Subcutaneous Fluid Administration in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Subcutaneous Fluid Administration in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Subcutaneous Fluid Administration in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention

What is Subcutaneous Fluid Administration?

Subcutaneous fluid administration for dogs is the act of injecting a solution of sterile fluids directly underneath the canine’s skin. The medical term for underneath the skin is subcutaneous, with “sub” meaning underneath and “-cutaneous” referring to the skin. Subcutaneous fluid administration may be required for a number of circumstances in which the dog has inadequate body level fluids. The procedure is usually performed by a veterinarian, but some treatments have been performed by dog owners. Delivering subcutaneous fluids at home is not advised, as fluids overload, unsterile fluids, or improper needle placement can result in complications. 

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Subcutaneous Fluid Administration Procedure in Dogs

Subcutaneous fluid administration requires a fluid bag, fluid drip set, and needle. The amount of fluids to be administered to the dog are based on the dog’s physical state, health, and past conditions. A review of the canine’s medical history, a physical examination, urinalysis and blood analysis will likely take place before fluids administration begins. 

The veterinarian or veterinary staff will begin by assembling the equipment, including the fluid bag and drip set. 

  1. The fluid bag and drip set will be removed from the sterile packaging. 
  2. The fluid line will be locked by rolling the lock gauge upward, preventing fluid from leaving the bag during assembly. 
  3. The protective cap will be removed from the bag of fluids and the fluid set will be pushed into the fluid bag’s exit port. 
  4. The bulb located at the top of the drip set will be squeezed to allow fluids from the fluid bag to collect in this small, flexible cylinder. The bulb will be approximately ½ full with sterile fluids. 
  5. The protective cap at the end of the fluid set’s tubing will be removed and the rolling lock will be opened. Fluid will be allowed to freely flow through the tubing, removing air from the fluid line. 
  6. Once all air bubbles are removed from the line, the fluid set will once again be closed and protective caps will be placed back on the line. 

Once the fluids are assembled, the veterinarian or member of the staff will choose a location to administer the fluids underneath the dog’s skin. Common locations for subcutaneous fluid administration include the level of the shoulder blades, just left or right of the midline, or at the level of the back legs. A roll of skin will be pinched and pulled upward, then the needle will be inserted into the skin. The doctor will monitor the location after fluid administration begins. 

The fluids are released from the bag at a drip rate per minute, delivered over a time of 5 to 15 minutes. The veterinarian will calculate this drip rate based on the dog’s weight and hydration needs. 

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Efficacy of Subcutaneous Fluid Administration in Dogs

Subcutaneous fluid administration is highly effective in restoring hydration to the canine patient in some situations. 

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Subcutaneous Fluid Administration Recovery in Dogs

Subcutaneous fluid administration is prescribed to patients for a number of conditions and the recovery time, as well as how long fluids are needed, depend on the specific circumstance. 

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Cost of Subcutaneous Fluid Administration in Dogs

Subcutaneous fluid administration costs about $80 in most veterinary clinics, but emergency care providers may charge higher than the average vet. 

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Worried about the cost of Subcutaneous Fluid Administration 1 treatment?

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Dog Subcutaneous Fluid Administration Considerations

Subcutaneous fluid administration for dogs should only be administered by a licensed veterinarian or member of the veterinary staff. This therapy is highly beneficial, but can affect the heart, lungs and kidneys if administer incorrectly. Older patients should be closely monitored during subcutaneous fluid administration, as older dogs are at a higher risk for adverse effects. 

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Subcutaneous Fluid Administration Prevention in Dogs

Dehydration is a common and easily preventable condition that is treated with subcutaneous fluid administration. Allowing a dog to drink freely and stay hydrated during warmer months of the year can easily prevent dehydration. 

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Subcutaneous Fluid Administration Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Shitzu poodle mix

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Twelve Years

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8 found helpful

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8 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Urinating In Home, Vomit, Diareeah, After Given Fluids From Emergency Clinic, She Peed Blood

Is it normal to have dark urine after receiving fluids for dehydration?

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Thank you for your question . Urine is typically more dilute after fluids, and I would be concerned if she is still vomiting. She may need further care, from your description, and it would be a good idea to call or visit your veterinarian to see if she needs any medications or treatment. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 5, 2020

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Poodle x Shih-Tzu

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Twelve Years

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10 found helpful

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10 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Fluid In Abdomen

My dog had subcutaneous fluid done by the vet today around 11:30 am. When i got home tonight from work, he was in so much pain he couldn’t move and there was a pocket of fluid under his right paw.

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Ellen M. DVM

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10 Recommendations

Hello, thank you for your question. I am so sorry to hear that your dog is in so much discomfort! Without examining your dog, it's very hard for me to know exactly what might be going on, but it's not unusual for subcutaneous fluids to travel down the body under the skin due to gravity. If this is causing swelling, it could be what is causing the discomfort. If your dog seems to be in extreme pain or if he is unable to get up and walk, I recommend calling an emergency veterinary clinic immediately. Otherwise, I recommend calling your vet in the morning if it has not improved. I hope that your dog starts feeling better soon!

Aug. 4, 2020

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