Stretching for Animals

No, this isn’t a post about doing yoga with my dogs or cats. It isn’t about exercise at all actually. For whatever reason the universe keeps presenting me with opportunities to stretch my skills to help animals, and another of those has come my way. Last week I learned to give an intramuscular injection.

It all started about a dozen years ago when one of the local cat rescue groups asked me to foster a diabetic kitty. I’d never given an insulin shot before and was given a cursory lesson by the person who dropped off the cat. Feeling more than a little nervous I called a friend who had a diabetic cat and she walked me through giving my first shot. Easy peasy, once I got past the nerves.

Sheyden, my very first diabetic cat
Sheyden, my very first diabetic cat


So the universe decided I was ready for something bigger. Sub-Q fluids. Insulin needles are usually ultra-thin. Not so with those sub-q needles. I have to admit that I don’t use the ones that vet techs use, which look enormous to me. I’m afraid if I use them that everything will leak out of the cat, after I poke a huge hole in her. I know it’s not true, but I use the next smaller size anyway. It takes a little longer to get all the fluids to flow from the bag to the cat, but I don’t feel as bad about doing it. Between a few cats with kidney disease who needed fluids once or three times a week, every week, I got pretty good at the fluids.

So the universe is upping the ante on me now. The needles for intramuscular injections are bigger, scarier. But it’s either learn to do this for our old lady dog, Butterscotch, or take her to the vet each week. And for a dog with lots of arthritis getting in and out of the car isn’t fun, so I’m learning to do her injections at home.  I solo for the first time on Thursday this week.

Butterscotch, as some of you already know, has mobility problems, which aren’t unusual for a dog of her senior years. The injection is Adequan, which helps her joints function better. No miracle drug, but she can walk down the stairs again without sliding the whole way, and her daily walks are more lively and fun for her. She still can’t get up on the bed or couch by herself, but you can’t have everything.

I did the front legs, she says…can you do the back ones?

Giving the shot doesn’t bother me so much, but finding the muscle…there’s the challenge. Butterscotch doesn’t have great muscle tone at this age, and telling the difference between muscle and fatty tissue makes me just a tad nervous. But I guess the universe, and my vet, think I’m ready, so think a good thought for us on Thursday. Butterscotch is probably less worried that I am.



I’m almost afraid to master this for fear that whatever power that be out there will think of something more challenging in the future. Luckily, I think there is a limit to what is asked of non-vet tech types. At least I hope so.

8 thoughts on “Stretching for Animals

  1. I remember my first insulin injection. I was terrified. Then I had to learn how to test the blood from a capillary on the ear. Yikes. I shook the first time. Fortunately my cat (who is not at all laid back) was calm and didn’t flinch or run. Now it’s all old hat but I’ve never done subcutaneous fluids or intramuscular injections. Heck, I only got successful at pilling last year. Prior to that it was an all out war to get pills down their throats. You will be great. You could have been a vet tech. You have a touch with animals. They trust you.

    1. Thanks, Kate. But i couldn’t have been a vet tech since that requires passing science classes.

    1. She does have a very expressive face. Her looks in anticipation of walks and dinner are especially fun.

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