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Ask the Vet: Puppy's Hernia Needs Surgical Repair

Dr. Lee Pickett on

On your next visit to the animal hospital, ask if someone can teach you how to administer the subcutaneous fluids, nicknamed "sub-Q" fluids, and dispense the necessary supplies. These fluids are identical to the sterile electrolyte fluids given intravenously. However, it's much easier to administer fluids into a cat's large subcutaneous space than it is to give them intravenously.

You'll start by situating Koosh where you and he are comfortable, preferably with a few treats in front of him while you're learning. You may also wish for a cat-knowledgeable friend to help you during your first home session.

Suspend a bag of sterile fluids above Koosh, and attach a new, sterile needle to the tube exiting the bag. If you're right-handed, have Koosh sit or lie with his head to your left, and use your left hand to raise the skin over his shoulder blades to form a tent.

With your right index finger, gently feel the sub-Q space, the area between the raised skin and the underlying muscles. Use your right hand to insert the needle into the sub-Q space, open the fluid line and let gravity do the rest. Praise Koosh while the prescribed volume of fluid runs from the bag.

Then, close the fluid line and remove the needle from his skin. His body will absorb the pillow of liquid over the next 12 to 24 hours.


Most cats with chronic kidney disease feel best when sub-Q fluid administration is repeated every one to three days.


Lee Pickett, VMD, practices companion animal medicine in North Carolina. Contact her at

Copyright 2023 Creators Syndicate Inc.




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