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sub-q vs oral rehydration for kidney failure

August 20th, 2007, 11:30 AM
One of my dogs (Lucy, 13 years old) was diagnosed with renal failure last week. She was put on antibiotics and Ringers Lactated sub-q.

Is it equally effective to give her the electrolytes orally? I really don't think I can stick a needle in my sweet baby; she is a chicken when it comes to needles and I can monitor her intake adequately to insure that she gets the 150 ml every other day.

If orally will work, should she just drink the Ringers or is Pedialyte acceptable? I've seen a canine powder similar to Gatorade, is that a better choice?

Thank you ---- I am heartbroken :sad: and hoping to help her have the best quality of life a possible!

August 21st, 2007, 05:52 AM
Sub-q is faster and more efficient physiologically and provides you with a more relaible read on how much is taken in (it's hard to measure what's been drooled on the floor when they are drinking!). Was your Vet/ Vet Tech of any help in showing you the best way to do it ? If you combine it with light massage before and after you shouldn't have a problem. You can do it !! :thumbs up

August 21st, 2007, 09:47 AM
The needle is easy to give and it won't go in very far. Give it a try and you will be a master of it in no time.

Dr Lee
August 21st, 2007, 02:50 PM
Is it equally effective to give her the electrolytes orally? If orally will work, should she just drink the Ringers or is Pedialyte acceptable? I've seen a canine powder similar to Gatorade, is that a better choice?

The subQ fluids are meant to be in addition, to the water that is given orally. The electrolytes will be present in small amounts in drinking water and then also in the food. So I would not add in pedialyte or gatorade for a maintenance situation like this.

The difficulty with kidney disease, is that 1) the body is losing large amounts of fluid and 2) the mild nauseau leads to them drinking less than they should (even though they are drinking HUGE amounts - it is usually less than what we need their bodys to have, thus the subcutaneous fluids).

Good luck. It seems really hard and scary at first. In a couple days, you'll be a pro!

Also there is some new medication that might be helpful to your pet: famotidine (pepcid) or cimetidine (tagamet), azodyl and epikitin. You might want to ask your vet. Some kidney patients can greatly benefit. Again, good luck:pawprint:

August 22nd, 2007, 12:23 PM
Okay - thanks to your assurances I was able to give Lucy the liquids. The only problem (other than both of us shaking) was that the flow was much faster than I thought it would be and she got more fluid than recommended, almost 300ml instead of 150. Is that going to be a problem?

thank you for your encouragement...

Dr Lee
August 22nd, 2007, 12:31 PM
It is rarely a problem to give more. When you give too much subQ fluids - the most common side effect is that the body can't effectively clear all the fluid. Then you will notice that the area that you gave fluids still has a 'jelly' appearance and feel to it. Just wait for that area to go back to normal again, before giving any fluids there.

As far as how much fluid is too much? Since subcutaneous fluids can't come close to what we give IV in the hospital, too much is not really an issue as far as 'a volume overload' situation with serious life threatening complications.

Good luck. :pawprint:

August 24th, 2007, 09:10 AM
My Vet recommended I give my cat, who was diagnosed with kidney failure, Pedialyte! It worked wonderfully...especially as she had been vomitng and dehydrated. As you know, it is what they give to babies. It will not hurt her at all. They make an unflavored one that you can just put in drinking water. It's very good for them. My cat became her old self again. And do anything you can do to make her drink. I put ice-cubes in my cat's water and she loved it. Also, I assume your dog is on preseription food (Hills K/D for example) that the Vet can give you. It totally brought my cat's blood work back to normal and she is eating and drinking and running around like her old self. And she put weight back on.

I realize a dog is not a cat, but kidneys are kidneys. Give her wet food and add water or Pedialyte into it (make it like oatmeal), it helps get fluids in her. Does she like drinking from a hose, or something like that? My cat loves drinking out of regular drinking glass- so I allowed her do it. I made it a game. Most of all, don't give up on her. There are plenty of things you can do. I would never had known this myself if I didn't have such a wonderful Vet. An of course, check with your Vet. (I am not a Vet) If necessary, try another Vet if you don't think yours is being as involved and aggressive in helping your baby! I was devasted too when my cat was diagnosed--cried for days. But now I see she has plenty of life left in her.

August 24th, 2007, 09:45 PM
My cat who has just been diagnosed with acute kidney failure (he's only 3) won't drink at all and eats about 10 bits of dry prescription food. He was hospitalized, last week, and I've learned how to administer the subQ fluids, but I'm worried. He's getting more and more lethargic.

I've tried all the tricks re water, but not pedialyte. I'm scared.

pravalgi, how old is your cat, and is the failure acute or chronic?

August 29th, 2007, 10:55 AM
My cat Clarice will be 7 years old on Sept. 1st. Her kidney problem is chronic. As I am sure you know, acute is very serious and more difficult to manage. First of all, your cat should be on the WET prescription it RIGHT AWAY. Take away the dry food for awhile. He will get enough fluids for the day if you can get him to eat the wet food. It gives more moisture. (Hills K/D Wet helped my cat enormously) Add unflavored pedialyte to it and make it like oatmeal. Don't waste a minute, do it right away. And, of course, give him lots and lots of hugs and love. GOOD LUCK!!!!

September 8th, 2007, 11:58 AM
Lucy, my little casserole (that's better than mutt), went back to the vet for followup bloodwork. The numbers are better but not what they should be. The vet reduced the sub-q to 150 ml every 3rd day.

I had given her the sub-q liquids every other day and by last week she would start shaking every time I called her. During the proceedure she was terrified.

Over the long weekend my neighbor/MD kept her and gave her additional fluids orally - no sub-q. She insists that oral rehydration is better (at least with people) if the dog will drink and Lucy was happy to drink the broth she gave her. She boiled soup bones with some garlic, strained off the fat and gave her 3/4 of a cup daily.

So here's the question - According to the vet the "normal" fluid intake for a dog weighing 16 lbs. 300 to 700 ml a day. I can measure approximately what she drinks and if she takes at least 450 ml a day, can I skip the sub-q?

Thank you for your feedback!