Giving kittens subcutaneous fluids at home can provide them with lots of health benefits, especially if they’re suffering from chronic kidney disease or other medical conditions. But when it comes to administering fluid to your pet, one of the more complicated things you may encounter is choosing the right needle to work with and where to buy them. Butterfly needles are some of the most commonly used ones, but not everyone knows where to get them.
So where can you find butterfly needles to use for subcutaneous fluid administration in kittens? There are many options where to buy butterfly needles, like online or local pharmacies. Most people may purchase them even without a prescription (except for a few states), but the pharmacist may ask where the needles will be used. Depending on your answer, they might have to limit your purchase to 10 needles for this product.
Where to Find Butterfly Needles for Feline Subcutaneous Fluid Administration
Administering subq fluids at home is often recommended for kittens and other cats that may benefit from fluid therapy, like those with a heart condition, renal disease, or severe dehydration. It’s a simple procedure, but many pet owners find needle insertion to be an intimidating and apprehensive task. But remember that learning about subcutaneous injection for sub q fluid therapy is worthwhile for the sake of your pets.
One of the first things to learn about subcutaneous fluid administration for kittens is to familiarize yourself with the different equipment needed for fluid therapy. Each at-home fluid therapy should at least consist of a fluid bag, fluid drip set, and the right needle type. Butterfly needles are some of the most commonly used ones, so here are a few places where to purchase them:
1. Local Pharmacies
There are different types of IV fluids for cats, but most people use lactated ringers solution (LRS). Along with subq fluids, butterfly needles are also typically available in local pharmacies at low prices. Buying from a nearby pharmacy has different advantages like helping you save up on shipping costs and allowing you to obtain the IV fluids more quickly.
If a local pharmacy has all the IV fluids that the kitten needs, then they’re most likely already acquainted with your veterinarian. This makes the vet more inclined to provide you with the needed prescription. While it’s easy to find a local pharmacy that sells butterfly needles, it’s important to have extra fluid and needle stocks at home.
When buying a subcutaneous fluid set for a kitten in a local pharmacy, here’s what pet owners should do:
- Call or visit the local pharmacy. Don’t forget to take the cat’s prescription if necessary. Talk to a pharmacist instead of a clerk so that they have access to the full catalog of the store.
- Tell them about the fluids, butterfly needles, and other fluid treatment tools needed. If they don’t have it in stock, they may order everything quickly.
- Ask the pharmacist if they accept discount cards (and if you have any) that entitle you to a lower price for the IV fluids.
- Before placing the order, tell the pharmacist to ask their supplier if they have the needed fluids in stock. If not, it might take them a long while to fulfill the order. Make sure to also check the total order price.
- Wait for the needed fluids to arrive and collect them. This usually only takes a day or two if the supplier has the fluid in stock.
If there isn’t a nearby local pharmacy that offers IV fluids at a low price, then pet owners can try their luck in an online pharmacy. The availability and prices of fluids, needles, and other supplies vary because of the fluid shortages in the country. In addition to the price of supplies, pet owners are also charged shipping fees unless they reach the minimum spend required.
If you can’t find a good online pharmacy that sells winged infusion sets, here are some of our best recommendations:
- Thriving Pets sells butterfly needles per piece or in a box of 50. Their butterfly needle supplies range from 19-gauge to 23-gauge. They also offer free shipping for orders that are over $49.
- Leedstone offers butterfly needles of various sizes at $1.99 per piece. However, they don’t offer free shipping for their customers.
- Lambert Vet Supply sells 23-gauge butterfly needles per piece at $0.79, which is more affordable than other suppliers. They also offer free shipping for orders that are over $100.
Online Stores vs. Pharmacies: Where Should You Buy Your Needles
There are many options when it comes to shops and pharmacies that sell butterfly needles and other fluid therapy supplies for kittens. However, there might be some restrictions depending on where you live – such as needing a prescription or having a limit on how many butterfly needles can only be bought.
During emergencies, many local pharmacies may let you purchase butterfly needles if only a small amount is needed. Unless you have a prescription from a veterinarian, the pharmacist may limit your purchase to more or less 10 butterfly needles.
It’s usually better to buy from local pharmacies because pet owners may save up on shipping fees and they may collect the butterfly needles immediately. Some online pharmacies accept bulk orders and offer free shipping, but make sure to avoid purchasing from Amazon and auction sites like eBay.
Ordering from Amazon increases the risk of accidentally buying counterfeit and low-quality butterfly needles. As for eBay, some products may have been tampered with. This may be harmful to the kitten so only make sure to purchase medical supplies from licensed pharmacies or medical distributors.
You may also ask the veterinarian where they buy their fluid line set, syringe, tubing, and other medical supplies for pets.
Why Butterfly Needles Are the Best Choice
Pet owners have 2 needle options when administering subcutaneous fluids to their kittens: a regular hypodermic needle or a butterfly needle (or winged infusion set). Using butterfly needles through the syringe method is the preferred option for many. It involves using a needle that’s smaller than a regular straight needle. The wings on either side of the needle also allow more precise and stable needle placement into the kitten’s skin and vein.
Like infants and young patients, kittens also have tiny veins and sensitive skin so smaller bore needles should be used for their treatment. The only downside to purchasing butterfly needles is that they’re usually more expensive than regular needles, so it’s better to buy them in bulk to save a little cash.
The most common needle of choice for many people is the Terumo TW 19g x 1” or 20g x 1”. If you’re not familiar with what this label means, here’s a cheat sheet to help you out:
- Terumo is the manufacturer or brand of the needle.
