sub-q fluids

bbairdJanuary 7, 2010

I've been going in circles trying to get a straight answer from the Vet Techs and Vet about the lines I'm using.

One minute they say it's normal for this line to drip (note pictures); the next minute they say the lines are defective.

Does anyone who gives fluids have this constant dripping? It always atarts when I get down to around 5ml. (halfway through the bag).


I apologize that the pictures are so big.

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i see a bag and a line but nothing connected and you don't tell us what animal its connected to or why...

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 4:10AM
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Ok, from people medicine, which is the same for dogs,the IV tubing is DEFECTIVE!
The bag of fluids is fine.
How old is the IV tubing?

The port that is leaking is for injecting medicine into the BAG. For example: You want to add some medicine to the solution already in the bag and have it drip slowly into the dog. There are medicines that you can drip in instead of additionally sticking the patient. But I digress.

Evidently, there is a defect at the "Y" junction, so the fluid drips in both directions. DUH... to the "vet techs".

It's not hurting anything, I don't think.
Get a new IV cath set. It's not expensive, UNLESS your Vet gouges you ;)

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 9:15AM
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Yes, it should not be leaking from a medicine port. Does it hurt anything? It's a break in a supposedly sterile system. All entrances to the tubing should be capped when not in use, and even though the hole in this is tiny, so are microbes.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 10:21AM
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We've been using sub-q on our cat for 4 years and I was going to post that I've never had that problem- but then I went and looked and ours has a very slow drip too! More of a seep, it doesn't look like it's even losing enough fluid to be easily noticeable- and it takes us a while to get through a bag of fluids. I found myself wondering if the "membrane" is kind of like a pup tent in the rain- don't touch it or it will leak.

dabunch- so fluid should not even be down in that channel of the tube set? My favorite vet retired from the clinic where we take our cat, and the last one to write an RX was stingy with tube sets on the RX, so we have been reusing ours through many more bags than we would have in the past. I wonder if that has something to do with fluid getting down into that part of the set- perhaps even causing a wicking effect?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 10:27AM
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The second port on the "y" should not leak. When you inject medicine, the membrane closes, so to speak. Like Calliope said, everything should be kept sterile. I would question if sterility is broken, but not sure exactly where the leak is coming from. It may be nothing, or it may have microbes venturing into the fluid. I would get another IV tubing and take this one apart to see where the problem is.

You can re-use the IV cath (well, not on people). Just change the needles.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 11:31AM
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quasifish, you can order IV sets without a prescription from:

I use a new IV set each time I start a new bag of fluids. Better safe than sorry.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:45PM
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Thanks Laurie, I will check it out. I use to order tube sets and needles through another source without an RX, but they started having trouble shipping many supplies to CA. I have sort of given up on mail order since then.

We were using a new set with each bag until just this last time- it makes sense to me too. I didn't see the vet the day we picked up the RX, not sure why she thought to be so controlled with the quantity of those.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 2:56PM
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I can't imagine that your vet would have a problem writing a script for a larger number of IV sets if you request that she do so. Perhaps she's just used to clients wanting to reuse sets rather than switch them out with each bag.

Oh, and if you're looking for a non-prescription source for Terumo needles, you can buy them here:

Terumo needles

You can also buy IV sets there (cheaper than at KV), but they require a prescription for the sets for some reason.


    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 6:02PM
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You are getting good advice from the others.

Just wanted to add that we did not have the dripping problem when we gave IV fluids in the past to two different elderly cats.

The fluids kept them alive and comfortable for quite some time.

Our local compounding pharmacist gave us a good price on the setup, needles, fluids and all.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 8:44PM
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This is the 4th line that I've gotten from this Vet. They've all dripped. I hadn't reused them. I used a new line for each bag. I'm trying to figure out why this happens when the bag is about half used. It starts out slow and then becomes constant.

The lines I used from my former Vet did not drip. These have a paper seal at the end, the other vet's had plastic.

First, one of the Techs said that they had a bad shipment and that they'd gotten many complaints. She said to bring them in and they'd exchange them.

When I brought them back, 4 Techs started asking all kinds of irrelevant idiotic questions. They denied that anyone had complained. Finally, they admitted that many clients returned them because of leaking.

The Vet, himself, said he was unaware of the problem, but, that I shouldn't use them AND that they shouldn't leak.

So, I went home with new lines, and, VOILA! DRIPPING!

I called again, and the Vet said he'd write me a prescription so that I could get lines elsewhere. In the meantime, the Techs said that they had hung the half-used bags that I'd returned to them with the drippy lines, and, that they saw NO dripping. I showed them these photos. They acted as if I were imagining it.

I'm being gaslighted:)

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 11:35PM
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Our IV lines at work drip too. We called and asked the company and they told us To get the line to stop dripping save the cap that goes on the pointy part of the line you stick in the bag of fluids. Push that cap over the port that usually leaks and it will stop leaking. Apparently this is what you are supposed do because the injection port has a paper covering. (poor design in my opinion) I hope this helps!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 1:45PM
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