Fluid Therapy for Veterinary Nurses and Technicians

Fluid Therapy for Veterinary Nurses and Technicians

By Paula Jane Hotston-Moore, VN, Independent veterinary nurse trainer, former lecturer in Veterinary Nursing at Telford College, Edinburgh and the University of Bristol, UK


1. Water and electrolyte balance in the body: Definition of key terms; Fluid distribution within the body compartments; Electrolyte balance in body fluid; Water balance and its importance; Ways in which fluid is lost from the body; Ways in which fluid is taken into the body; Normal fluid requirements; 2. Assessment of fluid balance: Definition of key terms; Causes of dehydration; Causes of hypovolaemia; Clinical signs of dehydration; Ways of assessing dehydration and hypovolaemia; 3. Acid base balance: Significance of acid base balance to the animal; How the body maintains its pH; How changes to the body?s pH arise; Causes of metabolic acidosis/alkalosis and respiratory acidosis/alkalosis; 4. Types of fluid available: List of fluids available in the UK; List of constituents in each fluid; How fluids differ from each other and why this is significant; 5. Blood administration: When administration of blood is indicated; Blood collection; Blood typing; Storage of blood; Blood volume; Blood transfusions; Plasma/blood products; 6. When to use each fluid: Shock ? definition and types of shock; Common conditions and when to use each fluid ? and why; 7. Administration of fluid therapy: Routes available for fluid therapy administration; Common routes of intravenous fluid therapy ? veins and anatomical locations; Intravenous catheter placement; 8. Equipment available for administration of intravenous fluid therapy: Describe equipment, how and when it is used; 9. Calculations and Flow rates: Explanation of calculations; Worked example; How to calculate the amount of fluid to give and the rate of flow; 10. Monitoring the Patient: Central venous pressure; Clinical signs of over transfusion; Blood transfusion reactions; General care of patient whilst receiving intravenous fluid therapy; Care of intravenous catheters; Prevention of patient interference; Common problems; 11. Other species (e.g. rabbits, reptiles, calves, etc): Clinical situations when fluid therapy is indicated; How to administer fluid therapy in species other than cat or dog; Different equipment required