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Quick Tips

Cut off the bottom (port side) of an empty and dry IV bag. Punch or cut 4 holes evenly spaced at the cut end, about an inch from the end. Weave a length of roll gauze through the holes as a tie. Send home with dogs who have bandages over their paws; owners can slip this over the bandage and tie when taking the dog outside, to keep the bandage dry.

Try the Abbot line of IV catheters – they definitely have a smoother feel and you will experience less burring of the catheter tip and less catching on vessel valves. Ask for some free samples.

When a beloved pet is euthanized, we offer our clients clay paw prints with the pet’s name and paw print impression. When dry, we mail them or include them in the bag with their pet’s ashes if there was an individual cremation. You can also get fancier and add ribbon ties and small heart or bone shapes. Always ask the client first- some people do not want one – but most of our clients love them as another thoughtful remembrance.

A “slip leash” can be used in a pinch if you either can’t get a muzzle on your patient, their face is too large/oddly shaped (Sharpei/Giant Breed), or a muzzle is not handy. It has to be a “slip-leash” as you need a quick release if your patient suddenly is in distress. Instead of aiming for the neck just aim for the nose and snug it up around the mouth. Use the rest of the leash to wrap around the mouth or you can hold the rest of the leash in the hand that is “arm-locked” around the patient’s neck if you can get into that position.

Place an e-collar on any patient you deem a “bite risk” this will give you a couple extra seconds of reacting time and will help everyone work with the patient safely.

For chewers an e-collar will sometimes not work, for such a patient a dab of “lick guard” can help or a commercially prepared flexible bandage that is already infused with a foul tasting substance may work as well.

Use a piece of roll gauze to tie some jingle bells around the front leg of dogs that are hospitalized for seizure activity (or even have a history of seizures). If he has a seizure he can then easily be heard.

Save vaccine trays to use for urine collection. They can also be sent home with clients along with a plastic urine collection tube (already labeled with the pet's name) as a sort of urine collection kit. We also tend to collect lots of the little plastic pipettes, like those that come with the Solo Step hearworm test, and also send those home with the client to ease transfer of urine to the tube.

Placing catheters in the very old/dehydrated patient. These patients can bur a catheter just looking at them. Sometimes creating a small nick in the skin right where your catheter will be placed can alleviate the friction and make for smoother threading. An 18 or 20 gauge needle can be used to gently prick the skin and then in a lifting motion create a hole. Care must be used to not actually nick the vein you are desperately trying to get the catheter into.

Placing catheters in patients with poor blood pressure. A fairly warm compress over the vein in which you need to access for catheter placement can help bring it to the surface. Compress for at least 2 minutes if not more.

Getting transdermal patches to stick to the patient. Make sure the area you are placing the patch is as hair free as possible and clean vigorously with chlorhexidine scrub and water only. Do not use rubbing alcohol.