Administering Fluids to Pets
Fluid therapy is most often delivered through intravenous (IV) catheters which are placed very precisely by trained, knowledgeable veterinary nurses or doctors. This is a critical point because improper IV catheter placement can damage a pet’s small, delicate veins. The catheter is typically placed in either a cephalic vein, which is the most common vein used and runs along the top of the foreleg of dogs and cats; a jugular vein, which is useful when it must remain in place for longer or is needed to deliver larger volumes of medication; or a saphenous vein on a back leg when the cephalic vein cannot be used for some reason. Rarely are other veins used for the administration of fluid therapy. Prior to placing an IV catheter, the hair around the vein will be clipped and the skin thoroughly disinfected. Then, a sterile IV catheter will be inserted. This catheter is flexible, soft plastic and is placed in such a way as to be as comfortable as possible for the pet. The fluid line is then connected to the catheter, and the catheter taped and bandaged to the leg to avoid being shifted or pulled. The amount and type of fluid that is administered obviously depends upon the pet’s specific situation and needs, and of course their fluid therapy is monitored closely.
In some cases, fluid therapy is delivered subcutaneously (under the pet’s skin) between the shoulder blades. Fluids that are administered in this way are slowly absorbed into the body systems over the course of several hours, so it can be ideal for those pets that are not seriously ill but would benefit from fluids in order to maintain hydration, fight a fever or stimulate their appetite.
Certain pets with specific conditions can benefit from regular, even daily, fluid therapy. For example, cats that are suffering from chronic kidney disease may benefit immensely from about 100ml of fluids once or twice every day. In these cases, your veterinarian may instruct you in how to deliver subcutaneous fluids to your pet at home, should you feel comfortable in doing so. That said, most fluid therapy is performed in the office and your veterinarian will only recommend at-home fluid therapy if they feel it will be of immense benefit to your pet and you are willing to administer it.
For more information about fluid therapy, contact La Crosse today.