Fluid Therapy in the Avian Patient

Key Points

  • In mammals with substantial hypovolemia, blood pressure decreases below a mean arterial pressure of 60 mmHg or a systolic pressure of 90 mmHg. Research indicates that birds have a baroreceptor response to shock similar to that seen in mammals.
  • Crystalloids are the mainstay of rehydration and maintenance fluid therapy. Colloids, such as Hetastarch, whole blood, or plasma, are frequently indicated during fluid resuscitation to provide sustained intravascular volume expansion.
  • Most debilitated birds benefit from initial administration of warmed [100-102°F (38-39°C)] crystalloids at 30 ml/kg given intravenously, intraosseously, or subcutaneously. When the bird appears stable, perform diagnostics including blood pressure monitoring and further treatment. One to three bolus infusions of crystalloids (10 ml/kg) and colloids (Hetastarch or Oxyglobin at 5 ml/kg) can be given in the same syringe IV or IO until blood pressure exceeds 90 mmHg systolic.
  • Replacement fluid volume (ml) = estimated dehydration deficit (%) x body weight (kg) x 1000. Add daily maintenance fluid requirements (2 ml/kg/h or 48 ml/kg/day) to the fluid deficit volume. Replace the total volume over 24 hours.
  • Provide maintenance fluids until the bird is eating on its own by dividing three bolus infusions over 24 hours.

Crystalloids, also called replacement fluids, are the mainstay of rehydration and maintenance fluid therapy, and they can be used together with colloids during resuscitation. Crystalloids are fluids containing sodium chloride and other solutes that are capable of distributing to all body fluid compartments. Replacement fluids have electrolyte concentrations that resemble extracellular fluid, whereas maintenance fluids contain less sodium (40-60 mEq/L) and more potassium (15-30 mEq/L). The most commonly used replacement fluids are 0.9% saline, lactated Ringer’s solution, Normosol-R, or . . .

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