- TW is the thickness of the wall surrounding the lumen (the hole in the middle of the needle where the blood passes through). It usually comes in 3 types: RW (regular wall), TW (thin wall), and UTW (ultra-thin wall).
- 19g or 20g means “gauge,” which refers to the size of the lumen. A higher gauge means a smaller needle hole and slower subq fluids flow.
- 1” refers to the total length of the needle. It’s usually measured in inches. A longer needle allows users to reach deeper veins.
Do You Need a Prescription for Buying a Butterfly Needle?
A prescription is needed when purchasing a plastic bag of subcutaneous fluid in every state. This is also needed for buying buretrols and giving sets. As for butterfly needles, only a few states require a prescription (MN, DE, NH, RI, NJ, CT, IL, and NY). Before buying the fluid therapy supplies, make sure to ask the vet for a prescription so you can purchase everything in one visit.
Regardless of the state they live in, pet owners are entitled to a vet prescription if they ask for one. According to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, a veterinarian should discuss the benefits of having the medication for kidney failure and other medical conditions dispensed from their clinic. If the client still wants the prescription filled anywhere else, then they should comply with the patient’s wish by providing a written prescription.
How to Administer Subcutaneous Fluids at Home Using Butterfly Needles
Some vets recommend injecting only 10ml of fluid in one spot and 10ml in another. However, this requires creating multiple sticks on the kitten’s skin. According to International Cat Care, an average-sized cat with a body weight of 10lbs should have no problem with receiving around 10 to 20ml of fluid in a single subcutaneous injection.
Giving injections can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have any experience in doing it or if you have to do it for your pet. However, subcutaneous fluid administration is pretty easy. The benefits that sub q fluid administration brings your kitten make it worth learning this simple treatment.
Step 1: Assembling the Equipment
Before starting any medical procedure, always make sure to put all the needed supplies in one place. In this case, pet owners need to gather materials like:
- A small needle to draw the needed liquid from the fluid bag
- Syringes to hold the liquid to be injected into the cat
- A heating pad to keep the fluid inside the syringes warm before administering them
- A winged infusion set to deliver the fluids into the kitten
- A disposal unit for when throwing away used needles
As for assembling all the equipment needed and preparing for the subcutaneous fluid administration, here’s how to do it:
- Take the small needle and attach its needle hub to the syringe. Remove the protective cover from the needle and find the entrance of the fluid bag (it has a blue marker).
- Gently push the needle into the clear cellophane of the fluid bag. Hold the fluid upright while pulling on the syringe’s plunger. Continuously do this as the fluid accumulates into the syringe and reaches the required amount.
- When the syringe is full, carefully remove the needle. Lay the syringe on a clean cloth or heating pad so that it can maintain the right temperature as you fill the other syringes. Make sure that the end where the needle was attached isn’t touching anything that may contaminate the fluid.
- Take the butterfly needle and attach the end of the needle to a fluid-filled syringe.
- Remove the cap from the butterfly needle and squeeze it gently so that the fluid starts to flow, pushing the air out of the needle.
Step 2: Inserting the Needle into the Cat
- Place the cat comfortably in your lap. Pinch some of their loose skin at the level of the shoulder blade or hip bones to form a pouch or tent.
- There’s no need to sterilize the kitten’s skin before inserting the needle because the smell of alcohol may only aggravate them.
- Hold the needle so that the longer end is at the bottom. Ensure that the needle is positioned parallel to the cat’s back.
- Smoothly insert the butterfly needle into the skin tent. Make sure that the needle doesn’t make it through the other side of the skin tent because it only causes the fluid to leak.
Step 3: Administering the Fluid
- Hold the cat steadily with one hand and use the other to steadily push the plunger of the syringe.
- The kitten may slightly resist as the fluid enters its body, but this is a normal reaction. Steadily squeeze all the contents but avoid pushing air into the kitten because it can be extremely dangerous.
- Once all the fluids have been administered, gently remove the needle from the kitten. Massage the injection site to soothe the cat and minimize the risk of fluids leaking.
- Return the subcutaneous fluid and other equipment to their usual storage.
- Dispose of the used needles in a puncture-proof sharps container to avoid needlestick injuries and needle reuse.
Is it Safe to Administer Sub Q Fluids for Your Cat at Home?
Yes, subcutaneous fluids can be administered at home with the guidance of and recommendation by the veterinarian. However, it’s crucial to follow each instruction provided by the vet to avoid hurting the pet or injecting the wrong amount of fluids into them.
It’s still best to let the veterinarian perform the fluid therapy since they have all the equipment needed to perform it correctly. They’re also trained to handle everything involving this kind of treatment – from using the right equipment, comforting the pet, and giving them the right sub q fluids.
High-Quality Butterfly Needles and Other Medical Equipment at FACE Med Store
Butterfly needles needed to administer subcutaneous fluids to kittens with medical conditions can be bought online or in local pharmacies. It’s crucial to get them from licensed suppliers to avoid purchasing counterfeit or low-quality butterfly needles for pets. You can always ask the veterinarian for their recommendations on where to buy the best butterfly needles.
At FACE Med Store, we offer quality butterfly needles of different sizes at the right price. We’re a reliable supplier of different medical equipment for hundreds of clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare centers all over the country, so you can trust the quality of our butterfly needles and other products.
Call us today to know more about our butterfly needles and other medical supplies.