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How-to give fluids to your cat – no stress tutorial

How-to give fluids to your cat – no stress tutorial


Hi my name is Dr. Uri Burstyn.
I’m a Veterinarian in Vancouver BC and I’d like to welcome you to my series
of Practical Skills for Pet Owners. We’re here today to talk a little bit about
subcutaneous fluid administration, or giving your cat some fluids. Now this is probably, one of the most common procedures we teach people to do at home, and it’s really really helpful for cats who have kidney disease, diabetes,
chronic constipation, thyroid issues because it’s a way for you to hydrate
your cat effectively at home without having to bring them to the vet, and I just want to pause here for a second
to say that people often tell me that they’re giving their cat or dog fluids by
mouth like with a syringe or something. Please don’t ever do that.
That’s not a useful thing to do. You cannot ever get enough fluids for it to be meaningful into the cat’s mouth with a syringe. What you can do is get scratched
and stress your cat out. So please don’t do that. IV fluids are really of course the best
way to hydrate a patient, but that’s something that they
have to be in clinics for but subcutaneous fluids is something
that you can do at home. That is cheap and easy and it makes
such a big difference for cats. Particularly ones suffering from kidney disease. It really is a life-saving procedure as are more effective than any medication we can prescribe, and you know I have clients who are you know
in their seventh or eighth decade of life have arthritis and they’re still quite
happy to do this at home. Of course your cat’s temperament will determine
a little bit how easy or difficult it is to do. This is something you most people can
do at home by themselves. I’m gonna ask my assistant Jess to help me just
to make the video go a little smoother, but this is something that most people with most cats will be able to do on their own at home. Or at most if you get something to help
you out then it’s really easy. Now, to do this we need a bag of fluids
and IV line and a needle. Now your vet should set you up with all of this. Home Fluid Care Kit. This is really easy to set up.
You get this, you take it home. Now, These bags are one liter bags.
You see little divisions down the side. Each one of these is about a, is a 100 milliliters. Most cats will receive two to three hundred mils, at a go. Your vet will tell you how often to administer it. So the way you read this bag is you just stretch
it a little bit just to make the fluid go level, and just read it from the bar there so Right there we see midway between the 8 and 7.
750 mils left in this bag. And Really Just Stretch the Bag a little bit and Just Measure the Fluid Level. And then there’s usually a little dial right
here that you can close and open. Sometimes there’s a little clip down
here you can pinch it open. Open it up and then the fluids will start to drip, and eventually they’ll start coming out of your needle. So we’ll close that for now and grab a cat. All right, so I’m joined Here by my
assistant Jess and Lancelot and I’ll show you how to administer
subcutaneous fluids. Now first thing to do is you prime the line. Just by running the fluids down from
it so the lines full. There we go. The line is primed. See some fluid
came out of the needle. Now, what we’re gonna do is we’re going to
take this needle and we can introduce it into this massive space Lancelot has under his skin. Now, you want a bevel of the needle up
you see the needle isn’t completely flat. There’s a little bevel on top.
Point the bevel of the needle up. You now pinch up a little tenth of skin
right between the shoulder blades. This skin Is very thick and there’svery few nerve endings. So it’s not going to hurt him. You pinch it up and the base of the tent should be
nice and broad, and what you want to do is just Introduce the needle parallel to his back. Into the base of that little skin tent. Just like this. Nice and gentle. There we go. Just slides right in. You can actually let go of the needle
and now you can open up the fluids. Now, you do have to hold the bag
higher than the patient. You can do all sorts of things. You can hang
this up on a coat hanger or a little hook. Or you can simply hold it with your hands and,
i usually squeeze the bag because it takes a while otherwise to run in and squeezing
the bag makes things go a lot faster. That certainly helps when you have an
assistant petting your cat. You can also do this with one hand. Now squeeze squeeze squeeze the bag and remember we’re probably gonna — the average cat is gonna get two to three hundred mils of fluids so Two to three of these little divisions right here. So, we’re just gonna give Lancelot a little bit of Fluids. Notice the line Is running.
We know this is working because The line Is running through here. You see fluid is dripping as I squeeze. The flow becomes faster. This usually takes about two to five
minutes to administer 300 cc’s. So, let’s pretend we’ve administered
our dose of fluids to Lancelot. You can check just by stretching the bag and looking at the division.
So we’ve actually administered just about 75 — just over 50 cc’s there. You could keep going, but for the purposes of
this video we’re going to stop right here. We’re gonna close off the fluid line, and then, we’re just going to withdraw the needle
just in a smooth gentle motion. Pull a needle. Don’t forget to cap it off so you don’t get poked with it, and that’s it you’re done. There’s gonna be a little bump here. I always say that our cats look a little bit
like a camel by the time we’re done. This bump is where the fluids sit under the skin. They will get absorbed over a couple hours. Sometimes you can actually, slide down and you, a little bump can move and like hang out under his arm. That’s not a problem. Doesn’t really bother him at all. and it could also be a little bit of fluid
coming out of the hole. Usually we just put gentle pressure
on there for a few seconds. And It can feel a little bit wet, but that’s it. And this is something you can do to your cat every day, every other day, twice a week, whatever your vet prescribes, and it makes
a huge difference in their quality of life. It effectively corrects dehydration, makes them feel a heck of a lot better,
keeps them out of the emergency clinic, and keeps them happy and healthy at home. So thank you very much for watching!
I hope you will find this useful. Please give us a like. Feel free to share this video,
and don’t forget to have fun with your cat.

