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How to administer an intramuscular injection
How to administer subcutaneous fluids
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How to set up a
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How to administer subcutaneous fluids

Home care for cats and dogs with dehydration, kidney failure, or anorexia may involve the administration of sterile intravenous fluids, given as subcutaneous injections. This fact sheet describes where to place the needle for the least discomfort to the cat and greatest safety for the handler. To learn how to prepare an IV bag and drip set, see how to set up a fluid administration set.
Sterile fluid therapy is indicated for cats and dogs with anorexia, dehydration, kidney failure and other conditions that respond to hydration. Sterile fluids can be administered by hypodermic needle placed into a space below the skin. Choose a quiet place, a non-slippery surface, and an assistant who can restrain the patient. Cats may need to be held by the scruff (loose skin on the neck), dogs by the neck or sides of the head. Ask your local veterinary clinic to demonstrate the procedure Administrating subcutaneous fluids
With the patient restrained, choose an injection site over the shoulder blades. Part the hair at the site and clean the skin with rubbing alcohol if soiled. Grasp a wide fold of skin with thumb and forefinger, lifting the skin about an inch away from the body. The needle is inserted to pierce the skin, the flow of sterile fluids begun, allowing fluid to accumulate in the space you've created under the skin. Administrating subcutaneous fluids
With an assembled IV fluid set, insert a new sterile needle at a 45-degree angle into the skin that is held above the shoulder blades. Use caution to direct the needle away from your hand holding up the skin. If you do accidentally stick yourself with a needle, wash your skin with soap and water, and seek medical attention. With the needle inserted and the cat still restrained, turn on the flow of fluids slowly. Administrating subcutaneous fluids
Start with a flow rate of 1 drop of fluid every second for the first 10 seconds. If the cat or dog accepts the fluids, increase the flow to a steady stream. Watch the fluid level in the IV bag. Typical fluid doses are 5 - 10 ml fluid per pound of body weight, once a day or as needed. When finished, stop the flow, withdraw the needle and discard the used needle into a sharps container or narrow neck plastic bottle for safe disposal. A 'bleb' of fluid will be left under the skin to be absorbed slowly into the circulation. Administrating subcutaneous fluids


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