Giving Your Pet Subcutaneous Fluids
Fluid therapy is recommended for your pet. This could be for numerous reasons including kidney disease, pancreatitis, fatty liver disease, vomiting, etc. Whatever the reason may be, it is very important to know how to properly administer these fluids. Here are some tips to remember:
What you will need (these will be provided for you):
- Bag of fluids
- Sterile needles
- Fluid line/extension set
Setting up the bag of fluids (we can do this in the clinic if needed):
- Sterility is a must! Do not let parts of the bag, line, or needles touch yourself or other things.
- Open everything you will need so you can have access to them without putting anything down.
- When pulling the white tab open from the bag, make sure that the bag is being held upside down.
- Carefully take off the clear cap from the spike end of the fluid line, and push it through the hole. Make it flush with the bag to ensure a puncture.
- Before turning the bag right-side-up, “close” the line by rolling down the wheel all the way.
- Carefully remove needle from package and take cap off of other end of fluid line. Connect needle. Make sure it is securely on by twisting needle.
- Once everything is hooked up properly, hold the needle/fluid line over the sink and roll the wheel upwards to make the fluid flow through the line. (We don’t want any air in the line)
- Once there is little to no air bubbles, you can roll the wheel down and recap the needle. (See below for safe recapping of needles)
Administering the fluids:
- Have your cat or dog on a surface that will be easy for you to work on such as a counter, desk, or chair.
- The fluids will be placed in the shoulder region, underneath the skin.
- Pull up the skin on the shoulders to form a “triangle” of skin.
- You are going to place the needle in the center of that triangle, parallel to the body.
- When placing the needle, make sure you are confident and it is a quick stick. If it goes in slowly, it will hurt more.
- Once the needle is in, have your assistant hold the pet so that it is still, and have them hold the needle in by placing a hand on the entry point of the needle/fluid line.
- Roll up the wheel to open the fluid flow. (It might feel very weird to the pet at first, it is normal for them to squirm or try to get away.
- You may either just hold the bag up above your head or squeeze it to make it flow faster.
- A bump will form where the fluid is being placed and will create a “hunchback” appearance.
- Once you have given the full prescribed amount of fluids, roll down the wheel.
- Take out the needle and immediately apply pressure to the puncture site by pinching skin for about 30 seconds.
- Some leaking is normal afterwards.
- Do not be alarmed if the fluid migrates to the chest or other near areas of the body, this is completely normal.
- If you pet reacts a lot to the fluids, you can try to warm them up by placing the bag of fluids into a big bowl filled with hot water. NEVER microwave a fluid bag!
- If your pet is food/treat motivated, you can have some ready to give afterwards or during to have positive reinforcement and so that they can associate getting fluids with a reward.
- RECAPPING NEEDLES: The safest way is to place the cap on the counter and use one hand to slide the needle into the cap. Once the needle is inside, you can use your other hand to secure cap to make sure it is tight.
- You must change the needle with a new one for each dose.
- The fluids do NOT need to be refrigerated.
- When not in use, keep fluid bag, lines, and needles in a safe place where children or animals cannot get to it.
Helpful links (visuals, videos):