Administering SQ Fluids

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Administering SQ Fluids

Postby powerbreedrescue » Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:21 pm

Only attempt under the direction of your Veterinarian!

Make sure all equipment is from your Vet and follow the instructions given. (If you are going to attempt first ask your vet to physically demonstrate once on your animal, it is much easier to see it done then try to read directions, but these can be used as a refresher)

Wire hanger or similar gauge wire. Use this to fashion a hook to hang the bag of fluids from.

Bag of fluids: use only what the vet provides, do not reuse at a later time or attempt to purchase from any other source.

Needles: Once again use the size the vet recommends (this will depend on the size of the patient) DO NOT REUSE NEEDLES! Not only can you risk infection, they will dull after use and be more painful for the animal.

Drip Set: (tubing set used to run fluid from bag to animal) Provided by the vet again, and these also come in different sizes so they will give the appropriate ones for your specific task. These can be reused as you change bags of fluids as long as it is the same type of fluids, and you keep the tips sterile.

Set up:
1. Open the plastic outer bag for your fluids (some may not have this), then pull out rubber stop at the bottom of the bag. (DO NOT TOUCH THIS AREA). Set down bag so this area does not touch anything, this is where you will insert the drip set.

2. Open your drip set and pull off the plastic cover to the end that will be used in the fluids. This may vary some, but this end (STERILE AREA!!!) will have some sort of sharp conical shape to pierce the plastic of the fluid bag, this is also the end that will have a bulb directly under where the fluid will collect as it drips. (DO NOT TOUCH THIS END)
note: drip sets come with the line open so they do not get tinks, make sure to adjust the dial to close the line before you insert into the bag otherwise you will waste some. When you do close the line slide it to about 6 inches away from the bottom end, this will help when administering the fluids as it will be easier to reach.

3. Insert the top end of the drip set into the fluid bag. Push it in completely making sure not to directly touch either the tip of the drip set or the area where it inserts on the bag. Usually you will need to twist slightly to get it all the way into the bag to prevent any leaking.

4. Prepare for needle. The other end of your drip set will have a plastic end cap, pull off this cap (STERILE AREA!!!) and apply a needle. Do not take the cap off your needle, just apply to the end of the line to keep sterile.

5. Test your flow and getting the air out of the line. Now your fluids are ready to flow. Hang your bag on a high point that still allows free movement of the drip set line. Then squeeze the bulb directly under the bag on the drip set. Squeezing will push some air into the fluid bag and partially fill the bulb with fluid. Only let full 1/4 to 1/2 way (if you over fill just take your set down and invert and sqeeze the fluid back into the bag.)
Over a sink or towel take the cap off your needle (STERILE AREA!!!) open your dial (this is what is used to adjust the flow of the fluids), keep open until a steady stream of fluid flows out for approximatly one second. Then turn off at the dial.

Now you are set up and ready for your patient.

You should always have someone to help if possible. For most animals this is not painful, but can be uncomfortable. Especially small puppies, not only do they squirm more, you are working with less surface area. An extra pair of hands is always helpful!

These directions are written for people that are right handed. Please reverse if you are left handed!
Pull the cap off your needle and then loosly place back on the needle, set down on table. This will make it easier to remove as you will only have one hand.
With your left hand pinch the skin area between the shoulder blades and lift slightly. This will create a tent of skin. With your right hand pick up your needle with out the cap. Insert the needle into the tent of skin that you have created with your left hand. Be careful to not poke the needle all the way throught the tent of skin and watch out for your own fingers. Half the length of the needle should be in the skin.
Continue to hold the skin tent with your left hand and release the needle with your right hand. With your right hand open the dial to the drip set slowly. You will be able to see the drips start to flow from the bulb at the top of the drip set. Once you feel a small bubble under the skin with your left hand you can open the dial more to increase the flow. As it is flowing use your right hand to steady the line.
Continue to flow until you have reached the recommended amount as directed by your vet.
With your right hand turn off the dial stopping the flow. Then pull the needle out. Slightly pinching the area where you are pulling the needle out. This will help stop the fluid from leaking back out. Place the cap back on your needle and you are finished. (It is normal for some fluid to drip back out and a slight red tinge is ok.)
Remove the used needle and replace with a new one. Now you are ready for the next treatment.


1. Between uses keep your fluids set up as directed. This will keep the system closed and sterile.
2. Keep out of direct sunlight.
3. Always keep a needle on the end of the drip set.
4. Throw away any opened items after one week.

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Postby heather » Fri May 04, 2007 5:09 pm

Any idea what the price range is?

Looks like I may be doing this in the near future. :sad:

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Postby urbanwolf » Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:35 pm

:goodpost: Very helpful!!! Thanks for posting this.

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Postby pickleyone » Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:45 pm

i did home care when my pup got parvo (it's rampant in our area.) hydrating her sq among other ways is the only thing that saved her life. if you happen to live more rurally as i do without easy access to a vet (either due to distance or economics or both) sometimes feed stores can be a wealth of information as well as supplies. if you are urban, sometimes the edges of cities can have feed stores. there you can find many legal medical supplies for animals as well as information. the prices are usually quite reasonable. it will almost make you want to start going there for your own medical supplies. :cool:

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Postby redmoss » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:52 am

Get a prescription from your vet for Lactated Ringer Solution. (As far as I know you do not need a script for the needles, 18 gauge or lines.)

My vet was going to charge $10/bag.

A case of 12 bags from Costco is $26. You do not need to be a member to use their pharmacy. (Another medication was $5 at Costco, $15 elsewhere.)

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Postby Clayton4 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:59 pm

I've found that several cc's sub Q at a time work pretty well too. Been through a bit of parvo and distemper, I take care of all that myself. Better survival rate at home than over night with the vet.

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