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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 14914
Experience:  More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
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In what circumstance would it NOT be a good idea to tap a

Customer Question

In what circumstance would it NOT be a good idea to tap a dog to remove fluid? I
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for using our service to ask your question. I am a veterinarian and will do my best to help.

I would need a little more information to answer your question well. For instance, what body part is being tapped to remove fluid? It is more risky to remove fluid from the chest as opposed to the abdomen, and even less risk to tap fluid that is just under the skin.

I would assess a dog's heart, pulses, and blood counts usually before doing a tap of any kind. If I could use ultrasound the area to be tapped first, and use ultrasound to guide the needle, that decreases risk. However, in an emergency, I have jumped right in and tapped a chest of a dog that might die if I don't act. Knowing what condition he had, what kind of fluid (blood, pus, serum) is being removed, and what health issues the dog has would affect my decision about tapping.

Could you tell me a little more about why Benji needed a tap, what area of his body was tapped, and what was found and what happened?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He had enlarged heart and liver, and was filled with fluid. He had blood work, X-ray and ultrasound done. Blood work had come back normal. I was just curious why my vet hadn't recommended tapping to remove any fluid? (He was on enalapril and furosemide)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also his abdomen was quite distended
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

If there was so much fluid that it affects breathing, we sometimes do remove fluid by tapping, preferably by ultrasound guidance. However, it is only temporary, and you have to keep doing it. It can be stressfull, there is some risk, and the decision to do it is on a case by case basis. You would need to ask your vet why he did not recommend it.

Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

Can I help with or answer anything else? Rebecca

Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.
Hi Christina,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Benji. How is everything going?