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How to set-up your pet's subcutaneous fluids at home



Hello, pet parents. My name is Courtney, and I'm with Central Texas Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Hospital. I'm a veterinary technician with the critical care department. Oftentimes we'll have animals that need to go home with subcutaneous fluid administration. That means that we are educating you as the pet parent to administer fluids under the skin to help keep your pet hydrated and help support diaeresis and kidney function.

You'll start with a bag that has been sent home with you. Oftentimes it's going to be lactated Ringers solution or a 0.9% sodium chloride. You should also be sent with a primary administration set and enough meals for however long the bag should last you. We also recommend having a hanger nearby for actually administering at home. This will actually help you hang the bag up and utilize gravity for the drip or for the flow of the fluids.

The first thing you're going to do is remove the bag or the liter fluids from the external packaging. You will then remove the primary administration set. Most of these come wrapped with a paper loop. You'll remove that and extend out the fluid line. There are different parts to the fluid line on how you can impede the flow. You have some clamps on this set. It's a dark navy blue and a light blue, and then you have your roller clamp. Go ahead and roll the white wheel all the way down. With your liter fluid bag, you'll remove the tab covering the insertion hole. With your primary administration set, you'll remove the protective cap being careful to not touch this spike because that needs to remain sterile so that the fluids do not have bacteria in our introduction.

You will insert the spike into the bag. You have to use a little strength behind it. You'll hold the bag up, squeeze the drip chamber so that you have fluids about halfway up, roll the wheel of the roller clamp up and allow the fluids to completely fill the line. Once they have reached the end of the line, we'll roll the wheel back down. To change out the needles, this is how it comes originally with this blue cap. You'll remove this cap. Again, much like the spike of the administration set, you want to keep what is called the male luer adapter completely sterile. You will then remove your needle, and oftentimes they come with either a plastic cap, or they may be paper wrapped. You'll insert the male end of the luer into the female end of the needle. Then gently screw the lock down. You're now ready to administer subcutaneous fluids to your pet.

Fluid administration bags can be difficult to read sometimes, especially if you're not experienced with them. With this liter of fluids, this is a full liter. Each number represents 100 milliliters. If a doctor wants you to give 100 milliliters to your pet, you will go from one to two, then two to three. In order to watch for the administration, you'll see the fluid line at the top begin to fall.

During administration, you can give your bag a bit of a squeeze to help with the flow and then reassess where the fluid line is. To watch how fast your fluid is going, you can look at the drip chamber, and it should be a nice steady stream.