fluids always require a prescription in the US. (In Canada and
Mexico, IV fluids are over-the-counter.) Most vendors will also
insist on a prescription for IV admin sets but some will not. A
few states including Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey,
New York and Rhode Island require prescriptions for needles and syringes.
It's not unusual for mail order firms to insist upon needle/syringe
prescriptions even though they may not be legally required. Have
your vet make out an indefinite quantity (PRN) prescription for each of
the items you'll buy in the next year and FAX or mail it to the
vendor. The prescription is good for a year. Many states require vets to give you a prescription
under veterinary and/or pharmacy laws/regulations. If your vet
refuses to write a prescription, see Vet
refuses to write a prescription.
Your Vet. Before you run off to purchase supplies, ask
your vet for help. Most vets sell fluids by the bag and it's a
very good idea to first make sure that you are capable of administering fluids
to your pet at home. If you experience problems, consider hiring a
vet tech to come by and coach you through a session or two. Folks
who have done this have reported paying $15-$25 per vet tech home
visit. Some vets have reasonable prices on fluids and some have
volunteered to sell cases of fluids to their clients for their cost or
their cost plus a small handling charge. Kudos to those vets!
Local Sources. Just about everyone who has tried
has found lactated ringer's solution (LRS) or Normosol-R locally at a
significant savings over mail order. Correspondents have reported
paying from $10-$30 for a case of 12 liters of LRS. Only a handful
have had success finding IV admin sets and needles locally,
however. When I was still infusing my Scooter Cat, I bought LRS at
my local CVS and needles and IV sets via mail order. Check
the local fluids link for more information and
instructions. There are some "tricks" to obtaining
vs. Non-PVC Bags. A chemical plasticizer, DEHP, is used in the
manufacture of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) IV bags and lines to soften
them. But DEHP is a known carcinogen ... studies suggested that it
causes liver cancer in laboratory animals. There is no definitive
proof that DEHP from PVC bags and lines will cause harm to infused
animals but many prefer the non-PVC bags and IV admin sets for peace of
mind. See the Health
Care Without Harm web site for more information. All Terumo
brand IV bags are DEHP-free. Other providers, including Hospira
and Baxter, now have fluids available in DEHP-free bags, but these bags
may be more costly than their bags manufactured with DEHP.
Comparisons. Be sure to include all shipping, handling and
other fees in comparing prices between vendors. For example, some
vendors charge an additional fee for low dollar orders!
Location. Don't forget to consider the vendor's shipping location
when ordering fluids -- it will determine the time to your
location. Use the UPS Shipping
Calculator to estimate delivery time.
your cat is responding well to fluids treatment, don't hesitate to
obtain bulk fluids locally or from a mail order vendor. My vet
charged relatively humane prices but ordering supplies via mail order
saved me about $1300 a year over my vet's prices!
- MVI Shopmedvet.com, Dealmed.com or
ThrivingPets.com for a No Fluids Order. If your
current needs do not include fluids but rather a box of needles and/or
IV sets, consider these three vendors. See table 4.
IV Sets. It's perfectly permissible to reuse IV admin
sets by transferring them from a depleted fluids bag to a new one as
long as you maintain sterility. Some will reuse a set up to six
times. Others will change to a new set every month or so.
Reuse Needles. Disposable needles are not designed to be
reused. They lose their sharpness immediately and are easily
contaminated. Since the cost per needle is only 4-7 cents each,
there's no real economic incentive to reuse them.
the Feline CRF
Support Group. The ability to ask a question of folks in the
same situation makes all the difference. The Group can address
both big and small concerns. When I first joined, the
Group sent me to Direct Medical, reducing my cost for a bag of Lactated
Ringer's Solution from the $12 charged by my vet to $1.89 plus
shipping. The Group also patiently explained how to remove the
guard on Terumo needles after I had stabbed myself twice.