Earlier there was no real scientific consensus on how much and how often to give fluids to cats or how to know if your cat needs fluids. We know that it’s very important and that it’s an absolute life-saving and life-extending measure, particularly with kidney disease. So, how to know if your cat is dehydrated?
The goal of subcutaneous fluids as with any fluid therapy is to restore fluid deficits For example, cats with chronic kidney disease will be dehydrated. No matter how much water they drink because they just pee out water at a faster rate than they can take it in orally and side.
A lot of people try to hydrate their cats by giving them fluids with a syringe by mouth, it’s completely useless don’t do that, there’s no way you can replace a meaningful amount of fluids orally in a cat. The stress and the work you put into that is just better spent elsewhere like giving subcutaneous fluids.
Adding water to food can be helpful, assuming it doesn’t reduce your cat’s food intake. But again, you can only add a little bit of water to food because if you add too much you make it too mushy. you’re reducing its caloric density and calories are also important to these cats.
Subcutaneous fluids are the most effective way of replacing total body water deficits at home as an outpatient.
There are three tips to help owners decide at home when their cat needs subcutaneous fluids:
The first is skin tent:
Skin tent or skin turgor is the classic measure of hydration in a cat. You often see your veterinarians probably do this during physical exams, they pick up a little skin give it a gentle twist and let it go, and see how fast it snaps back.
If once you get used to your cat, you can regularly check their skin tent and you’ll tell when it’s a little slower, you know sometimes you let go it takes a little while to go down if it takes more like a second or two to go down your cat is critically dehydrated and subcutaneous fluids aren’t going to help you. You have to take your cat to the vet. But springy skin springs back right away it means good hydration. Taking a little longer to come back probably time for subcutaneous fluids.
The second is scruffiness:
You know when cats become dehydrated, they just start getting all clumped up the hair, looks rough their face might become kind of bony and skeletal looking. In really extreme dehydration, their eyes can become a little sunken in
a little by that point again you should probably be going to the vet for intravenous fluid therapy.
If your cat starts looking scruffy, maybe check the skin tent and if it’s a little bit slow, time to give subcutaneous fluids.
The third is stools:
Dehydration is the most common underlying cause of constipation, and of course in a cat with chronic health issues particularly chronic kidney disease.
That dehydration will be due to the kidneys and is easily correctable with subcutaneous fluids.
So, if your cat is pooping every day and the poops look normal it means good hydration.
Finally, we hope that this article was helpful for your cat’s health. And if you have any questions let us know below in the comment section.