If your cat has been diagnosed with CRF (Chronic Renal Failure), he or she may at some point need to receive subcutaneous fluids in order to fight dehydration. Listen carefully to your veterinarian’s recommendations on this! It will depend on how fast your cat’s condition progresses, but a cat with kidney disease can easily become dehydrated and lose enormous amounts of weight, and Sub-Q fluids can be an excellent way to help your cat feel better and to give him a higher quality of life for his remaining time.
Many cat owners get nervous at the thought of doing this at home. However, this is usually the most convenient way to do it, since the fluids are often needed every day. Be sure to get instruction from your vet on how to administer the fluid. Most veterinarian offices will demonstrate the process step by step, and help you through the first couple of times so that you can become familiar with the process and it will not seem as strange or frightening.
When our cat Felix reached the stage in his disease when subcutaneous fluids became necessary, both my husband and I attended a training and demo session at our vet’s office, along with Felix. We were instructed in how to prepare the bag of fluid properly, so that the fluid would run through the tubes freely. We were able to practice holding Felix the right way and inserting the needle correctly so that the fluid ran under his skin, as it should. This was the most difficult part for me. Because Felix’s skin had become dried out, it was very easy for the needle to slip under his skin and out again, with the fluid running out over his fur. It took some practice, and some patience from both Felix and us, but after a few tries it got much easier. Having the technician there to instruct us was critical.
At home things were a little trickier. Whereas at the vet’s office we had the nice high examination table to put Felix on, at home we used a desk. And instead of hanging the bag of fluid on the special rack at the vet’s office, we used a hanger, which worked just fine once we did it a couple of times. It was harder at first to get Felix to sit still while we set up the bag and tubes, and inserted the needle under his skin (my husband turned out be much better at this part than I was!) Felix would struggle to get away, sometimes causing the needle to fall out, and then we would have to start all over. But after a few days the whole process because pretty routine. In fact, Felix seemed to realize that the fluids were making him feel better. He would stand eagerly awaiting treatment as we set everything up, and he would even purr while the fluid ran through the needle and under his skin!
It was easy to see that the subcutaneous fluids were really helping our beloved cat feel better, and this alone made it worth the effort. Many cats have lived for months and even years on fluid therapy, and it remains an excellent treatment for a cat with kidney disease. With a little practice, this is a convenient treatment that can greatly improve your cat’s quality of life, and help to extend your precious time with him.
to the health of your cats,
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How to Get a Cat to Eat when he has Kidney Disease
Living Day to Day With Feline Kidney Disease