This is a thread for some odds and ends I think cavy owners should know regarding giving fluids by subcutaneous injection either short or long-term to support their cavy. Some of the information is basic and some a bit more detailed!
Here is a GREAT page in the GL care guide made to instruct owners on how to administer fluids by subcutaneous (SQ, SC, SubQ, SubCue) injection with pictures. Giving SQ Fluids
Carpenter's Exotic Animal Formulary (several editions available), lists maintenance or replacement fluid dosing for guinea pigs at 50-100 ml/kg per day.
Most owners with ill cavies choose to divide the total required amount into 2 smaller doses. This is often a bit easier to administer, maintains a more regular (re)hydration schedule, and minimizes some risks. If the condition is more chronic, such as kidney disease or bladder/urinary tract disease, stones, or sludge, your veterinarian may recommend smaller doses of fluids more infrequently for maintenance therapy.
The most common danger in giving SQ fluids is OVERHYDRATION (giving too many fluids for the hydration of the pet). This can kill your guinea pig. Working closely with your veterinarian and following Carpenter's guidelines on fluid dosing will help minimize this risk. Also, monitoring the guinea pigs for signs of overhydration is important. The primary place for excess fluids to end up is in the lungs as pulmonary edema. Signs such as: difficulty breathing, "gurgly" or excess sounds when breathing, and nasal discharge/fluid may be signs that there is a problem. If any of these are noted while using fluid therapy, please don't hesitate to contact your vet for advice. These signs may require emergency treatment.
The next post will discuss types of fluids available.
Working closely with your veterinarian in choosing the types of fluids to use is very important. The fluid matrix in the body has a specific electrolyte balance and many medical conditions may have a different electrolyte imbalance from one situation to the next. Sometimes, specific types of fluids are indicated and more helpful. The products below are prescription items and are only available through your veterinarian. They are sterile and isotonic (formulated to be in balance with the body's fluids and electrolytes).
Your veterinarian uses 3 main things to determine which fluid is most appropriate: disease process, labwork (bloodwork is especially helpful), and purpose (replacement or maintenance therapy).
The most common (crystalloid) fluid types are:
Lactated Ringer's Solution (LRS) or Plasmalyte-148 (P-148)
Normosol-R (NSR) or Plasmalyte-A
Normal (Isotonic) Saline (0.9% NaCl)
KCl or potassium chloride is an important electrolyte included in various concentrations in the above fluids (except plain NaCl) and may be additionally added if the problem warrants. Often this is not supplemented in SQ fluid therapy as an excess can be detrimental.
Alternatively, there are many fluid products with dextrose added. While dextrose can be helpful in IV fluid therapy (and safely given orally if indicated), it is not recommended for SQ administration due to the movement of fluids within the body. Dextrose given SQ does not absorb properly/efficiently and can cause abscesses due to it being a great medium for bacteria.
Sterile water is available for mixing drugs and other veterinary indications. It is not meant for SQ administration and is detrimental. It is not properly formulated to be isotonic with the body's fluids and will actually destroy cells.
Now, I'll continue on to indications for specific fluids.
Some specific problems will be corrected or best treated with an appropriately chosen fluid. As I stated before, each of the fluid products above have specific electrolyte balances. They are NOT created equal for many indications.
Condition: Recommended Fluids
Diarrhea : LRS or NSR +/- KCl
Dehydration : LRS, NSR, or 0.9% NaCl +/- KCl
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
or End-Stage Liver Disease: 0.9% NaCl
Acute Renal (Kidney) Failure (ARF)
--Oliguria (decreased urine prod.): 0.9% NaCl
--Polyuria (increased urine prod.): LRS or NSR +/- KCl
Chronic Renal (Kidney) Failure (CRF): LRS, NSR, or 0.9% NaCl
Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) : 0.9% NaCl +/- KCl
Edited by Josephine on 6/8/2007, 11:38 pm
I also added a link back to this post from the subcue page.
"See also: Fluid Therapy/Giving Subcutaneous Fluids by Serafina Cupido."
Thanks. I think I'm done for tonight.