Subcutaneous Fluid Injection

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Subcutaneous Fluid Injection

This is a discussion on Subcutaneous Fluid Injection within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; My dog (14.5 yr old chihuahua mix) has developed a kidney problem, so the vet prescribed sub-Q fluids 100ml every other day. After some initial ...

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Old 11-18-2016, 07:41 PM
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Subcutaneous Fluid Injection

My dog (14.5 yr old chihuahua mix) has developed a kidney problem, so the vet prescribed sub-Q fluids 100ml every other day. After some initial difficulty I got the procedure down and have been doing it for a few months now.

Over the past two or three weeks I seem to have lost my touch. Typically what happens now is I pull up on the scruff of her neck, slide the needle in parallel to her body, open the valve, but then it starts leaking fluid where the needle went in.

When that happens I'll turn her loose, rather than keep trying while she's already stressed, and we'll try again later in the day. Frequently I might go two or three failed attempts before finally getting it to work.

Does anybody have any hints on what I might be doing wrong? It seems to me that I'm doing it exactly the same, whether it works or I get the leakage. But I'm putting the dog through a lot more of these injection sessions than I should have to, so I would really like to get this figured out. (I have checked to make sure the needle is screwed in tightly to the adapter on the end of the tube.)

Also, when I first started having these failed attempts I would dispose of the needle and get a new one for the next attempt; but I'm going through so many that now I've been sterilizing the needle in rubbing alcohol. When I finally get a good injection I'll then dispose of the needle. Is there any problem with doing this?

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old 11-19-2016, 01:02 AM
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needles are cheap... try not to reuse them. Good way to get an infection at the site of the fluids. Even using rubbing alcohol.

Chihuahuas are notoriously unhappy about being stuck with needles, particularly over and over again. The less sticks the better. I would be hard pressed to give my own Chihuahuas repeated SQ fluids, and I do this for a profession. Larger dogs are a LOT easier to treat this way, as are cats... these pets often get better and better about repeated doses of fluid.... but small, tight-skinned, sensitive breeds are a different story. I doubt you are losing your touch... your pet is probably getting tired of being poked all the time.
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Old 11-19-2016, 10:32 AM
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Thanks for the advice - I'll make sure to use a fresh needle each time.

Since we had two failed attempts yesterday, we'll give it a rest today and try again tomorrow. One thing that occurred to me is that a while back, in preparing for the injection, I started moving her collar up to just under her ears so it wouldn't be in the way. This may have caused me to unconsciously move the injection site up her neck instead of down by her shoulders. Next time I'll make sure to locate her shoulders and do it there.
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Old 11-19-2016, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by dfsd View Post
This may have caused me to unconsciously move the injection site up her neck instead of down by her shoulders. Next time I'll make sure to locate her shoulders and do it there.
Your situation and description reminded me of many years ago when I chose to administer sub-q fluids to my dog. As I recall, I had times where once the needle was in place it would leak out as well. I do recall the "hump" of fluid was closer to the area between her shoulder blades rather than closer to higher up on the neck. So, you might be very well correct about inserting the needle a bit too high on the neck area. I'm sure the process is similar but I was dealing with a much larger dog than yours and the amount of fluid was obviously more in my case but overall it probably is all relative. I don't know if I was told this by the vet or just did it on my own but I always tried to find a "fresh" area to insert the needle. I'm guessing the people in here that know about this procedure in a professional sense like lzrddr could shed some light on my guessing.

FWIW, I do recall my efforts in administering these fluids rather often did seem to make an overall difference. I would sit on the bathroom floor with my dog and the IV bag hanging on the closed door while she patiently waited while the fluids would make that hump on top of her shoulder blade area.

I hope all goes well for you and your dog.
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Old 11-19-2016, 11:15 AM
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Thanks for the thoughts DriveDog. I think it is helping - when we had her 3-month followup labwork done, the numbers were pretty much the same as before. So even though the kidney problem isn't going away, it's at least stable or declining slowly. Her energy level is good, and you'd never know she had a problem by observing her.
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Old 12-05-2016, 03:45 PM
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Just wanted to post a quick followup. The last four injections have worked fine - no leakage at all. There's only been one change that I can think of.

Several weeks ago, when it started getting colder, I began heating the bag of fluid with an electric heating pad. When the bag would feel warm enough I would hang it up and test the flow by opening the valve and squirting some into a plastic cup. When I stuck my finger in the flow coming out of the needle it still seemed cold. I figured it took a while to go through the fluid in the fairly long hose, so I started folding the hose inside the heating pad so it would also get warmed up.

This is pure speculation, but I'm wondering if the heat in the hose (and particularly in the connection with the needle) caused some expansion that allowed the leakage to happen.

I've stopped heating the hose, just heating the bag itself, and from the day I made that change I've had no more problems with this.
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