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Butterfly Catheter Blood Draw

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Megan Brashear, CVT, VTS (ECC), demonstrates how to obtain a blood sample from the lateral saphenous vein of a small dog using a butterfly catheter.

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Megan Brashear's picture
Megan Brashear

CVT VTS(ECC)

Enrolled: 07/2011

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Kelsey M.'s picture

My clinic uses butterfly catheters a lot, but not for blood draws. I like your reasoning but it looked like the process was fairly slow. Do you worry about the sample clotting in the catheter/syringe? Or do you heparinize the tubing and syringe before hand? Thanks!!!

Megan Brashear's picture

Kelsey, I do not pre-herparinize the syringe or catheter, and using the butterfly is a faster process than using just the syringe in the smaller patients. It seems slow but that's just the small animal with their small veins. Using just the syringe will collapse their vein and take more time. I rarely have problems with the sample clotting in the line or syringe, the nice thing about a butterfly is I can change syringes and load blood into tubes without having to poke twice.

Rebecca Jones's picture

Why do you not attach the syringe to the butterfly catheter before drawing the blood? It seems like you're adding an extra step when the needle's already in the patient...

Chris Green's picture

Hi Rebecca,

Great question! When you attach the syringe before drawing the blood you get less of a flash, and sometimes no flash at all, to let you know you hit the vein. You also pull a large amount of air into your syringe, which is undesiarable. 

Melissa Klohn's picture

You should show a medial saphenous with a butterfly in a cat :)