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Veterinary Life Hacks: Syringes and Fluid Bags

Jada Lewis, CVT Aug 18, 2015 4:32:20 PM

DVMs and Veterinary Technicians across the world have made their lives so much easier and resourceful by re-using everyday supplies that might have otherwise been thrown out. These simple veterinary life hacks are so creative and inventive you will wonder why you hadn't thought of it first!

Here is a look into how you can reuse syringes, cases, IV fluid lines, and IV bags. 

Uses for Syringes and Caseskwik-stop_syringe

1. The Styptic Powder Syringe: Using styptic powder can almost get as messy and annoying as the bleeding nail itself. You can save yourself some frustration by cutting off the end of a 3mL syringe and packing it firmly with the powder. This should fit perfectly over most nails says Pat J!

2. Serum extractor: By attaching a 1mL syringe to a butterly catheter, (without the needle attached of course) you now possess a serum extractor. Danielle R. uses this device to blow serum out of PCV tube onto the refractometer. 

3. Puffer holder: Need a place to keep the syringe you use to add air to your ET tubes? You can easily tape a syringe case on your anesthetic machine to keep hold of the syringe (aka puffer).

4. Opposum feeder: Samantha J. learned a cool trick to feed orphaned wildlife. She pulls the soft gray piece off of a vacutainer needle and then attaches it to a teat canula. She then puts it on a 1 mL syringe. This works brilliantly because it is soft and can easily fit in to the mouth of opposums or other baby wildlife. 

5. Happy tail holder: Have a happy tail problem? Samantha R. suggests re-using a 6 (or 12) mL syringe casing to cast it. After wrapping the tip of tail with a telfa pad and elastikon, she puts the case over the tail and replaces every few days until healed. 

Uses for fluid bags and IV lines

1. Old IV lines can be cleaned out and used to tie ET tubes into place. 

2. The IV line tubing can also be cut and used as a spacer for sutures that may irritate an area and cause swelling. Vets at Anna K's clinic use them as stents when eyelids are sutured closed in proptosed eye cases.

veterinary software

3. You can turn your expired IV fluid bags into warming bags. Just add dye to make it obvious that it should only be used for a warming bag. You can also add some isopropyl alchol to the expired bags, along with food dye, to make pliable freezer bags! You can play around with your water:alcohol ratios for preferred slushiness! 

Or, Cathy R. and Lori S. have found that filling empty fluid bags with rice, taping them shut (or suturing shut with expired material) and warming in the microwave will also make great warming devices.  

4. At Keyshia W.'s clinic, they use extra IV tubing as restraint straps for the surgery table.

5. She also strings IV tubing through a syringe and places it into a patient's mouth. She ties it around the back of a patient's head to make a smaller mouth gag for her dental patients. 


6. Chalanda D. cuts off the bottom of an IV fluid bag to wrap around the feet of patient's who can't get them wet due to bandages or casts. 

So many veterinary life hacks, so little time! And this just covers syringes and fluids bags. Stay tuned for more ways to re-purpose veterinary supplies!

Do you have an amazing veterinary life hack? Please share below!




I want more time to do all of this!

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