SubQ Fluids

Tiny kittens require, like all mammals, proper hydration. When an infant kitten becomes dehydrated, it is a desperately serious matter. Being able to recognize dehydration, and administer subcutaneous (sub-q) fluids can truly make the difference between a live and a dead kitten in a matter of hours.

Kittens most often get dehydrated from diarrhea, but they can also become dehydrated from a lack of food/milk or from fever or illness.

If a kitten’s skin, when pinched, does not spring back into position, she is dehydrated and needs fluids. The amount to give your kitten will very much depend on the weight/size of the kitten. If you give too much, you can upset the balance of electrolytes in the tiny animal and/or effectively drown the kitten in fluids.

My vet is very willing to give me a bag of lactated ringers, a solution that is specifically for hydrating cats. If you need to do this, hopefully your vet is as willing – most will gladly train you if needed, and then provide supplies. Fluids and syringes and needles is about the least expensive thing I EVER get from my vet! I can get enough for an entire kitten season for under twenty dollars.

I never WANT to be in a situation to have to sub-q a kitten, but I was glad I thought to film it when little Mackey needed it so I could make this tutorial. This is split into three videos. The first where I prepare the fluids and needle, the second where I administer the fluids, and the last when he rallied! Happy endings are wonderful things!

7 Responses to SubQ Fluids

  1. Dana says:

    Hi! I just wanted to point out that in the fourth paragraph down, the first sentence says “hydrating” twice in a row.

    Anyway… awesome site! :)

  2. Shawna says:

    Oh, yay kitten for rallying!

  3. Thanks for this! I showed the friend who had originally asked me about the sub-q and the tube feeding (which is why I asked you on twitter) and she was most interested. We’re both glad Mackey responded well to the fluids :)

  4. MollyMurr says:

    Hi there!

    We ordered some fluid for sub-Q, and needles, but I have a question… once we’ve taken some fluid from it, do we have to refrigerate the bag? How long will the remaining fluid last? Thanks so much!

    • Kimberly says:

      I don’t refrigerate. If you always use a sterile needle to withdraw, it’s good for quite a while – a few weeks at least.

  5. Debbie says:

    Where did you find the bottle for nursing. I haven’t seen one like that.

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