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Feline Jugular Venipuncture

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Sarah Harris, CVT, demonstrates how to collect a blood sample from the jugular vein of a feline patient.

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Sarah Harris's picture
Sarah Harris

CVT VTS(ECC)

Enrolled: 02/2014

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Gina Tzodikov's picture

Can you explain the angles best used for a jugular blood draw in a cat in right lateral recumbency? Also just in general, what is the best angle for a jugular draw in dog/cat?

Sarah Harris's picture

I equally like a dorsal or caudal approach to a jugular blood draw in a laterally positioned patient. Each approach has it's advantages and disadvantages. I am slightly more inclined to do a cranial to caudal blood drawn in which I am holding the head and my assistant is occluding the vein by putting light pressure in the thoracic inlet/jugular groove while holding the legs that are gently wrapped in a blanket. Disadvantages to this can arise if the patient has a more medially positioned jugular because the patients head can feel like it is in your way. The second option of collecting your sample by drawing caudally to cranially can also be used. Performing a blood draw this way, my assistant will hold the head using a C-hold and restrain the toweled forelimbs while I hold off in the jugular groove. This will work just as well, but I feel like it can get a little crowded with the hands of the person restraining and my hands occluding and drawing blood. Each individual patient has their own considerations regarding conformation and comfort that we need to think about when approaching sample collection and the truth is there is a lot of right ways to get the job done. Ultimately, the best way to perform a jugular blood draw is the way that you are most confident while the patient is comfortably and safely restrained.