Subcutaneous Fluids for Cats

Feline Kidney Failure and Injectable Fluids

Cats can be prone to kidney (renal) disease which can eventually turn to renal failure, where the kidneys no longer function properly. In many instances, this diagnosis requires giving your cat injectable fluids to prevent dehydration and to help the kidneys. Luckily, the fluids are often only needed a few times a week. The process of injecting your cat can seem frightening, and we completely understand any fears. This article from VetRxDirect aims to help you get through those tough treatments.

Subcutaneous Fluids for Cats Supplies and terminology:

  • Needle: The needle is a metal device used to pierce through the skin to inject the fluid. It has a base, called the hub, which is screwed or pushed onto a syringe containing the fluids. The bevel of the needle is the opening at the very tip of it, which pierces the skin. Needles vary by their length and gauge, which is the measurement of the thickness of the needle and it’s opening. The gauge measurement can seem backwards because the lower the number of gauge, the larger the opening of the needle is.
  • Syringe: The syringe is a plastic device used to draw up and push the fluid into the cat. The base of the syringe is called the barrel and the plunger is the part that moves inside the barrel to draw up fluids and push them out. The tip is the very top of the syringe, where the needle will attach.
  • Fluid Bag: The fluids with which you will be injecting your cat will likely come in plastic liter bags. There are several types of fluids such as plasma lyte, normal saline, and lactated ringers solution. There are two ports on the fluid bags: One is an outlet port, where you can place lines in to administer fluids, and the other is an injection point where you can draw fluids from using a needle and syringe.
  • Solution Set: Some veterinarians may want you to use a line from the bag to the cat to administer fluids, called a solution set. At VetRxDirect, we carry the IV Venoset (intravenous) line, which also works for giving fluids subcutaneously. The line allows the fluids to be administered slowly and can be helpful for large volumes.

The parts of the solution set are as follows, working from top to bottom: the plastic, white spike at the top is used to enter into the fluid bag. The dropper chamber is where the drops are formed before they get to the roller clamp which is the plastic piece with a roller that can go up and down to either stop or start the fluid flow. This also controls how fast the fluids will enter your cat. Then, after all of the tubing, you will find an injection port, where the needle will be placed to administer the fluids into your cat.

Below are diagrams I created to help you navigate through the different parts of the sterile products:

Needle and Syringe

Needle and Syringe Diagram for Giving Subcutaneous Fluids for Cats

Fluid Bag and Solution Set

Fluid Bag Diagram for Giving Subcutaneous Fluids for Cats

Sterility is a must when giving subcutaneous fluids for cats:

The fluids given to the cat will be injected using a needle into the cat’s body, usually under the skin (subcutaneously). This means anything on the needle or skin around the injection site now has the chance to enter the body. By injecting your cat, you are breaking the skin’s barrier function which normally serves to keep bad things out of the cat’s body. This is why using sterile products and using antiseptic (or clean) technique is important.

The needles, lines, fluid bags, and syringes are all sterile when you receive them. The sterility is broken, however, when you remove the plastic wrapping, caps, or protective covers. This is when your proper handling is needed most to keep your pet safe from infection. The following tips may help you with this part.

Tips to help reduce contamination while giving subcutaneous fluids for cats:

  • Always wash your hands before handling the sterile products and equipment.
  • Nitrile or latex gloves can protect you and your pet.
  • Do not open the packaging on the products until you are ready to use them.
  • Sanitize your work surface, such as a counter, with isopropyl alcohol or any other sanitizer.
  • Use alcohol swabs to wipe off all surfaces the needle will enter through. Examples are vials, the ports on fluid bags, and possibly even your cat’s injection site depending on your veterinarian’s recommendations.
  • When using a syringe, try to keep your fingers away from the needle attachment site and away from the sides of the plunger. Touching both of these areas can cause contamination of the fluids you’ll be injecting into your cat.
  • Never reuse needles that have been introduced to blood. You should never reuse the same needle placed into your cat to draw up fluids or to re-inject the cat. This takes bacteria and/or blood into the new site. However you may use the same needle to draw fluid from a bag and to then inject the cat as it never touched any blood and should remain somewhat clean. Needles are sharpened when manufactured, designed with the right precision to enter surfaces easily. Every time they are used, the bevel opening is damaged and becomes duller, making it harder and more painful to reuse. This is yet another reason why needles should not be reused.
  • It also not recommended to reuse the alcohol swabs because they can transfer bacteria around.
  • It is sometimes not recommended to recap the needles as doing so can lead to you sticking yourself.
  • Ask your cat’s veterinarian about their specific recommendations.

