Linda's Feline CRF Hints
We did Sub-Qs on our bed, and hung the bag from a heating outlet on the ceiling using a large hook. We bought a big soft bathmat for Snowball to lie on Snowball loved it, and if we spilled any fluids the bed didn't get wet. We also used this bathmat in his carrier.
To heat the fluids, we put warm water in a small dishpan, put the dishpan into an insulated cooler, put the fluid bag into the hot water (venoset and connection not in the water), and closed the cooler. This kept the heat in.
After the fluids were warmed, we put them on the bed under a heating pad. This kept the fluids warm until Snowball or we were ready. (Snowball had a hidey hole, and although we could get him out, it was better if we waited for him to come out by himself.)
We bought a 3-bullet floor lamp for additional light. At Sub-Q time, one of the lights was on Snowball, and the other two made the room brighter. This was a huge help, especially for our older eyes.
Generally Snowball tolerated his Sub-Qs (although he didn't like them), but every once in a while we would have problem getting the needle inserted, and Snowball would protest. If the needle resisted insertion twice, we always changed needles. This was not done just because of infection. The next needle would never have a problem -- we figured now and then a needle was not as sharp as it should be.
My vet tech said that the 10-drops/ml venosets are quite a bit faster than the 15 drops/ml. The number of drops/ml means that it takes that number of drops to dispense 1 ml of fluid. To have less drops/ml, the drops must be substantially larger. Therefore, if everything else is equal, the less drops/ml, the faster the drip. We used Baxter venosets with 10 drops/ml. We had "big fat drops". On a good day we could do 200 ml in 4 to 5 minutes.
When the battle is over and there are supplies to be given away; keep one bag of fluids, a venoset, and a few needles. You never know when these might be needed. In general, fluids shouldn't be given without consulting a vet, but cats do get sick on weekends and holidays, and we may find a sick stray who needs fluids. When a cat has a case of diarrhea or vomiting, especially on a weekend when it is harder to get to a vet, it might be useful to give the cat some fluids (and most of us know how to do that). I don't know if vets would approve of owners doing this, but the idea makes sense. In such a situation, the
owner could call the vet and ask his advice, and maybe save a trip to the vet.
HINTS I RECEIVED FROM OTHERS
We use a pitcher of warm water to warm fluids. It is a good fit for a fluid bag and the venoset and tubing can dangle over the side; the dangling gets easier when there is less fluid in the bag so with a newer bag, I sometimes use one of those things to clamp a potato chip bag closed to keep the tubing and venoset from falling into the pitcher.
Those rubber grips that open bottles can be used to pull off those hard-to-pull-off needles from the venoset.
An IV pole works can be great for holding the fluid bag. You can get one for under $40.00 at a surgical supply store.
Buying fluids, needles, and tubing isn't cheap. People who work in hospitals can often get this stuff for you, which may save you significant bucks.
A California plastic surgeon reports injection pain can be reduced by freezing the needles first. Several members have reported that this does work. Only put 2-3 days' supply in the freezer in a air tight container; this protects the integrity of the paper covering & maintains sterility.
Always use Terumo needles. Sharp, sharp, sharp. No fluids should be given without them. .
Someone knowledgeable wrote the list months ago about how medical needles are designed. I'm not going to look for that original post but I've thought about it a lot since then and finally have a clearer mental picture of what the poster meant. If you study the needles we use for subQs, they aren't designed like sewing needles but instead flare out past the point which does make them look plenty big. But look again at the teensy point. That is what makes the initial stick and the elastic skin then stretches over the flared portion. When giving a subQ, one isn't "making a hole" the size of the needle but only the size of the
teensy tip. I suspect in those cats who leak after subQs, their skin has lost some elasticity and the stretched bit doesn't recover as quickly.
The original poster also explained that the needles are designed *not* to hurt. When giving injections to humans, she said, the pain comes either from not letting the alcohol dry completely before injecting or from the material injected which may sting or irritate.
The quick stick is key. If the needle tip, teensy though it is, meanders around on the skin surface without going quickly through, it will feel prickly and annoying and worrisome and perhaps even painful. But if stuck through without hesitation, the sensation is very fleeting.
There's a lot of needle phobia in the human population so it's easy to translate that into a painful image. I think actually studying the needle and thinking about it from this angle might help reduce some of that phobia? I hope so:)
Be sure that the valve on the line is closed before you insert the point into a new bag of fluids. This ensures that the air inside the bag stays in the bag, the bag doesn't collapse as much when the fluid level goes down, and it will be easier to read the numbers on the bag.