Sub-Q fluid question

all4mom2

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If you administer this, what gauge needle do you use? The size I was provided looks HUGE and hurts my cat!
 

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18 gauge is common and, yes, it's a "harpoon". Some people use slightly smaller 21 gauge needles instead. You don't want to go too small because it will take forever to get all the fluids into the cat.
 
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all4mom2

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I read in an online feline CKD site that a sub-q needle would be .5 inches long and 27-30 gauge...but guess not! Thanks for the reply.
 

Tobermory

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I had to give my boy Max fluids, and initially, I was horrified at how large the 18-gauge needle was. But although he didn’t like the process, it didn’t really hurt him, especially as I became more confident and more proficient at slipping the needle in. Part of it was him reacting to my stress, but I got really good at it and he calmed down. And with the 18 gauge, it all went really fast. I did try the 21-gauge needle, but it took too long to administer the fluids, and he got restless. Harder for both of us!
 

artiemom

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Artie had to have daily sub-q's. I would by the 20 gauge needles. The 18 are too big. The 21 looked thinner , but took longer to infuse.

I used the 20 or 21 gauge. The higher the gauge, the thinner they are.

I changed needles each time I gave fluids.
 

Antonio65

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When I had to give sub-Q fluids to my cat, I would use G21 needles, they are green over here (and maybe everywhere else). They were big enough to let the fluid flow rather quickly, but small enough to not hurt my cat.
 
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all4mom2

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So the vet allowed me to exchange the 18 for the 20 and also showed me a new way to make the "pocket"; I told him it didn't slip in easily, as it's supposed to, but I had to jab it hard to get it in. He said it's possible I had been also picking up the layer under the skin, which is tougher. I was horrified! My goal is to ease his discomfort; not cause him more.
 

LTS3

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It helps if you insert the needle bevel side up through the tented skin. The needle will just glide in.
 
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all4mom2

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So...pointy end up??? I've been doing THAT wrong, too!
 

Antonio65

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So the vet allowed me to exchange the 18 for the 20 and also showed me a new way to make the "pocket"; I told him it didn't slip in easily, as it's supposed to, but I had to jab it hard to get it in. He said it's possible I had been also picking up the layer under the skin, which is tougher. I was horrified! My goal is to ease his discomfort; not cause him more.
From experience, much depends on the brand/quality of the needles.
I would always buy the G21 butterfly needles from the same pharmacy, but I found out that some needles would easily go in without the cat realizing it, and some needles were much harder to go in... and they were more painful too.
So, check if some needles work better than others.

Pinch the loose skin between the shoulder blades, pull it up a little, making kind of a tent, then insert the needle.
 
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all4mom2

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I would hope my vet would buy the best/least painful -- as much as they charge!!! -- but who knows???
 

Antonio65

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You might not know that.
Over here, vets do not supply fluids and needles (and even meds), we go to pharmacies, where I was able to choose what I liked the most. Once I found the right needles, I made sure the pharmacy would only stock them.

Do your needles come in single packages, do they have a brand?
The top quality brand is Terumo.
In Italy, where I live, I found a brand just as good.
 

Antonio65

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Well, I guess so.
I mean, every needle come in a single package, of course.
Nipro looks like a good brand.
If you can, try a couple of them, if you are satisfied with them, then buy more.
 
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all4mom2

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The whole thing still gives me the heebie-jeebies! I hope it goes more smoothly today, for both our sakes. Thanks for the advice!
 

Antonio65

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I had the same feelings when I first started doing these sub-Q's, but in a few days all was much easier.
I did that every other day for nearly 11 years.
You'll be great!
 

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all4mom2

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I think I've got it. The needle didn't seem to "slip" in any easier, but at least he didn't cry out this time!
 

Antonio65

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The ability for the needle to slip in easily and painless depends on the sharpness of the tip/blade and the finish of its surface, that's why I had to try a few models and brands before I found the right one.
 
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