Administering Fluids

Administering fluids (Lactated Ringer’s Injection USP) to your cat or dog is something you might have to do in his or her lifetime. Usually this happens when your pet gets older and needs extra hydration because of renal (kidney) failure or whatever other aliment she or he has. Below you can watch two videos. The first one is of needle preparation. Before Rags died on March 30, 2009, he got 100cc of fluids each night for about 6 months. A new needle was used each night.

The bag of fluids and the tube that is attached to it can be used for the full 10 days. In other words, 100cc can be used every day for 10 days and you only have to change out the needle.

The cost of the bag of fluids can vary greatly depending on the vet. In the Kansas City area, the bag of fluids and the tube (“the whole set up”) can be anywhere from $15 to $21. Regardless, $15 or $21 every 10 days can certainly add up quickly. If you have any suggestions about how to reduce this cost, please let me know.

Please watch the videos below to see administering fluids and how the needle is put on the bag of fluids and also to see how it was given to Rags.


Below is a video of fluids being administered to Rags.


So, as you can tell. You lift up the skin that sits behind your pet’s neck. With your fingers holding the skin up, there is a V that is created. It is in this “V” that you try to get the needle inserted–without hitting a muscle or the spinal cord (of course!). You want the fluids to sit under the skin so that they can be absorbed by the body.

Once the fluids have been administered, then you will probably see the bubble of fluid that forms fall to your pet’s belly area…it isn’t absorbed immediately, but will be over time.

Once your cat or dog are used to receiving fluids, you can usually administer them by yourself, however, as with anything, it is easier to have two people. I certainly appreciate it when my boyfriend can squeeze the bag of fluids (to hurry up the process) while I rub Rags’ chin. He seems to be more comfortable when he is distracted. As the bag gets depleted, I would suggest rolling it down (like a tube of toothpaste) and then squeezing it to help the fluids come out faster.

Another tip is to warm the bag of fluids in some warm water before you give them to your pet. The cold fluids going under their skin might sting a bit.

As far as the Lactated Ringer’s Injection USP is concerned…for those of you who are scientifically inclined and are curious. Each 100mL contains 600 mg Sodium Chloride USP, 310 mg Sodium Lactate, 30 mg Potassium Chloride USP,20 mg Calcium Cholride USP.

To see more of Rags’ procedures, like administering fluids, please click on any of the relevant ones below:

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. I know- I hope to never repeat it. But, for her last 6 months, I was giving her 100 ML’s twice a day. Before that it was 100 to 150 ML’s daily. My vet called the fluids “super juice”. He was right- when she was hydrated she felt so much better! It was well worth the effort and gave me another good 2 1/2 years to have her with me. I just didn’t go anywhere for more than a day for that time!

    1. I hear you – I started dating a man shortly after Rags was diagnosed and his family didn’t live here – and I always said I couldn’t go visit them until Rags’ died. They didn’t understand why – but there was no one to give him fluids and I wasn’t about to leave him at the vet or leave him not knowing how soon the end was.

  2. I landed on this page after reading about Rags. I gave my Calico, Chloe, daily and sometimes twice daily fluids for about 2.5 years.
    The best cost-saving idea was to get a written RX from my vet and buy the bags of fluids from Costco pharmacy. I think they were about $2 each when buying by the case. Some online pharmacies sell bags, too. I bought needles and the lines from Thriving Pets- an online supply house.
    A good vet won’t have any problem giving you a written RX for the set-ups. They know it’s too expensive to buy from them on a long term basis. If your vet won’t do that- think about changing vets!
    Another hint is to wrap the fluid bag in a heating pad to keep the fluids warm. I wrapped it up every time between treatments- made it much more comfortable for Chloe!
    Hope this helps another owner who is researching administering subq fluids. It seems daunting at first, but quickly becomes just part of your daily routine!

    1. Oh nice – good to know! I hope I never have to do it again, but that Costco thing is good info.

      Love the heating pad idea – how often were you giving them to Chloe?

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