Yesterday, we discussed the potentially serious condition of dehydration, which can be caused by a number of factors. Today, I am going to talk to you about diagnosing dehydration and what you can do to get your pet’s fluids back in balance!
The clinical signs of dehydration include lethargy, sunken eyes, loss of appetite/water consumption, dry mucous membranes and a decrease in skin elasticity. Your veterinarian can determine the severity of the dehydration with a combination of a thorough physical exam and bloodwork. This bloodwork can also help to determine the underlying cause of your pet’s current ailments. Depending on the underlying cause, further diagnostics such as radiographs, ultrasound, or further blood tests may be warranted.
Depending on the severity of the dehydration, and the underlying cause, your vet may recommend subcutaneous or intravenous (IV) fluid replacement. Subcutaneous fluids are given with a needle just under the skin (sort of like a vaccine, only a lot more substance). Your pets body can then absorb this fluid and make sure it is dispersed to the appropriate places within the body. Intravenous fluids are given through a catheter placed into your pet’s circulatory system. This is a more direct and much faster way to replenish fluids. This type of fluid administration requires your pet to be hospitalized. With an IV catheter in place, your vet is also able to give any necessary medications to help treat the underlying cause of the dehydration.
Dehydration is a common and potentially severe health condition that affects our pets. Keep a close eye on how much water your pet seems to consume in a normal day. If you notice this amount changing (either an excessive increase or decrease in water consumption), make sure you let your veterinarian know. If caught early, many conditions are likely to be treatable. And remember: dehydration is just as likely and just as dangerous for our feline friends as our canine companions!
Fortunately for Cotton, he recovered very well after a few days in the hospital getting his fluids replaced and receiving therapy for the underlying cause of his vomiting and diarrhea (dietary indiscretion in his case).
To more waggin’ and purrin’. rwkj