Comments (25)

  1. What a beautiful kitty!
    Thanks so much for sharing this information! 😺

  2. One of my cats was diagnosed with kidney failure & we were told he wouldn't last the night as his blood levels were the highest the vet hospital had seen. He'd also had a heart condition (HCM) since he was about 4 years old. His CRF diagnosis was in early Spring 2016 & he has improved dramatically since then. His blood test results are now so good that, were he diagnosed with kidney failure today, he would be between stages 1 & 2, not end stage.

    It's not easy looking after him: he's at the vet's every 2 weeks for injections (vitamin B, ferrous sulphate & darbopoetin, all for anaemia which is common in CRF cats). Drug-wise he takes ranitidine for the CRF, mirtazapine when necessary & cerenia 5 days a weeks for the anorexia you usually get with CRF, & cardisure & benazecare for his heart. The most important treatment is subcutaneous fluid, together with a diuretic, fuorosemide, because of his heart being unable to deal well with the fluid.

    We started out his fluid treatment when he was first released from hospital 5 days after diagnosis. He was prescribed 75ml of saline twice a day. After about a month, he developed congestive heart failure. The treatment was to take him off fluids & try to dehydrate him so much the fluid built up in his chest disappeared. Medications were tweaked, some removed & the diuretic added. Fluids were reintroduced &, a few weeks later, he was back in hospital with fluid on his lungs again. Medications were again tweaked. We had 2 years where everything was working well then it happened again, but this time we caught it before it had fully happened so he recovered quickly & didn't even need the fluid removed from his lungs.

    His current schedule is 37.5ml of subcut saline every 6 hours, day or night. Coupled with all the meds he takes & the need to starve him for 90 minutes before & after giving 1 of his tablets means we have to do something for him every 3-4 hours, day & night. It's exhausting, but so worth it when we see him bouncing around the garden, playing non-stop & generally loving life. Not bad for a 14-year old who we thought we'd lose 2.5 years ago.

    TL, DR: don't give up hope if your cat is given a very poor prognosis with kidney failure. They're tough little animals & can bounce back from a lot of things. Don't be scared of giving them fluids. I used to have a needle phobia & would pass out even when seeing actors giving injections on TV. I've learned how to inject saline into a cat & am my beautiful Scamp's main carer. It's not difficult to do & it doesn't hurt the cat, in fact Scamp sees it as an extra opportunity to be cuddled. It's the most vital part of treatment for a cat with CRF. Their kidneys no longer work properly so your job is to assist them by means of subcut fluids. Doing this will means your cat has the chance of living years longer with no or little change to his quality of life. The injections do not hurt the cat if you do it in the scruff of his neck. Sometimes Scamp falls asleep when I'm doing it, he wouldn't do that if it hurt. He doesn't even twitch when the needle goes in. One tip though, some saline solutions seem to sting. Ask your vet for one that doesn't. Our vet recommended Hartmann's & we saw a difference in Scamp when we switched over to that from a cheaper one.

