Fluid therapy is an excellent solution to replace lost fluids in cats that are either sick or had suffered an injury. Some of the most common reasons why a cat may need subcutaneous fluids include severe kidney problems, liver disease, or another life-threatening condition like cancer.
Without fluid therapy, the cat can become dehydrated and take a turn for the worst.
This guide will inform you about everything you need to know, in case your cat needs it. We’ll talk about how the fluids are given to pets, the benefits, and more.
What Are Subcutaneous Fluids?
Subcutaneous fluids are the fluids given to a cat, usually under the skin so that it can be absorbed slowly into the blood. This is a useful way to replace lost fluids to help pets 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 which leads to dehydration.
The cat may not drink enough water to counter the fluid loss from its body. This can make things worse and subcutaneous fluid administration can be a valuable aid for such cats. The fluids are very much like the sterile electrolyte fluids given to other pets.
They are easy to administer and can be done easily at home or at 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 and spreads through the animal’s system directly.
Getting Started With Sub Q Fluids For Cats
It is easy to perform fluid administration for cats at home under the guidance of a vet. The professional will give you instructions on how often and how much you should administer as well as prescribe the right fluid and materials. The most common method is by using a drip bag and the attached tubing with a needle, which is inserted under the skin.
To get started with this procedure, you need 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 your lap. 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, which can make them resist the procedure. Also, see that fluids are sterile. The latter will look like a clear fluid. Make sure you don’t use contaminated fluids that look cloudy.
Though most procedures are 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 creating 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 fluids lost from the body, how long the cat feels better afterward depends on the individual pet.
Some cats may have serious kidney problems or failure and get dehydrated more often than others. Such cats need more frequent fluid administration to stay hydrated.
Your vet can analyze the cat’s condition and advise 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 a time. 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.
How Does The Procedure Work?
Subcutaneous fluid administration works similarly to an IV administration but it uses a needle to deliver fluids under the skin near the spine area. This type of administration works with 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 enter the cat’s bloodstream. After the subcutaneous fluid administration, the cat should show signs of improvement in a few hours. The cat feels energetic and active.