Sub-Q Fluids to Casey
by Sandy and Peyton Carr
supplies that are usually needed for giving subcutaneous
(sub-Q) fluids are a bag of Lactated Ringer's solution,
a venoset, and a needle. These items can be purchased
in bulk for substantial savings from Costco and other
discount or online pharmacies (a prescription from your
vet is generally required.) An 18 gauge, one inch needle
seems to work well, providing a good flow and little discomfort
to the patient. It is important to use a new needle each
time fluids are given.
the venoset and fluid bag from the packaging. Lock the
venoset by rolling the wheel valve. This will prevent
the fluid from flowing while you assemble the parts.
the tab from the top of the fluid bag and insert the venoset,
pushing it in firmly,as far as it will go.
the fluids by putting the bag in a container of warm
tap water. Since room temperature (at around 72 degrees
Fahrenheit) is 30 degrees colder than a cat's normal
body temperature, warmed fluids will feel much better
to the patient.
the fluids are lukewarm, hang the bag as high as you can.
In this illustration, a hook has been installed on the
inside of an upper kitchen cabinet door. A clothes hanger
also works well and can be used anywhere. Pinch the reservoir
to fill it approximately half-full.
|Remove the protective cap and twist the plastic fastening nut so that it is loose. Put the needle on the end of the venoset and lock it in place by twisting the fastening nut onto the needle base. Remove the needle cap with a gentle twisting motion. Open the wheel valve and
run the fluid through to get rid of the air in the tubing(some
bubbles are okay.) Move the valve up or down to verify
that the tubing is not restricting the flow where the
closed valve was pinching it. Test the temperature by
running some of the liquid on your wrist, similar to testing
a baby's bottle.
the patient in a comfortable position. Casey is very relaxed
and cozy on the kitchen counter in his favorite cat bed.
The more relaxed and confident you are, the more at ease
the patient will be. Though it helps to have a second
person to assist, this entire procedure can be done alone.
Inserting the needle is the most stressful part of the
process. To get the feel for "the stick", it may help
to practice first on a fresh turkey or chicken from the
insert the needle, pull the skin up on the patient's back
around the shoulder blades or just below. Your vet will
show you the areas where it is best to insert the needle
so that you can vary the site each time. Make a "tent"
of the skin and, with the needle parallel to the patient's
body, insert it open (hole) side up with a quick, smooth
motion into the tent along the long axis of the fold.
quick stick is less painful than a slow push but be
careful not to do it so fast that you lose control or
insert it too far.
the needle is in place, release the skin tent and open
the roller valve on the venoset line. The fluids should
begin to flow. If the drip seems slow, rotate the needle
slightly while it is still inserted or gently tent the
skin. This will sometimes improve the flow rate. You will begin to see a pouch forming as the fluids accumulate under the skin.
Eventually this process will become routine for both you
and your cat. It should take just a few minutes to inject
150cc. Once the required amount of fluids has been administered,
close the roller valve, remove the needle from the patient
and twist the skin slightly to help seal the needle hole
and prevent leaking. Occasionally you may see a tiny amount
of blood or pinkish fluids leaking from the needle site.
This is normal unless the bleeding does not stop quickly
or seems excessive. Recap the old needle, replace it with
a new one and refrigerate the fluid bag, leaving the venoset
attached. The next time fluids are given, warm the bag
and run out the cooler liquid in the tubing before inserting
the needle into the patient.
Feline CRF Information Center assumes no liability for injury
to you or your cat incurred by following these descriptions