    Don't stress if your vet says you need to do this for your cat. If I can do it, anyone can & it will lengthen your cat's life. This video is great, but if you have any questions for a lay person, someone who's been through the process of getting their cat's CRF diagnosis & having to learn all these things, send me a message. 😸

    (Edited for typos)

  3. My mom used to administer fluids to one of our cats (Pokey) growing up. We called it "puffing" because of the pocket of fluid under the skin afterward 🙂

    Tip for cat owners with multiple cats: let fluid time be quality, quiet petting time with just that one cat. We had the best success when other cats were locked out of the room. After awhile, Pokey started to enjoy being puffed 🙂

  4. Thank you very much Dr. Yuri, You're the best. We could never get this kind of insightful advises from a common vet here in Sri Lanka. We really think we could save our cat by doing this.

  5. Such a beautiful calm cat~

  6. Thank you. Excellent video. What size needle do you use?

  7. This is great, I was struggling to perform this procedure as my vet wasn't this clear on the details. You might just have saved my cat 😀

  8. I've given my cat water with a syringe and he doesn't seem stressed about it, of course he does not have a condition that needs fluids. this has been only when I've given him a pill or if a pill has made his mouth foam, to rinse it. And when he was suddenly sick I gave him gravy from his regular food with a syringe because he would not eat or drink. My vet told me that it might've saved his little life!
    Very interesting to see this if I ever need to do give my boys a lot of fluids!
    I've had to use a needle like that to administer antibiotics to my other boy at home, it was scary at first but very easy to learn 🙂

  9. Thanks for this video. Speaking from experience, this easy procedure can save your cat's life. Something I always do before giving sub-q fluids is to warm the bag of fluids (be careful not to make it too hot). Room temperature fluid can feel a bit cold, especially to older cats. I found that warming the fluids made the experience less shocking to my kitties. take care and thanks for the videos, Dr. B.

  10. squishing the bag instead of the cat this time

  11. How do you know if your cat is drinking enough fluids? My cat has very early kidney disease and I want to make sure he drinks enough.

    I try to encourage him to drink more water by redirecting fresh water from the tap with my hands towards him. I think he drinks more like that?

  12. What wonderful information! I’ve lost three cats to kidney disease as they reached 16-20. One went into my Vet every morning as I came to work and went home with me at night so he could have daily fluids. Dr. Dykehouse practice was only 200 feet from my office and he and his staff cared for Katmai for a minimal fee of $150 a month for years. Katmai finally passed on at 21 having traveled more than most of my friends.

  13. How do you make shore you are between the skin and superficial fascia and not deeper?

  14. How far do I stick the needle? Halfway? All the way?

  15. Great video, helped me a lot, thanks from the Netherlands🇳🇱

  16. Good video Doc 🙂

  17. When ever I have let go of the needle it shoots out of the animal.

  18. I just started this with my cat today, and while a vet tech gave me a quick lesson yesterday, this video was very helpful with encouragement and reminders getting started at home. Thank you.

  19. Came here for Lancelot

    Stayed for educational purposes

  20. Thank you for your videos! I picked up a cat off the street a couple of months ago and she's a blind elderly lady diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. The vet showed me how to administer subcutaneous fluids and had me do it, but I had help. I'm not sure how to do it on my own. Any tips would be really appreciated!
    Keep up the good work!

  21. I didn't see anyone sterilize the needle…. What is the best procedure for that?

  22. yeah its easy with that angel lol

  23. Hello Dr Burstyn, thanks for this channel, its so great that you are doing this. Could you make a video on CKD..? My five year old is four months into treatment, and only seems to be getting worse.

  24. I have to learn this and I’m terrified!!!

  25. Thank you. Your video was very helpful and you have a friendly way of explaining it 🙂

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