Alternatives To Sub Q Fluids For Cats

There are many issues to consider as a proud cat parent. If your cat is an older one, Chronic Renal Failure might be a problem. You might also see your cat struggling with dehydration if it is a kitten or older cat.

What are Subcutaneous Fluids (SubQs)?

Subcutaneous is the term for fluids that are under the skin. In the USA, sub-Qs are known as subcuts and in the UK subcuts. These fluids are used to hydrate the cat. The fluid is not injected slowly into the cat’s veins as with intravenous fluids (IV), but it is injected under the skin using a needle. The fluid slowly disperses throughout the cat’s skin, helping to maintain the right level of hydration.

Subcutaneous Fluids: Why?

Cats are unusual in their ability to concentrate urine. This is a result of the cat’s African heritage. This ability slowly disappears in cats with CKD. Cats then produce a very weak urine colour and a lot of urine.

When to Use Subcutaneous Fluids

Sub-Qs are great for cats that need them but not all cats with CKD need them right away. Sub-Qs are meant to prevent dehydration. Cats with early stage CKD are able to drink enough water to compensate for their increased urination and so do not become dehydrated even if they have sub-Qs.

How much fluid should I give my cat?

Your veterinarian will advise you on the right amount to give your cat. The average cat should be given 100-150 ml fluids per day. You should only give half the amount to each of your cats if you have two locations.

  1. You can stop fluids from flowing by pressing the roller in the fluid lock down firmly. Fluid will leak out if the bag is not closed tightly and left hanging. Some bags have an extra slide closure at the fluid line.

2. Take the needle off the skin and replace the protective cap. When you insert the needle into its cap, be careful. The used needle should be removed from the drip set.

3. After you’re done, place a new, sterilized needle on the drip set. This will prevent bacteria from getting into the fluid bag that was picked up by the old needle.

4. Keep the equipment safe until the next fluid administration. Keep the fluids out of direct sunlight and in a cool place. Keep it out of reach of pets and children.

What other tips do I need to know?

Wiping the skin with a little alcohol does not sterilize it. The odor and feeling of alcohol can also cause irritation in your cat.

A lump under your skin will develop as the fluids run. This pocket of fluid will eventually be absorbed. Gravitation can cause fluids to move down along the sides of the body if absorption is slow. Rarely, fluids can even migrate under the skin of the rear or front legs. Don’t be alarmed. This is normal. Your cat will not feel any discomfort or pain if the fluids are absorbed.

What should I do if the fluids stop running during administration?

This happens often when the needle’s end is in contact with the skin or underlying tissue. This is when fluid can’t flow freely because the needle opening becomes “blocked”, or covered. Do not take out the needle. Instead, gently reposition the needle until fluids flow again.

Does My Cat Need Subcutaneous Fluids?

SQ fluids can be administered as often as needed. However, for cats who require fluid supplementation, SQ liquids should be administered between once per week and once per day. The most common frequency is 23 times weekly.

What is the procedure for giving fluid?

SQ fluids can be administered in many ways. The most popular method is to use a ‘dripbag’, which contains the fluid to administer. A length of ‘drip tube’ attached to a needle that is placed under the skin, is also an option. SQ fluids are very well tolerated by most cats.

Complications Of Fluid Administration

Although complications are rare, it is possible to have them. If you are concerned, speak with your veterinarian immediately. A persistent swelling around the injection site in your cat’s body, especially if it becomes painfully hot, red, or swollen, could be a sign of a local infection.

How To Give Injectable Fluids At Home

Water is the most essential of all nutrients. We humans are fortunate that we can drink fluids whenever we need them. Animals stop drinking if they feel sick.

Even a 10% loss in body fluid can cause problems for your pet. It is crucial that you replenish the fluids lost and avoid dehydration.

In emergency situations, fluids can be injected into the abdomen cavity. Fluids can be administered subcutaneously to cats. This is done in the area under the skin and above the underlying muscles. Fluid administration is easier for animals with loose skin on their backs.

Do Cats Feel Better After Subcutaneous Fluids?

Some cats experience a better quality of life and feel more physically hydrated. Some cats experience emotional problems and are unable emotionally to adjust. Consider the effects of subcutaneous fluids on your cat.

Do Subcutaneous fluyids Need to Be Refrigerated

Fluids don’t need to be kept cold. Keep the fluid bag, lines and needles safe from children and animals when not in use.

Cats’ Subcutaneous Fluid Administration Costs

Subcutaneous fluid administration costs in an acute or emergency situation can vary depending on the condition and any other veterinary care needs.

Subcutaneous fluid administration to treat chronic conditions such as kidney disease is $25 per treatment. For cats that require multiple treatments per month, this could equal $300 per month.

How long do subcutaneous fluids last cat?

Sub-Q fluids should be administered every one to three days for cats with chronic kidney disease. Talk to your veterinarian about a gradual transition to a prescribed diet for cats suffering from chronic kidney disease.

Why does my cat vomit after subcutaneous fluids?

For cats with high calcium levels, liver problems or lymphoma, the more alkaline version (pH 7.4) may be more appropriate. These fluids can cause vomiting in cats after being administered. They can also sting cats and cause them to twitch at the needle insertion sites.

Top Alternatives To Sub Q Fluids

This article will help you learn how to make Sub Q fluids for cats that are simpler.

Encourage your cat to hydrate orally

Instead of having to poke your cat with a needle to provide essential fluids, encourage your pet to drink. You can get your cat to drink water even though they are often averse to it.

Keep a variety of fresh water sources for your cat around the house

Your cat will not always have water if you aren’t available or asleep. Keep several water sources around your cat’s house.

Catnip is a great option for Sub Q. It can be used for many purposes, including for water. You can increase your cat’s water intake by simply mixing catnip with water.

Add More Canned Food to Your Cat’s Meal Plan

You may feel tempted to make your cat’s diet infinitely more hydrating if she isn’t getting enough water, is aging or has experienced Chronic Renal Failure.

A can of wet food contains 70% to 80% water. This will increase your furry friend’s fluid intake quickly.

Creativity with Liquids in Cat Foods

How can you get your cat to hydrate unknowingly? Get your cat’s attention by feeding it a creative, liquid-rich meal.

You can make cold water for your cat by pouring some broth into an ice tray and then adding a few ice cubes to her water bowl when she’s done drinking.

Introducing Your Cat To Goat Milk

Dairy goat production can be an alternative to small-scale or part time livestock operations. Some dairy goat producers are successful at pasteurizing goat milk, building a jugging operation, and others venture into retail distribution of processed milk products, including specialty cheeses and soaps.

Goat milk is the main source of milk in many parts of the developing world. Because of its unique taste and health benefits, goat milk is highly sought after. While goat milk has been linked to many health benefits, the majority of health claims are not supported by scientific evidence.


It doesn’t matter if you are showing clients an injection, SQ fluids or an anal gland expression procedure, remember that demos are an important part of your job as a technician. Do not rush it or act frustrated because there are a million other things you should be doing.

Reassure them by demonstrating how to give their pet this therapy. A great technician is able to demonstrate the techniques clearly and accurately with patience.

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