The diagnosis of chronic kidney disease in our feline companion has made us confront our fear of needles. Cats suffering from kidney disease often require subcutaneous fluids as their kidney function worsens. If you are on the lookout for places to buy subcutaneous fluids for cats, let’s explore your options together.
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Let’s start with where our journey began, the local vet’s office. When we brought our furry friend home from the hospital, we were charged $20 for a 1,000 mL lactated ringer, IV administration line, and a few needles for administering. However, considering that he required 100 mL of fluids three times a week, we realized that the cost would quickly add up. Therefore, after finishing the first bag, we decided to order our own custom setup from other stores.
Online Retailers for Subcutaneous Fluids
Chewy is usually my go-to spot for prescriptions because their pricing is often hard to beat. However, when it comes to lactated ringers, the prices are similar to other stores, approximately $10 per bag. Although the convenience of getting everything in one place is enticing, and you can save on shipping by bundling your purchase with other items, such as food and litter, it might not be wise to invest in a case of fluids until you’re certain about your cat’s tolerance.
If you choose to shop online, Walmart can offer you a great deal. For orders of six or more bags, each bag will be discounted to $9.08. Additionally, you’ll enjoy free shipping. Similar to Chewy, Walmart also has an autoship program for fluids. You can either upload a copy of the prescription or provide them with your vet’s information, and they will confirm it for you.
Physical Stores Selling Subcutaneous Fluids for Cats
Keep in mind that any pharmacy should be able to fill your pet’s prescription. However, most pharmacies do not carry the fluids in stock and will need to order them. Hence, be prepared to wait a day or two for your fluids to arrive.
Walgreens makes it to the top of the list, as it is where people often find amazing deals on a case of lactated ringers. How amazing? You can get 12 bags of 1,000 mL each for just $32, which is incredible pricing. However, this deal comes at a cost: you will need to put in some effort. First, obtain a FREE discount card here. This card will allow you to enjoy significant savings. Additionally, I recommend visiting the pharmacy in person when the main pharmacist is on shift. Keep a big smile, be patient, and don’t give up. Ordering lactated ringers is an unusual request, and not all pharmacy staff members are accustomed to it. To help them, provide them with the NDC codes #00409-7953-09 or #0264-7750-00. Remember to use the discount card you obtained earlier to further improve the price. Please note that these two codes are universal drug codes, so you can use them at any pharmacy to check pricing. Both codes refer to a case of 12 bags of 1,000 mL each, so don’t be alarmed if the initial price seems high. It becomes a lot more reasonable when you divide it by 12.
Not a Costco member? No problem! You do not need to be a member to use their pharmacy. Costco also carries pet medications. Similar to Walgreens, Costco might be unfamiliar with these requests, so it’s advisable to call ahead. Furthermore, I recommend contacting multiple Costco locations in your area, as pricing can vary significantly between clubs. If you are a Costco member, remember to sign up for their prescription savings club to enjoy additional savings. When you call, if the staff is unsure how to assist you, you can inquire about the price of NDC #0264-7750-00 (Braun-brand, DEHP FREE). However, keep in mind that Costco can order various brands of lactated ringers through their pharmacy.
Where to Purchase Lactated Ringers for Cats without a Veterinary Prescription
Please note that lactated ringers are labeled as prescription only. It is essential to follow veterinarian advice when administering fluids, as there can be side effects if your cat has underlying conditions. Furthermore, purchasing lactated ringers without a prescription can be double the price compared to other online sources. Currently, Mountain Side Medical Equipment is the only place where you can acquire fluids without a prescription.
Other Supplies for Subcutaneous Fluids
The tips and codes mentioned above cover the bags of fluids your cat needs, but there are other essential items required to administer the fluids.
Needles for Administering Subcutaneous Fluids
The type of needle used by veterinarians usually has a gauge of 18G, and they often provide such needles when you get subcutaneous fluids from them. However, these needles are large and are often referred to as “harpoons” for cats. When purchasing your own supplies, I highly recommend opting for a smaller needle size. Keep in mind that the higher the number (20G, 21G, etc.), the smaller the needle overall. While smaller needles make the injection easier, less fluid is expelled due to their size. Some cats tolerate smaller needles better and appreciate the slower flow, especially if the fluids are not warmed up. To maximize fluid absorption, consider purchasing ultra-thin wall needles that have a larger opening in the middle. Among needle brands, Terumo is considered the best for your pets due to their unique double bevel and ultra-thin wall design, which ensures more comfortable and less noticeable injections.
IV Admin Set
Lastly, you will need an IV Admin Set to connect the needle to the bag of fluids. Fortunately, these sets are quite generic, and there isn’t much to know about them. I recommend purchasing the longest sets available, as they allow for faster flow by hanging the bag higher. Remember to dispose of the IV Admin Set after using it with a bag of fluids; reusing it is not recommended.
Conclusion on Where to Buy Subcutaneous Fluids for Cats
I hope these options assist you on your journey with your cat. Dealing with kidney disease can bring both highs and lows. The stress of acquiring supplies or facing a pile of medical bills should not be an additional worry. If you have any low-cost suggestions on where to obtain fluids, please share them with us in the comments below. If you find it challenging to administer fluids to your cat, you can read our tips on giving fluids to difficult cats.