Getting the fluids into your cat:

Your pet’s veterinarian will probably demonstrate how to give the fluids to your pet, and it is best to follow their guidelines. These are just a few simple tips that may help with giving the fluids to your cat.

  • Your pet’s veterinarian may want you to simply draw fluid out of a bag using a syringe and then inject it into your cat.
  • You can also use a tube between the syringe and needle in the cat and push the fluid through the syringe.
  • The last way is to use a line between the bag itself and the needle, which is placed into the cat.
  • When drawing up fluid from a vial, it is important to pressurize it. To do this, you simply inject the amount of air equivalent to the fluid needed into the vial before drawing up the fluid. This helps ensure the pressure on the inside and outside of the vial are equal.
  • To make sure you don’t hit any other tissues, you can pull your cat’s skin straight up and make a tent-like shape. Then with your other hand you can insert the needle right into the tent structure you made and slowly release it.
  • Most cats need the fluid injected into their backs, but follow the recommendations of your cat’s veterinarian.
  • The injection will likely form a pocket of fluid under the skin that may migrate downward as the day progresses.
  • Always check for existing fluid pockets before making a new one because they should be completely gone before the next injection.

Please share your experiences and tips and suggestion when giving subcutaneous fluids for cats by leaving a reply below. Also, please feel free to leave any product ratings and reviews on the product pages featured in this article. Thank you.

Unflavored Heartworm Prevention

Unflavored Heartworm Prevention Heartgard Tablets are Back!

Unflavored Heartworm Prevention Heartgard Tablets is back in stock.

Unflavored Heartworm Prevention is Now Available!

Does your dog have digestive disorders or meat/additive allergies? If so, buying a monthly heartworm preventative can be challenging. Heartgard has made it easier by providing you with the option of an unflavored tablet. The tablet contains ivermectin, just as the chew does, and is given monthly to prevent heartworm disease in dogs. This is a great option for dogs with allergies to certain foods, treats, etc.

What is the difference between Heartgard Tablets and Heartgard Plus?

Heartgard Tablets is a product similar to Heartgard Plus, except Heartgard Plus contains pyrantel pamoate along with ivermectin. Pyrantel Pamoate provides an added benefit of treating/preventing roundworms and hookworms. Unfortunately, there is no unflavored version of Heartgard Plus available at this time. Therefore, you will want to consult with your veterinarian about the need of adding in a dewormer if your dog is prescribed Heartgard Tablets.

Leave us an Unflavored Heartworm Prevention Review

Have you given Heartgard Tablets in the past? Are you planning on going back to Heartgard Tablets? Leave a Reply below or consider a product rating and review on the VetRxDirect Heartgard Tablets product page. Thank you.

Quellin: A More Convenient Carprofen

Quellin Carprofen Soft Chews for Dogs Now Available

Quellin is now available at VetRxDirect Pet Pharmacy

The FDA has recently approved Quellin, a medication containing Carprofen, in a soft chew formulation. This new formulation makes giving your dog’s anti-inflammatory much more convenient because you can simply offer it like a treat. Quellin is meat flavored, a savory taste most dogs love. This eliminates the need to mask your dog’s medication or hide it in their food. It also can help you feel more confident your dog is getting their full dose, as long as they eat the whole soft chew!

Quellin is the Newest Carprofen Dog Medication

Quellin’s active ingredient, Carprofen, is the same active ingredient as Rimadyl, Norocarp, Vetprofen, Novox, Carprieve, and Putney’s Carprofen. The difference with Quellin is the more convenient soft chew formulation. Quellin carries the same risks, side effects, and efficacy as the other carprofen agents: To learn more please read my other article, Important Information on NSAIDS for Pets.

We Ask for Your Help.

After you dog has used Quellin, please leave a comment here and leave a product review on Quellin’s VetRxDriect product page. We want to help share your experiences with all pet parents. Thank you.

Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

Unfortunately some dogs are prone to bladder leakage or not being able to hold their bladder for long periods of time. This is called urinary incontinence. Large breed, female dogs are especially likely to experience urinary incontinence after being spayed because they no longer produce certain hormones. Some male dogs can also develop urinary incontinence; it’s just not as likely. There are a few treatment options available for your pet, but unfortunately the availability of some through VetRxDirect is changing. Please read further about this recent issue and the other possible treatments for urinary incontinence in dogs.

Hormone-dependent urinary incontinence in female dogs:

The urinary sphincter is a part of a dog’s urinary tract and tightens to form a closure when a dog is not urinating. This is what makes a dog able to hold their bladder and to not have any leakage. Spaying a female dog means removing their ovaries and most likely their uterus too. These organs are responsible for producing estrogen and progestin hormones. Sometimes, this decrease in estrogen over time can cause a female dog to become incontinent, or not be able to fully close their urinary sphincter. There are also instances where intact (not spayed) female dogs can experience urinary incontinence related to a decline in estrogen with age.

Hormone-dependent urinary incontinence in male dogs:

Male dogs may also develop urinary incontinence, and it can be caused by being neutered. The neutering process involves removing the testicles, which are responsible for producing the male hormone, testosterone. Testosterone, like estrogen, helps control the urinary sphincter and provides the dog with bladder control. Just like female dogs, male dogs who are not neutered may also develop urinary incontinence due to a decline in testosterone.

Treatment for urinary incontinence in dogs:

There are many other causes of urinary incontinence in dogs, ranging from nerve-related, physical abnormalities, and urinary tract infections. This is why it is important to go through all testing for your dog to find the cause of their urinary incontinence. For dogs with hormone-dependent urinary incontinence, the treatment options can be broken down into two categories: hormone replacement and adrenergic agonists. Below is a short list of possible treatment options for urinary incontinence in dogs, but it does not include all possible treatment options. Each dog requires a specific therapy determined by your dog’s veterinarian.

Male Hormone Replacement: Testosterone shots are a possible treatment for male dogs with urinary incontinence. Testosterone will cause the urinary sphincter to tighten and regain control again. Testosterone shots are usually given through your veterinarian, and they are not available through VetRxDirect.

Incurin (estriol) for urinary incontinence in dogs

Incurin is Available at VetRxDirect Pet Pharmacy

Female Hormone Replacement: Female dogs have two options for hormone replacement: estriol and diethylstilbestrol. Incurin is the brand name product for estriol for dogs, available through VetRxDirect, and it is given to replace estrogen levels. Diethylstilbestrol, commonly known as DES, is a synthetic drug which mimics the body’s natural estrogen, estradiol. There are no manufactured products containing DES, but it is compounded by pharmacies, including VetRxDirect. Diethylstilbestrol is usually given daily for 7-10 days and then reduced to a weekly dose. Both Incurin and DES work by acting as estrogen on the urinary sphincter, causing it to tighten and regain control over urination.

Adrenergic Agonists: Adrenergic agonists can be effective for both male and female dogs. Adrenergic agonists resemble epinephrine or adrenaline and cause the urinary sphincter to tighten, preventing leakage and controlling the bladder. There are several adrenergic agonist drugs available but only phenylpropanolamine has a veterinary approved product, called Proin.

Others: There are many other possible treatments for urinary incontinence due to non-hormonal causes. Your veterinarian will best know which medication is right for your dog based on the cause and potential side effects.

VetRxDirect’s discontinuation of Proin sales:

Phenylpropanolamine, the active ingredient in Proin, can be a precursor to methamphetamine production, so it’s sales and use are controlled under the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. Most regulatory bodies have tightened the control over the sales of Proin over the years because of its use to create meth. Due to continual changes in state reporting and monitoring of controlled substances, such as Proin, VetRxDirect has made the difficult choice to discontinue selling Proin. The decision was made by weighing the risks versus the benefits of selling Proin. VetRxDirect would like to support the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 in reducing the availability of methamphetamine ingredients in the United States to decrease drug addiction and abuse. This decision unfortunately affects our dedicated customers who have purchased Proin and seen benefits in their dog; however, Proin may still be purchased from licensed veterinarians. VetRxDirect has other treatment options to consider as listed above. We apologize for any inconvenience this decision may cause, and we hope to be a continued trusted source for your pet’s medications.