At Rural Vets we use intravenous (IV) fluid therapy, or drips, on sick animals or animals undergoing surgery.
Intravenous fluids are administered via an intravenous catheter, usually placed in a vein in the animals fore leg and bandaged in place. The catheter is connected to the fluid bag via a thin tube called the giving set. Most animals tolerate this much better than you would expect.
One of the effects of a general anaesthetic is a reduction in blood pressure and reduction in the heart rate. IV fluids during anaesthesia helps maintain blood pressure while under anaesthesia and provides immediate intravenous access in the very unlikely event of an emergency.
Animals who have IV fluids get rid of the anaesthetics much faster and have a shorter recovery time post anaesthetic.
With sick animals, fluids are very important to help rehydrate animals who are dehydrated, they help maintain blood pressure and can also assist to flush some toxins and chemicals out of the blood stream. Fluids can also correct electrolyte (sodium/potassium) imbalances if they are occurring. It makes it much easier to administer IV drugs if they are needed. For many cases IV fluids are an essential part of the treatment plan and can be literally lifesaving.