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Spin of spin: SubQ fluids? Like a drive-through?

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  • Spin of spin: SubQ fluids? Like a drive-through?

    I'm impressed by you cat types taking up all that modern medicine has to offer, especially hooking your cat up to a bag of Lactated Ringers often.

    What's that like? A total PITA for man and beast? Expensive? Any techniques to make it easier?

    CatofGreatness probably could use this addition to her medical repertoire and I'm not looking forward to it so I need help.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

  • #2
    I do it about once a week. It's not a big huge deal. I sit her in my lap, make sure the bag is hung above us, stick in the needle and we just sit. Some days she is better than others. A bag lasts about 8 weeks doing it once a week, although sometimes I do it an extra time. For the bag, the line, and the needles, I pay about $20. My girl has been on it for 14 months and it has made a difference.
    Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe


    • #3
      Super easy, as long as your cat cooperates. Most do. Some do not. If they're not feeling real well, that can actually help. Sometimes they get worse about it as they feel better. I've never had a cat, though, that I haven't been able to do.

      A vet supply place will have the fluids, infusion set and needles for waaaay cheaper than your local vet. Bag of fluids: About five bucks. Infusion set: Three-four bucks. Needles: Maybe 13 bucks for a box of 100?

      I find it easiest with another person. My set up is to put the cat on a padded small ottoman or large stool, the other person stabilizes the cat and keeps it from leaving and I manage the needle and infusion. I usually give 100 ccs in a session and the time between sessions depends on the cat and what's going on. I can do it alone with the cat on my lap, but it can be a little more difficult if the kitty likes to squirm.

      My vet always prescribes Normosol-R if he wants me giving fluids.


      • #4
        For an unwilling cat, you can always make a purrito using a bath towel. With both my cats that needed it, towards the end I was doing it every day. I would sit down, legs outstretched, put cat between legs facing forwards. It's actually pretty easy if cat cooperates.

        One time I tried to show my friend with a kitty that had feline AIDS how to do it and kitty was SO upset he bit me down to the bone on my hand. By the time I got to the ER the hand was swollen twice its size and unuseable for several days even with the strong antibiotics they gave me.
        What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by oliverreed View Post
          For an unwilling cat, you can always make a purrito using a bath towel. With both my cats that needed it, towards the end I was doing it every day. I would sit down, legs outstretched, put cat between legs facing forwards. It's actually pretty easy if cat cooperates.

          One time I tried to show my friend with a kitty that had feline AIDS how to do it and kitty was SO upset he bit me down to the bone on my hand. By the time I got to the ER the hand was swollen twice its size and unuseable for several days even with the strong antibiotics they gave me.
          A PURRITO! That's nice.

          I'm sorry to hear about an AIDS cat biting to the bone. It's nice when a sick animal still has some chutzpah, but even better if they can channel it differently!
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat


          • Original Poster

            Thanks to everyone who has shared their "Meh, no big deal" experiences.

            How long does it take to put 100 ml of fluid into a cat?

            And I think the loose skin of a cat is a great design feature. SubQ injections seem like the "offering" that cats have made us so that we can deliver meds n' such with a minimum of suffering. Much better than down the throat or up the bum, eh? And cats aren't good IV drug junkies. Small veins, too much fur.....
            The armchair saddler
            Politically Pro-Cat


            • #7
              It doesn't take long, maybe 5 minutes. The trick is to pull up the scruff of the neck and insert the needle horizontally into the middle of the pulled-up scruff. That way it's under the skin and not into the muscle. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get it right, if it's not in correctly the fluid will leak back out and then you have to do it again.

              I was pretty scared about the whole thing the first time but there's a knack to it - practice mamkes perfect.

              Good luck with your baby.
              What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


              • #8
                Oh, and the ER staff and I learned that feline AIDS is not communicable to humans. None of us were sure. They contacted the CDC. Whew.
                Last edited by oliverreed; Feb. 7, 2013, 03:59 PM. Reason: typo
                What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


                • #9
                  My mom does it to her cat and has been doing so since October of 2011. Her cat isn't bad for it. The only time she isn't well behaved is if the fluids are cold, so my mom warms them in a warm water bath. (Note: my step-dad keeps the house freezing, so room temp is just to cold for her)
                  I love cats, I love every single cat....
                  So anyway I am a cat lover
                  And I love to run.


