Kidney disease, or Chronic Renal Failure, is a health problem that can afflict dogs and cats as well as people. There are many treatments for the disease, which is progressive, but there is no cure. One of the treatments given by veterinarians is injections of vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 is given to cats and dogs suffering from kidney failure to restore some of the vitamins that are lost when the kidneys are not filtering the blood as they should. This is important for the health of the animal, as healthy blood is the key to a healthy life. B-12 is also used as a blood builder for animals suffering from anemia.
Vitamin B-12 is necessary for cell growth and cell reproduction. It serves as a building block for DNA and RNA production and also assists the nervous system in proper functioning. Another primary function of B-12 is the production of energy for the body. Doctors and veterinarians have long prescribed B-12 in oral and injection form to treat anemia and kidney ailments; both of these diseases have a direct effect on energy production. B-12 can help build the blood in anemia patients, and it can help restore the blood in patients who are suffering from less than perfectly functioning kidneys. When home injections are prescribed, it can be daunting for people who are unsure of how or where to give injections, especially to cats---who are often less than thrilled to be poked with needles.
By knowing where to inject your cat, you are avoiding causing it anymore pain or stress than necessary and certainly avoiding any injury on your part. Most cats are not declawed, and getting a cat mad is no joke. Having all four feet and teeth to deal with can be overwhelming, even for someone used to giving injections. So knowing how and where to inject your cat with the medicine is an advantage. The best possible place to inject your cat is the scruff of the neck. The loose skin that a mother cat will grab her kittens by is still present on the adult cat. By grasping this loose skin and pulling gently but firmly up, you are essentially providing the same restraint a mother does to her kitten. Once you grasp this loose skin, you are ready to give the injection.
B-12 is given subcutaneously, otherwise known as under the skin---not in the bloodstream. Once you have the loose skin of the cat's neck firmly in your hand, take your opposite hand that holds the syringe and needle and place the needle against the skin just beneath your bunched fingers. This is the spot where skin is already pulled away from muscle and tissue and can guarantee the proper dispensation of the medicine. Push firmly, but gently, until you feel the needle puncture the skin. It is not necessary to continue pushing hard, just slide the needle in another couple of millimeters and empty the syringe, then immediately withdraw the needle. The entire injection should only take seconds.
As soon as you withdraw the needle from the skin, put down the shot and gently rub the injected area while releasing the "scruff" with your opposite hand. By rubbing the injection site, you are distributing the medicine in the tissues around the site and making sure none leaks out through the injection puncture. Use your voice and hands to praise and caress the cat and reassure it that all is well. If you have done your job properly, the cat will have felt little to nothing and will not be distressed. There should be no side effects, no pain, no oozing and no problem with the injection site. If possible, allow the cat to go free and give it a reward for its good behavior.
If you have never given a cat an injection, do not start without assistance. Have a veterinarian show you how to give the injection, and---if possible---have him observe you giving your first injection. Although rare, complications from a bad injection can kill your cat. An air bubble in the bloodstream can be deadly, as well as a dose of medicine in the blood that is meant to be given in the skin. So it is far better to be safe than sorry and have the assistance of a professional on your first few injections. Even having the help of a person who is experienced with animal shots is better than trying to do it on your own. The good news is that once you have done it a few times, it is very easy to do from that point forward.