How to Give a Cat Subcutaneous Fluids

Subcutaneous fluids are fluids that are given under the cat’s skin. These fluids are then absorbed into the blood stream. If a cat is dehydrated or suffering from chronic kidney failure, the vet may recommend the administration of subcutaneous fluids to address the loss of more fluids than usual. Most cats suffering from this condition need subcutaneous fluids 2 to 3 times a week.

Subcutaneous Fluids

Subcutaneous fluids contain electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and calcium. These fluids rehydrate the cat and come in clear plastic bags with a drip line. The fluids are generally injected under your pet’s coat.

Materials required:

  • IV pole
  • Clean needles
  • An IV bag
  • A drip or giving set

Preparation for the IV

You should place the IV bag in a bowl of warm water to heat it. Cats generally require 500 ml of fluid to be administered. Pre-warming the bag makes the procedure more comfortable as it reduces the irritation experienced by your pet.

IV Bags

Each IV bag has 2 ports. One of these ports is an injection port through which drugs can be injected into the fluids. This port is generally not required for the administration of SQ fluids at home. The other port is the spike or administration port and has a blue plastic cover that should be pulled off.

Setting up the Drip Set

Remove the drip set from its wrapping. One end of the set has a plastic drip chamber with a spike at the top. The other end has a cover and it’s this end that the needle has to be attached to. The set also has a clamp that regulates the flow of the fluid. Roll down the clamp to the close position and then remove the cover on the spike before attaching the spike to the administration port of the bag.

Instructions for Proper Set Up

Suspend the bag to the IV pole at a height higher than where the cat will sit and half fill the drip chamber with fluid by squeezing the chamber and releasing it repeatedly. Release the clamp to allow the fluid to flow into the tubing of the giving set. When the fluid emerges from the end of the tubing, it indicates that all the air and air bubbles are expelled from the set. Roll the clamp to the close position to prevent any further flow of fluids.

Administering IV Fluids to Your Cat

Remove the needle from its packing, the hub of the needle as well as the cover of the giving set. Then remove the plastic cap from the needle and holding the hub of the needle insert it into the scruff. Subsequently, open the clamp on the giving set to allow the fluid to flow. Ensure that there is a continuous flow of fluid into the subcutaneous space.

When the required amount of fluids has been administered, roll the clamp to the close position and remove the needle from the cat’s skin. Take care to ensure that the hub of the needle and the protected end of the giving set aren’t touched or contaminated.

It’s best to ask the vet to administer the fluids if you aren’t confident or if your pet is stressed and uncooperative.