Saturday, December 3, 2011

watering kittens

Well they are becoming dehydrated... So I went to the shelter (RORY GOT ADOPTED!!!  and so did Diane, which I'm very happy about even if I didn't get to give her one more kiss) and got some fluids.  I didn't know how many of you have ever seen or watched anyone give subq (under the skin) fluids, so I thought I'd try to take photos of it.

Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment trying to take pictures of kittens with needles in them.. but more on that in a bit.

These are the supplies as I brought them home from the shelter.  The hanger is my own.

There is an outer wrap on the fluid bag which I took off and the bag has a hook to be hung hence the hanger.  I use one that the hook part turns so I can hang it on the cage or on a draw easily. The white package is the tubing.  It is sterile, so it is important to be careful with both ends once you take it out to keep it that way.  The baggie has the needles.  Needles come in gauges and the higher the number the smaller the needle.  Getting a smaller needle makes it easier to get it into the kitten - it is not as painful and doesn't take as much force - but it takes a lot longer for the fluid to get into the kitten.

This is the tubing.  The first (from the left) is the part you insert into the bag.  The middle part is the lock to keep the fluid from flowing when you don't want it, the third  piece is a combo.  The white part pinches the line - a secondary fluid lock - and the yellowish thing is a port.  It is so you can add medicines to the fluids if need be.

Here you have the ports on the bag.  The white one the line goes in.  The yellow one is again a port for putting medicine in.  This puts it into the bag which dilutes it more then if you put it in the line.

The tubing inserted, I often squeeze the bit at the far right of the page to insert some fluids in there to prevent air bubbles from going down the line  You can see how fast the fluid flows out of the bad and down the line due to it dripping (or running) out  there.  You can try to force it to flow a little faster by squeezing the bag, but that is often uncomfortable for the animal. Below is the bag hanging.  It needs to be above the animal for gravity to do it's job.  The higher it is the better, but there is a fine line between being high up and being able to see the marks on the bag so you know how much you  have given (not all that important for the kittens because they take far less then the marks on the bag, and they don't like to sit still long enough to get all that much anyway)

A shot of the needle with the sheath on, and one with it off.  The needle is sterile so you want to keep the sheath near by.  I generally keep it in my mouth like a straw.    Now, for the fun part.

You tent the scruff.  Usually when they need fluids this is a LOT easier then normal.  It often does not snap back and will just sit up.  My experience giving diabetic injections to my diabetic cat helped me get over my initial fear of doing this.  Insulin needles are extremely thin and slide in easily.  I had to give Em fluids when she got cancer and we used 18 gauge needles for her which are tanks in comparison.  But it was nice because the fluid flowed in very quickly and giving her fluids took a lot less time.  I have 22 and 25 gauge needles for the kittens.  Even with out being in the kitten they flow a lot more slowly.  once they are in it goes VERY slowly. Which is not much fun.  The kitten doesn't want to be held to begin with since they are sick (hopefully.  If they are so sick they don't object it breaks my heart)  Then the needle goes in which is a pinch but the kittens usually object.  I try to do it while they are scruffed so they don't feel it as much nor do they react as much.  I then do as much distracting as possible.  For Em I fed her.  She would have eaten through an earth quake.  Kittens I give chin scritches.  I get as much fluid in as I can.  If they don't object I will let it flow until it is the size of a large almond / small walnut.  Once the limit has been reached, you really need to put pressure on where the needle went in while you pull it out so the fluids don't leak out.

sometimes I find it easier to put the needle in from the head as opposed to in from the tush as in the shot above.  Especially if the kitties are in a burrito, but that shot was not possible - I only have two hands :)
we love the heater
I also tried to force feed them, but after the eye meds and the colloidal silver and the antibiotics and the attempt at fluids, they weren't much in the mood for one more thing shoved at them, even if it was yummy.  Mom (Raven, Clair, or Nala) was more then happy to finish that up for me. They were starting to feel like they were a few calories down, but I thought it would be more stress on them to force it and risk it getting in their lungs then just letting it go for now.  They were still nursing yesterday.  But I'm still going to keep a good eye on it.  This is mostly an eye / nose inflammation thing.  Not much discharge from either.  Fortunately they don't have any mouth blisters so I doubt it is Calcivirus.

The girl kitten does have some nasty things to say to me.  She is NOT happy I'm messing with her.  The boys are much more forgiving.  I have the feeling she thinks I'm the cause of her illness.  I keep trying to tell her otherwise and I'm just trying to help, but she keeps telling me to leave and to stop bugging her.


  1. I'm a sub-q veteran of many cats, myself. (Wonder what it says about me that so many of my friends are, too? Couldn't be a very large subgroup.)

    I empathize with you and sympathize with the kitties. We all have our limits, no matter how well-intended the ministrations.

    Po' Connie!
    Po' kittehs!

  2. Oh, Connie, those poor sweeties. Bless you for caring so much. I honestly have no idea how you do it, how you keep calm and do what needs to be done. The world certainly needs more people like you.

    Purrs from the boys for the babies, paws crossed they will pull through.

  3. I had a cat who had kidney disease & needed sub-q's. My hat is off to you for taking pix while doing it. The faster its done, the better in my book (and the cat's too, I'm sure). My cat would run away (sometimes) while I was doing it and I'd wind up squirting fluids all around the kitchen! We both dreaded & hated it! We bet that little girl had something she wanted to say to you.

  4. Anonymous6:16 PM

    Poor lil kitties! you are so wonderful for what you do! Keep us posted on their progress :o)


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