These fluids are used to maintain hydration or to rehydrate animals in many situations including the treatment of shock, decreased oral fluid intake, and to replace fluids lost due to an illness such as kidney disease. Dosage varies tremendously depending on pet's size and health, reason for use, and route of administration. These fluids can be given to animals intravenously (IV) or subcutaneously (SQ, subQ, under the skin). The route depends on the animal's size and illness or reason for use. If an animal becomes overhydrated (too much fluid is given), blood potassium levels may become too low, causing muscle and heart abnormalities. Signs may include weakness, constipation, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate. Overhydration may also cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and increase the workload for the heart. Signs may include increased or rapid breathing, coughing, or wheezing. If you notice any of these signs, stop fluid therapy and contact your veterinarian immediately.
Article by: Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith