Introduction: How to Insert and Remove a Catheter on a Dog
When a dog is sick, it is crucial to help them get well again. This requires taking them to the veterinary clinic and allowing the doctor to diagnose the dog. If a simple antibiotic cannot be given, the dog will have to be attached to an IV and kept for observation. But before the IV can be attached, a catheter must first be inserted. Catheters are often inserted by a veterinary technician, but in case an extra set of hands is needed, it’s necessary to know how the procedure works.
Step 1: Prepare for the Procedure
Before the procedure can begin, the tools must first be collected. Make sure to have clippers, white tape, disinfectant, gauze, vet wrap, a catheter port, a restrainer, and a sterile surface. In this case, the disinfectant will be rubbing alcohol, and a restrainer is referring to the person who holds the dog still. The tape should be cut into three strips, about 8 inches long. One strip is to be cut about an inch down the middle, and one of the sides needs to be folded over the other so that it is thinner than the rest of the tape.
Step 2: Prepare the Dog
Once the supplies are prepared, the dog needs to be stay relaxed. The restrainer must then secure the leg in which the catheter is being inserted. The vet tech will then take the clippers and shave the dog’s leg so that it is easier to access the vein. After rubbing the shaved area with rubbing alcohol, the restrainer will then apply pressure to the leg and twist towards the dog’s body. After a minute or two, the cephalic vein will start to pop out, making it easy to insert the needle.
Step 3: Insert Catheter
The catheter is then inserted parallel into the vein, where the vile should begin to fill with blood. If this doesn’t happen, it may have to be inserted into a spot where the vein is raised higher. A piece of gauze is then put over the needle injection point so that it can be checked on daily.
Step 4: Secure the Catheter
The tape that is split a little bit down the middle then needs to be applied, with the smaller part going directly over the area where the needle is. Then wrap the tape around the catheter and the dog’s leg to secure the catheter. To prevent the dog from getting hold of the catheter, apply vet wrap around the tape, making sure it is not too tight, as this can cause swelling in the paw.
Step 5: Attaching IV Bags
After the catheter is settled and working properly, the IV bags can then be attached. When attaching the bag of solution, it is important to keep the tubes upright, as blood can drain into the tube. If this happens, the blood in the tube blocks the IV fluids from reaching the dog. The dog should then spend a couple days attached to the IV so that the problems the dog is experiencing can be diagnosed.
Step 6: Removing the Catheter
The catheter can then be removed by taking the tape and vet wrap off the catheter and placing a piece of tape over where the needle was inserted. This is done as a precaution so that infection doesn’t occur, and to stop the bleeding that could result in the needle being absent.