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A Vet Tech's Frustrations with IV Fluids

Samantha Toy, RVT Oct 12, 2018 6:34:00 AM Vet Tech

Vet techs: we love our job, but there are always frustrations when it comes to doing it!  One of those things can be administering IV fluids.  Here are some common issues we have with this part of the job (and some solutions).

1. Line chewers

You know the situation. You, the stellar IV catheter master, work your magic. It's in there, bandaged, fluid bag hung and patient left to their own devices. They appear calm and innocent, shouldn't be a problem. Ten minutes later, you turn around and it's a war zone in the cage. Fluid line bitten through, blood everywhere, bandage ripped off, Normosol-R pumping away at 17 mL/hr into the blanket at the bottom of the cage. A cone is no fun for anyone but sometimes they're necessary!  There are now fabric and even inflatable versions available which are more patient (and staff) friendly!

vet tech iv fluids

2. The math

No one we know really likes to do fluid calculations. Usually there's a handy maintenance chart available to determine ml/hr but when you need to consider % dehydration, time frame to rehydrate, etc, things can get hairy.  A built-in calculator is super handy to have ;)

3. The dreaded BEEP

"Down occlusion". Two words that can be the bane of your existence in the monitoring department. Usually a kinked line is to blame. For squirmy or circling patients, there are now IV line attachments that move with the patient! 

vet tech iv

4. Owner's reaction to the shaved leg

We all know why we shave a leg before inserting an IV catheter, but sometimes that doesn't get passed along to the owner. People are very sensitive when it comes to their beloved pets' appearance and seeing a bare spot can put some owners off. It can be a challenge trying to explain to the owner why we did it after it's already done. Communication is key! As small as it seems to us, this can be something that owners get upset about. Try to take a second to warn them of this clip when you are intaking the patient, or when you call with an update. Mentioning it before they see it usually prevents the shock factor!


IV fluids don't have to be the bane of a technician's existence... but in the end, we know you still hear beeping in your sleep (#beenthere)!


Let's go paperless!


What are some of your frustrations with regards to IV fluids? Comment below!

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