We're sending warm wishes to all!
Tip of the Day
Today is the last day of National Cat Health Month. For our final tip, we're closing out our discussion on medication administration with subcutaneous injections. This topic might sound scary, but with some practice, and perhaps a cooperative kitty, you can become a pro at it.
First and foremost, ensure that you and your kitty are as comfortable and ready as possible for injection time. This may indeed take trial and error. It may also take time for your kitty to become accustomed to injections. One option is to have your cat sit on your lap. You can place a towel or blanket on your lap, as an added protection against claws. Placing your kitty on a table, counter, or even the back of a sturdy chair or couch are other potential options. If you have a helper, they can try to hold your kitty, with said kitty wrapped in a blanket or towel if needed, while you give the injection.
That being said, before getting too far ahead of yourself, make sure that you properly prepare the syringe and needle. If you have any questions regarding the use of a syringe and needle, of course ask your veterinarian, or even request a demonstration. Once you get used to it, it's really not as scary as it seems. With the needle and syringe ready, depending on the medication being injected, be sure to shake, roll, and invert the bottle as needed. Then, of course, using the needle and syringe, draw up the prescribed dosage.
Giving a cat a subcutaneous injection is often best done in the skin near their shoulders. Sometimes, if needed, it can also be given in the skin of the legs, near the hipbones. Before giving the injection, you will need to "tent" your kitty's skin. In other words, pick up the skin between your thumb and index finger. If you are right-handed, you can do this with your left hand, so that you can give the injection with your right hand. While preparing to inject, try to keep the needle more or less parallel to the cat's back, as going in at too much of an angle could lead to issues such as going through the skin on the side or hitting muscle.
Now, with the needle parallel to the back, you will want to give the injection in the "tent" of skin that you've formed by pulling up the skin. Push the needle into the skin firmly enough to slide the needle through, but not so hard that the needle ends up going through the skin on other side, or that the syringe slams against your cat's tented skin. Again, this all might sound scary, but the more times you do this, the more you you will get the feel of it.
At this point, obviously, you will inject the medication. Push the syringe's plunger, making sure that you don't wiggle the syringe and needle too much while you do this. Depending on how you feel most comfortable holding the syringe, you will typically be pressing the plunger with either your index finger or thumb. Once you have given the injection, slide the needle back out, place the safety cap on it, and safely dispose of it. Check to make sure that there is no moisture on your cat's back, which might indicate that the needle either went through to the other side, or that it did not go in at all.
Related to this, if you are giving subcutaneous fluids, such as for a kitty with kidney disease, the general procedure will be very much the same, but the fluids will take longer to complete. You will inject the needle in the same manner as mentioned above, but your kitty will need to remain in place for minutes at a time. So, be sure that both you and your kitty are comfortable before beginning subcutaneous fluids administration. Also be sure that you follow other instructions for giving fluids at home, including warming the fluids bag, ensuring the line has been tested, and so forth. Veterinarians will most often give a demonstration on fluid administration before having you do it on your own. Of course, never be afraid to ask your veterinarian any questions that you have regarding any form of medication administration.