Fluid therapy is an excellent solution to replace lost fluids in cats that are either sick or had an injury. There are several situations where a cat may need subcutaneous fluids, some of the most common being severe kidney problems, liver disease or some other life-threatening condition like cancer.
Without fluid therapy, the cat can become dehydrated and feel worse. It is often an important part of treatment for some of the most common health problems pet owners visit the vet for.
In this guide, let us try to learn about giving subcutaneous fluids to cats and understand the implications involved to make sure your pet can benefit from the treatment.
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 veterinarian’s 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.
Getting Started With Sub Q Fluids For Cats
It is easy to perform sub Q fluid administration for cats at home under the guidance of a vet. The professional gives you instructions on how often and how much of the fluids you should administer and prescribe the right fluid and materials to make the process simpler. The most common method is using the drip bag and attaching drip tubing to a needle under the skin. Most cats are likely to tolerate Sub Q fluid administration.
To get started with this procedure, you need some basic equipment including the fluid bag, needles and tubing. The tubing has a spike that is inserted into the port of the fluid bag. The bag should then be hung on a hook and the chamber filled with fluid by squeezing and releasing the sides. The tubing should also be filled with fluid.
The cat should be held in a comfortable position and place. It is a good idea to cuddle it on the lap or sit beside you on the couch. Try to make the session stress free by offering treats. While most cats handle this procedure well, see that the fluids are neither too hot nor cold. Also, see that fluids are sterile on the inside. Make sure you don’t use contaminated fluids that look cloudy.
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 cat’s 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.
How Long Do Subcutaneous Fluids Last in Cats?
How long the fluids last in the cat’s 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 cat’s 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.
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 cat’s 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.