do I Give Subcutaneous Fluids

    How to Give Subcutaneous Fluids to a Cat at Home Video

    Gather your equipment. Subcutaneous fluid administration relies on gravity so ultimate you will need a spot to hang the fluid bag.

    1. Connect the bag to the tubing and suspend the bag from an area above the pet.

    2. Attach the needle to the tubing.

    3. Clear the air from the line- In order to clear the air out of the tubing, open the clamp and allow the fluid to run through the tubing to the outside. Once the air is removed, close the clamp.

    4. You are now ready to give fluids. Fluids are usually given in the area between the shoulder blades. Clean the area of the skin you have chosen with alcohol. Pinch the skin and insert the needle into the skin fold. The needle may appear quite large but using a larger needle makes the fluid administration go significantly faster and reduces the time your pet must stay restrained in one area. Once you have placed the needle correctly, let go of the fold and open the clamp on the tubing. The fluid should begin flowing under the skin. If the fluid is dripping very slowly, reposition the needle.

    5. Once the fluids have been administered, remove the needle and hold gentle pressure on the site for one or two minutes. You may see some of the fluid leaking out of the needle hole, but this is normal and won’t cause any problems.

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