Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How To Administer Fluids to Your Pet

Administering Fluids to Your Pet

by Ms. Ana Bruder, Internal Medicine Technician

How to Administer Fluids


The most common fluid used under the skin is Lactated ringers. Your Veterinarian will prescribe what is best for your pet’s needs.


The equipment consists of a bag of IV fluids, an IV administration set, and a needle. The IV set is a tube which connects the fluid bag to the needle. The following steps should be followed:
1.       Remove the outer, protective bag from the inner IV bag.
2.       Remove the IV set from its packaging.

3.       The top end of the IV set has a large, pointed end with a protective cap. Remove this cap, but do not permit it to become contaminated.


4.       Pull the protective covering from the exit port on the bottom end of the IV bag. This will expose a hole which will accept the pointed end of the IV set.
(Some will have a white tab you can pull others will have a blue nipple you can pull.)
5.       Push the pointed end of the IV set into the open hole of the IV bag. It must be seated firmly to prevent leaks. You may have to twist it to get it to go in sufficiently.
6.       Close the lock in the middle of the IV tubing by moving the roller. (The lock on a new IV set is often already in the open position.)
7.       Gently squeeze and release the bulb at the top of the drip set until the bulb chamber is about half full with fluid.
8.       Open the lock (roller) on the tubing and then hold or suspend the IV bag.
9.       Remove the protective cap on the lower end of the IV set, but do not discard it. Do not permit it to become contaminated


Fluid should flow freely.

10.   Be sure that all air bubbles run out of the tubing.
11.   Close the lock on the IV line by rolling the roller downward and replace the protective cap on the lower end of the line.
12.   Break the protective covering around the needle so that the open end (not the sharp end) is exposed. Do not permit it to become contaminated.


13.   Remove the protective cap from the lower end of the IV set, and place the open end of the needle on it. Seat it firmly.


Subcutaneous fluid administration relies on gravity. Hang the IV bag about 3 feet above the level of your pet’s head.

Choose a location where you will treat your pet. This may be on a table, counter top, or in your lap.

Once the air is removed, close the clamp. Fluids are usually given in the area between the shoulder blades. 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.

When fluids have been administered, close the clamp and 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, or even a little tinge of blood but this is normal and won’t cause any problems.

After you are done

1.       Make sure you have stopped the flow of fluids by rolling the roller in the IV set lock downward firmly. If you do not close it well and the bag is left hanging fluid will drip.
2.       Remove the needle and replace it with a sterile needle.
3.       Store the equipment in a safe place until the next fluid administration.


Your veterinarian will tell you how much fluid to give.
If the skin becomes tight, stop giving fluids in that area and move to a different area. Until you administer what your Veterinarian prescribed. A lump will form under the skin. Do not be alarmed; this is the fluids.
With patience and practice, you and your pet can become used to the routine of subcutaneous fluid administration. Your pet will stay comfortable and hydrated without the stress of the veterinary clinic.
Most pets tolerate this procedure quite well.
DO NOT MICROWAVE FLUIDS, ideally they should be stored at room temperature. Do not refrigerate them.

What if the fluids quit 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.
If any cloudiness or discoloration occurs, do not use the bag. It usually means that the fluids have become contaminated with bacteria. If you administer these fluids to your pet, a serious infection may occur under the skin. The fluids are less likely to be contaminated by bacteria from the skin if you discard the needle at the end of each administration. Replace it with a sterile needle before you put the fluids away. Before discarding the old needle, replace the protective cap on it so someone will not be stuck. Place the needle and syringe in a puncture-resistant container. You can often purchase a Sharps container from your local pharmacy or veterinary office at low cost. If you do not have a container available, use a soda bottle. Take the container to your regular veterinarian for disposal.

How long until the lump of fluid is gone?

It will take about 2-4 hours for all of the fluid to be absorbed. In some cases, it might even be up to 6 hours. If absorption is slow gravity may cause the fluids to migrate downward. They could move under the skin of the front or rear legs. However, if this happens and it does not go away by next administration, call your veterinarian for advice.

1 comment:

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