Dosing small and exotic animals

Veterinary surgeons who are unfamiliar with the actions of a particular drug in a given exotic species are advised to consult the drug monograph and more complete references.

The size of some species of exotic pets makes dosing difficult and care must be taken when calculating small doses. Some points to bear in mind when dosing are:

  • Where powders are to be dissolved in water, sterile water for injection should be used
  • Most solutions may be diluted with water for injection or 0.9% saline
  • Dilution will be necessary when volumes <0.1 ml are to be administered
  • Suspensions cannot be diluted
  • Use 1 ml syringes for greatest accuracy
  • Specialist laboratories with a Veterinary Specials Authorization should be contacted to reformulate drugs.

Doses provided in this Formulary are intended for exotic pet species. They should not be used for commercial production species of fish or poultry, or large mammals. Established poultry texts should be consulted for treating individual chickens.

Composition of intravenous fluids

Fluid Na (mmol/l) K (mmol/l) Ca2 (mmol/l) Cl (mmol/l) HCO (mmol/l) Dext. (g/l) Osmol. (mosm/l)
0.45% NaCl 77 77 155
0.9% NaCl 154 154 308
5% NaCl 856 856 1722
Ringer’s 147 4 2 155 310
Lactated Ringer’s (Hartmann’s) 131 5 2 111 29 280
Darrow’s 121 35 103 53 312
0.9% NaCl + 5.5% Dext. 154 154 50 560
0.18% NaCl + 4% Dext. 31 31 40 264
Duphalyte 2.6 1.0 3.6 454 Unknown

Dext. = Dextrose; Osmol. = Osmolality.

*Bicarbonate is present as lactate.

**Also contains a mixture of vitamins and small quantities of amino acids and 1.2 mmol/l of MgSO

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