We have all seen and heard of using intravenous (IV) fluids on people and animals, but do you know why? The reasons are similar for both people and our pets. We use them to treat dehydration, to increase low blood pressure, to replace losses from vomiting or diarrhea and to support those who cannot eat or drink due to disease or anesthesia.

Intravenous fluids are simply sterile, balanced solutions that are similar in composition to blood in regard to sodium, potassium, chloride and pH levels. Some fluids contain other components such as calcium, dextrose (sugar) and magnesium. The condition of the patient is the leading factor in the choice of solution chosen. The rate of fluid administration or the lengths of time intravenous fluids are needed are dictated by the response to treatment.

Fluids are most often administered through a catheter placed into a vein. Other routes of administration include placement under the skin or into the hollow portion of a bone.

People often assume intravenous fluids provide nutritional support. Although we can administer nutrition through a catheter into a vein, IV fluid therapy is not the same.  Intravenous fluids are used to rehydrate and support, not to feed.

The veterinarians and nursing staff at Newtown Veterinary Specialists closely monitor each patient to keep abreast of their condition and adjust the treatment plan to best meet individual needs.