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Fluids, Dehydration, and Fluid Therapy

About 6 – 8 % of the body weight of our cats and dogs is made up of water. This amount of water is either inside the cells the building blocks of tissues, in the space among the cells, or in the blood vessels moving around throughout the body.

Having enough amounts of water in the body at all times is extremely important for sustaining health and life in general.

Cats and dogs maintain their normal daily water requirements through drinking water and obtaining water from their food. The main organ in charge of fine tuning water metabolism in the body is the pair of kidneys. In simple words, kidneys hold on to the water consumed by the animal before letting a part of it into the urine to be eliminated.

There is a certain minimum limit of water requirement. If the amount of water in the body equals or even drops below this limit serious health problems follow. This is what is called “dehydration”.

A number of illnesses and diseases result in different degrees of dehydration. It is very important to understand that water loss is usually accompanied by loss of other substances on top of which come the “electrolytes” such as Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Magnesium, Calcium. The imbalance of these elements in the body may cause serious damages and even become life threatening.

The causes of dehydration could be anything from exposure to extreme heat and exercise to any illness/disease causing vomiting / diarrhea to organ diseases such as liver or kidney disease.

The signs of dehydration are best evaluated and diagnosed by your veterinarian in Markham but you can easily suspect such a disorder if your pet shows any signs and symptoms such as but not limited to the below.

A ) vomiting / diarrhea

B ) lethargy and disorientation

C ) diminished or loss of appetite

D ) Sunken eyes and dried nose, feeling warmer than usual

E ) Drinking and urinating excessively

In case of any or a combination of the above, while you should suspect dehydration, please contact us immediately for an appointment.

As your veterinarian in Markham, I would be offering our team care to properly diagnose your dog’s / cat’s problem in a timely manner and initiate therapy immediately.

The treatment of dehydration, after the proper diagnosis of the underlying problem, starts with calculation of the fluid loss (degree of dehydration) and the normal daily requirements of fluids based on the body weight.

The most effective way of replenishing the required amounts of fluid is through intravenous catheterization and fluid therapy. Using this technique we maintain a sterile, safe and direct access to the blood stream where we can inject controlled amounts of fluids and electrolytes over the term of hospital stay of our patient.

This method is simply called IV fluid therapy and can make a tremendously positive impact on the outcome of the treatments and in many cases proves to be a life saving procedure.

Please, call us immediately at 905 604 5 604 if your pet has any of the above said signs to suggest dehydration. This may save your pet’s life without a doubt.

Remember, as your vet in Markham, we are her to help you!


Dr. Dave Bonab & team

Unionville South Pet Hospital







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