Adam P, Táborský L, Sobek O Cerebrospinal fluid. Adv Clin Chem. 2001; 36:1-62

Ballantyne HBoca Raton, FL, USA: Boca Raton, FL, USA; 2018

Bassert JM Cell physiology, 4th edn. In: Colville TP, Bassert JM Saint Louis, Missouri: Saint Louis, Missouri; 2023

Cordemans C, De Laet I, Van Regenmortel N Aiming for a negative fluid balance in patients with acute lung injury and increased intra-abdominal pressure: a pilot study looking at the effects of PAL-treatment. Ann Intensive Care. 2012; 2:(Suppl 1)

Gregory NGOxford, UK: Oxford, UK; 2004

Hansen B Fluid overload. Front Vet Sci. 2021; 8

Hughston L The basics of fluid therapy for small animal veterinary technicians. Today's Veterinary Nurse. 2016; 1:22-33

Lewis SR, Pritchard MW, Evans DJ Colloids versus crystalloids for fluid resuscitation in critically ill people. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018; 8:(8)

Llewellyn E, Lourenço M, Ambury A Recognition, treatment, and monitoring of canine hypovolemic shock in first opinion practice in the United Kingdom. Top Companion Anim Med. 2020; 39

King LG, Boag A Fluid therapy, 3rd edn. In: King LG, Boag A Gloucester: Gloucester; 2018

Malbrain MLNG, Langer T, Annane D Intravenous fluid therapy in the perioperative and critical care setting: executive summary of the International Fluid Academy (IFA). Ann Intensive Care. 2020; 10:(1)

Voldby AW, Aaen AA, Møller AM, Brandstrup B Goal-directed fluid therapy in urgent GAstrointestinal Surgery-study protocol for A Randomised multicentre Trial: The GAS-ART trial. BMJ Open. 2018; 8:(11)

Yildiz F, Karakoc E Fluid replacement in treatment of hypovolemia and shock: crystalloids and colloids. Ç.Ü.T1p Fakültesi ar_iv. 2013; 22:(3)347-361

Fluid therapy for emergent and critical cases: hypovolaemia vs dehydration

02 December 2023
10 mins read
Volume 14 · Issue 10


Intravenous fluid therapy is commonly used in emergent and critical patients. Water is a nutrient that is vital to the survival of patients, but one that must be replenished daily. Fluid in the body can be subdivided into intracellular and extracellular portions, with extracellular being further divided into interstitial and intravascular compartments. Fluid loss from all compartments is called dehydration – this is not immediately life threatening. Hypovolaemia is fluid loss from the intravascular compartment – this is life-threatening and requires immediate treatment. Prompt patient assessment and identification of these conditions is essential in selecting the right treatment for the patient. Goal-directed therapy is the gold standard approach for patients receiving intravenous fluid therapy and the veterinary nurse has a key role to play in patient monitoring.

Intravenous fluid therapy (IVFT) is commonly found in plans for treating emergent and critical patients (King and Boag, 2018), to support the cardiovascular system. IVFT can be used in the treatment of absolute or relative hypovolaemia (Yildiz and Karakoc, 2013), hydration deficits and to maintain normal water, electrolyte and acid–base balance. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to be used; all fluid therapy calculations are based on estimates (Malbrain et al, 2020) and what works well for one patient might not for the next. Both the inciting cause and ongoing pathology can influence the effect of IVFT. Goal-directed therapy is the gold standard approach for patients receiving IVFT (Voldby et al, 2018), making the nurse's role of monitoring the patient a very important part of providing the best treatment to the patient.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting The Veterinary Nurse and reading some of our peer-reviewed content for veterinary professionals. To continue reading this article, please register today.