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Why Should My Pet Receive IV Fluids During Surgery?

Giving your pet intravenous fluids during surgery is done for very good reasons.  Which is why we include them in almost every surgery we perform. 

These electrolyte solutions are infused directly into your pet’s bloodstream via an iv catheter placed in the vein just like they do in human hospitals. This iv catheter is also used to deliver other important drugs such as pain medications, antibiotics and emergency drugs if needed.

Once you find out the important functions these fluids perform you’ll understand why they are not an option you can decline if you’re booking your pet’s surgery with us.

IV Fluids Fact #1: Fluids help maintain Blood Pressure

One of the side effects of sedative drugs is that they can cause a drop in blood pressure due to the relaxation effect on the blood vessels and heart. Fluids help maintain blood pressure at optimum levels to ensure that nutrients such as Oxygen continue to flow through the body and reach vital organs that need them.

If your pet’s blood pressure drops below critical levels it can cause severe damage to vital organs such as the brain and kidneys. If left unchecked it can also cause death.


Fluid Therapy for dogs and cats

IV Fluids Fact #2: Fluids help maintain Body Temperature

Anaesthesia drugs also affect body temperature. By using warmed iv fluids we help keep your pet’s core body temperature at safe levels.

IV Fluids Fact #3: Fluids keep your pet hydrated

Pets need to be fasted before surgery to prevent vomiting while under anaesthesia. This means they are already dehydrated before we even begin. Fluids help keep your pet optimally hydrated and reduce nausea afterwards. They also promote a much smoother recovery from anaesthesia.

Some surgical procedures result in blood loss which needs replacing. And depending on the procedure, this can be quite significant. By giving fluids we are counteracting this loss and maintaining healthy hydration.

IV Fluids Fact #4: Fluids flush out Anaesthetic Toxins

Anaesthesia Drugs have very powerful effects on the body otherwise they wouldn’t be able to put your pet into a state where he/she feels no pain.

While they are extremely necessary to remain in the body for the duration of the surgery, once the surgery is over we need them removed as quickly as possible. Your pet’s kidneys are the main organs responsible for processing these drugs and removing them from the body. 

(This is why we always recommend Pre-Anaesthetic Blood testing to make sure your pet’s kidneys are healthy beforehand. They’ve got a big job to do!)

IV fluids help the kidneys flush them out as quickly as possible. We don’t want to keep the toxic by-products of anaesthetic drugs in the body where they can cause damage to vital organs. 

Our goals for anaesthesia and surgery is to make your pet’s surgery as safe as possible and IV fluid therapy is an essential part to maintaining that.

We know however that some clinics still have this as an option you can choose to include or decline. We hope this information helps you understand why you should always insist on iv fluids for your pet’s surgery.

Fluid therapy is a cheap addition to your surgical costs and does so much to keep your pet safe. 

So next time your pet needs surgery and you are asked “ Do you want your pet to receive IV fluids for the procedure?” Don’t forget to tick that box and say YES. ✅

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