                  • Original Poster

                    Oooh! Temperature. I hadn't thought of that. Catness thanks you from the bottom of her heart for that clue.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat


                    • #11
                      Call it five minutes or so, depending on the size of the needle and how fast you can get it to run. Smaller needles generally = more comfortable for the cat, but more time. And placement is key, too. Sometimes everything LOOKS good, but it just won't drip well. Adjusting can make things run more freely.


                      • #12
                        Subq really is no big deal at all!
                        I use size 18 needles (a little larger but faster)

                        Set up the rig - plug the tubing into the bag and a needle on the end (definitely NEW needle after each poke, goes in MUCH easier!!)

                        Depending on kitty, set him on my lap with the bag hung on a hanger or something high in front of me so I get gravity, and can see the line on the bag to see how much is going in. And make sure the roller thing that opens and closes the line is in easy reach!

                        make a little tent with the fur behind his neck/withers and insert needle (i go pretty much straight down, as going side ways you will poke through and water will leak out down his side, ask me how know!! ) Open the line. Kitty may squirm a bit. If on someone else's lap, they can help keep a hold of him while I watch the line. sometimes cats really don't mind that much and just sit there. I have had to put in, I think, 200, but only put in 100 at each site - so after 100 then repoke and do another 100, if vet feels really dehydrated.

                        They will look a little like Quasimodo!

                        It barely takes 5 minutes with the big needles and speed is definitely your friend with this!


                        • Original Poster

                          You know, cats spend more than 5 minutes chillin' in one position at a time. You'd think they could do that for medical purposes, especially on a lap.
                          The armchair saddler
                          Politically Pro-Cat


                          • #14
                            LOL. Yeah you'd think. It's really not that bad. You do want to make sure you didn't hit a vein (very unlikely), and you can squeeze the bag.


                            • #15
                              Wow, an 18 g needle is a firehose. I don't even like to use them on my horses! If your cat tolerates that, awesome, but I prefer to use 22's when I do fluids.


                              • #16
                                Well, a tiny little firehose, but the advantage is...speed! you're in and out. I have waited with the tiny little 20s (never tried a 22), and the cats to whom i've had to administer too just hated to sit that long. Even my tiny little girl who died from CRF last winter appeared to prefer the larger needle (never complained). If I had a cat that would sit for it, I think I would go smaller. For th most part, they are pretty good for about a 100/under five minutes. I will say that I use a new needle not only after every use but after every poke (sometimes I go "through"), so it goes in smoothly each time. So far, even my bitey cat has been okay for the process - he just got some today to help with pooping (and it did! hooray!) and he did really, really well!


                                • #17
                                  I can do 100 ccs in five minutes or less with a 22, too. I would expect an 18 to go much quicker than that!

                                  Glad your kitties seem to do well with that size


                                  • #18
                                    18G works like a charm on wiggly cats. Just dont resue the needle so you always have a sharp one. You can easily get 100ml's in in under a minute if you have a cat who wants nothing to do with sitting still.

                                    People think its just huge, but these are the size IV catheters we place in their wee veins, so its really not that bad making one poke under the skin Usually freaks the owners out more than the cats.

                                    Otherwise, a 22g needle if more "friendly"but will take more time for the fluids to push through.

                                    ETA - some cats don't like Lactated Ringers, if your cat is ancy or is objective at all, try something like PLA or Normosol.


                                    • #19
                                      What is PLA or Normosol? I haven't heard of those (have Lactated Ringers) but always interested in options.

                                      i've just used 18 gauge (I think!) but I can see the advantage if kitty is getting poked every day of using something smaller.


                                      • #20
                                        They are just different types of crystalloid fluids, PLA has a more alkaline pH where Lactated Ringers and Normosol are more acidifying (not a bad thing!).

                                        LR is buffered with Lactate and PLA/Normosol I believe are buffered with glucomate. There are also slight electrolyte differences, but usually nothing to make a huge different in a cat who is otherwise eating decently.

                                        Not sure if its the lactate or the pH that causes some cats to dislike LR, but those then usually do fine with PLA. There are cats who also experience this the other way around where the PLA will sting, and the LR will be fine. Otherwise, there really is no major benefit to one over the other unless the cat is hypercalemic (in that case,its best to avoid LR as its has added calcium. LR is typically much cheaper and do the same job so many vets will suggest this.