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Blood Draw Lateral Saphenous

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Megan Brashear, CVT, VTS (ECC), walks you through obtaining a blood sample from the lateral saphenous vein in a dog. The lateral saphenous vein in dogs is an ideal spot for quick blood draws.

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Megan Brashear's picture
Megan Brashear


Enrolled: 07/2011

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Sam Hollister's picture

We routinely use this technique, especially in dogs that are fractious or extremely difficult to restrain in a sitting / ventral position. In some cases I will use a butterfly catheter + Vacutainer system which allows for a little more movement in wiggly pups.

Sara Mahrt's picture

I am a new tech (just graduated from school and taking my boards in March) and love this site!! Quick question....I know that it is best not to draw from the cephalic to save it for catheter use but how about lateral saphenous vs jugular?? Which do you tend to try first? Thanks!

Megan Brashear's picture

Sara, I LOVE the lateral saphenous and it's my first choice for blood draws all the time. It's usually the least stressful the patient, and once you get used to the location it's also the easiest. Jugular draws are reserved for those patients that are too tiny or debilitated to give up 3ml of blood from a leg. Also, in an emergency or critical care situation we see lots of patients with clotting disorders and we definitely don't want to use the jugular vein in those patients. Better safe than sorry! Good luck on the VTNE!

Dana May's picture

What is your first choice vein when drawing blood from a cat? Thanks!

Megan Brashear's picture

Hi Dana! I prefer to do almost all of my cat blood draws from the medial saphenous vein. This is the least stressful for the restrainer and for the cat. If I need a volume >1ml I will use a butterfly catheter to prevent the vein from collapsing. I will use the jugular in cases where the medial saphenous won't give me what I need but the leg is my first pick.

Megan Barclay's picture

If you are collecting more than a ml of blood, do you sometimes have problems with it clotting in the syringe before you have enough sample?

Megan Brashear's picture

Megan, I rarely have issues with the blood clotting before I get my full sample, if this happens I may switch to using a butterfly catheter (even in a large dog). A butterfly catheter will prevent the vein from collapsing and will usually help you get your sample faster. If there are still problems with the sample clotting then another site (I'd start thinking jugular) should be used.