Ringer's, or lactated Ringer's solution, is a fluid given intravenously to supply water, electrolytes and sometimes nutrition to a person or animal in a hospital, home health care or surgery situation. It can be used as a diluent, or mixing solution, for other medicine given through an IV.
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Lactated Ringer's primary function is to replace lost fluid and electrolytes. People and animals experiencing dehydration or being prepped for surgery are given Ringer's. It can also be used to bathe animal tissues for scientific experiments.
A dose of veterinary-approved Ringer's includes sodium chloride; sodium lactate, anhydrous; potassium chloride and calcium chloride, dihydrate. The pH of the solution is 6.6, and it may include ingredients such as hydrochloric acid and/or sodium hydroxide, which balance the pH.
Patients receiving lactated Ringer's solution should be evaluated regularly. Laboratory tests should be done to monitor changes in electrolytes, changes in fluid balance, and pH levels of patients. Adverse reactions are not common, but if they occur, treatment should be stopped, countermeasures taken and the fluid saved for examination.
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