Cat Subcutaneous Fluids Leaking

If your vet sees that your cat is not getting enough fluids, or is very dehydrated, he or she may prescribe your cat subcutaneous fluids. These are external fluids that are meant to make changes in your cat’s body so it can get back to normal again. But many times, a problem arises where the cat subcutaneous fluid is leaking from it’s body. So if this happens, what should you do? What are the dos and don’ts of situation when cat subcutaneous fluids leaking?

In this article, we have put forward a complete guide as to what you can do to prevent your cat’s subcutaneous fluids from leaking.

What is subcutaneous fluid and why is it important?

Subcutaneous fluids (Sub-Q) are usually prescribed to cats when they are facing illnesses in some way. A very common scenario when subcutaneous fluids are advised to be given is when a cat is facing kidney failure.

This is because when a cat’s kidneys fail, they produce more urine than usual so they try to avoid water intake as much as they can.

So these fluids are injected into the body to recover the loss of water and make the cat healthy enough again.

Why is it important?

As water is necessary for many functions in the cat’s body, its abstinence causes dehydration, so Sub Q fluids are used to bring the bodily functions back to the normal level.

If this water loss is not treated promptly, it can worsen the organs of your cat and disturb the body’s procedures, which can be life-threatening. Hence, if you notice your cat facing these issues, consult a vet immediately.

After consultation with your veterinarian, he or she may give you a specific equipment kit so you can continue the treatment at home if need be. This usually contains a drip set, a few needles, and tubing. He may also tell you the duration for which you need to continue the medication, and you must follow these guidelines so your cat can heal in time.

[What should I do if my cat’s subcutaneous fluids are leaking?

When subcutaneous fluids are given to the cat, at certain times, you may notice leakage. If this happens with your cat, do not panic! This is very common and happens to most cat owners the first time they inject the fluid.

There are different ways to fix leaking fluids, based on the scenarios we have mentioned.

If Subcutaneous leakage occurs before giving fluids

Fluid flowing too quickly

This kind of leakage is quite common, especially for inexperienced individuals. Sometimes the fluids flow too quickly into the cats’ body, much quicker than they can be absorbed, so it starts to leak from the body.

To fix this, the drip set should be hung over a stand wherever your cat is sitting so it slows the flow.

Needle pricking from the other side of the skin

Another way you can find leakage before the complete injection is if the needle is pricking through the other side of the skin, meaning any liquid injected is not going into the body.

In this case, try not to push the needle too deep into the skin, and if you do, retract it a bit so it’s faced inside the tissue and then check to see if the liquid is still leaking.

Needle not connected to drip set

Many times, the needle itself is not properly connected to the drip set. If this is not done, leakages can occur and even have a large part of the drip wasted if not controlled properly.

Injection not injected parallel to the skin

Just like injections given to humans, cat injections should be inserted corresponding to the skin.

This means you should ensure that the needle is going in the correct direction because if not, it can hurt the cat while the fluid is making it’s way into the cat’s small body.

If Subcutaneous leakage occurs after giving fluids

You might notice that after removing the injection of subcutaneous fluids, you may find some leakage from the cat’s body. The most typical scenarios are:

Leakage from the body immediately after removing the injection

If you see the fluid leaving the cat’s body after removing the injection, then the best way to stop this is by keeping your finger on the injected area for a few seconds or pinching the area slightly.

This will help stop the fluid from leaving the body at a fast pace, allowing it to stay in the body where it is needed by the cat.

If your cat is very furry and has thick skin, you might not need to hold the injected area for long.

Switch up the injection spots

If you insert the needle in from the same place daily and see a leakage, try switching up the injection spots.

You should preferably inject an area where there is a lot of tissue and fat because there are fewer chances of the needle moving that way.

Also, if you see redness or swelling on the injected site, it is time to switch up the spots once again.

Try a different needle size

If you use a larger needle, then after removing the hole may remain, and fluid leaks out.

If your cat is prescribed subcutaneous fluids daily, then you can experiment with a different needle, in the beginning, to see which works the best.

It is best to consult your vet for the needle size before using it, as inserting and removing needles many times can cause your cat pain.

Complications in cat

Some cats do not have enough area to properly inject the fluid. Their skin is a little tough to let the needle through.

This can be an issue sometimes, especially when their body needs continuous fluids.

In this case, they are injected with low-volume fluids, but for a longer duration overall. This is because if you give them an increased dose, a lot of it will leak out, and won’t be of use to the cat.

Other ways leakage can occur

From the bag

If you notice that the bag that comes with tje drip set is leaking, then you should discard it and buy a new one. A leaking bag becomes unsterile for use and can cause infections internally.

Also, if you use water pressure to open the bag for use, make sure you properly clean it up so no external entity mixes with the subcutaneous fluid in the bag.

From the tube or needle

If you’ve double-checked everything and don’t find leakage in the usual places, then check the tube that connects the needle to the bag.

Most times it only leaks because it’s not connected properly, but it could also be defective. You’ll have to change quickly because once the bag is connected, it can be hard to stop the flow of the fluid.

How to prevent leakage

If it is your first time injecting subcutaneous fluids into your cat, there are a few precautions you can take to avoid the fluids from leaking from your cat.

Keep your cat relaxed

First and foremost, try to keep your cat as still as possible. This is easier said than done with most cats, especially if it’s afraid of needles. You can distract them or insert the needle when they’re asleep.

If you insert it the right way, your cat shouldn’t feel a thing.

Avoid touching the needle after insertion

Do not fiddle with the needle too much. If it falls off, then the liquid can leak easily.

Moreover, be careful while petting your cat. Petting your cat can make it relax during the injection, but be wary of the needle.

Use proper needles

As mentioned above, you should use the right needle size based on your cat and its breed.

Some breeds require a thinner needle, and if you notice redness around the injected area, take your pet to the vet within 48 hours because this could also be an infection.

Other precautions

To keep the subcutaneous fluid going in the body at a good pace, calm your cat and keep the drip lifted a few feet above your cat’s position.

Lastly, be sure to give your cat exactly the amount of fluids as prescribed by the vet. If you give less, then your cat may not be sufficiently nourished, and if you give more, then there will be unnecessary leakage.


In conclusion, if you find your cat’s subcutaneous fluids leaking, do not worry! Understand that this is a common scenario and you probably made a small mistake while carrying out the injection procedure.

It is likely that you haven’t injected the needle right, or maybe the drip set itself has a problem, or your cat simply has some tough-to-get-through skin.

Should you find yourself in one of these scenarios, use the tips we have mentioned above to help your cat get the optimal amount of subcutaneous fluids it needs.

However, if you do everything your vet advised you to do when injecting fluids and they still leak, then do not hesitate to contact your vet. They can best handle the problem ‘Cat Subcutaneous Fluids leaking’.

Soon your cat will be properly hydrated, happy and healthy again!

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