What The Hep?

February 2, 2018

Heparin is a substance naturally found in mast cells, which are part of the body's inflammatory system. Heparin is used to treat diseases associated with blood clotting such as intravascular coagulation and thromboembolic disease in dogs and cats.


Heparin blocks the formation of clotting factors and blood clots however it does not break down clots that have already formed.


You can use Heparin as a flush for when placing i/v catheters.


Heparin, like all drugs, can have some side effects in some animals and those that are sensitive to this drug, should not be offered Heparin.


Animals that have a low platelet count or have uncontrollable bleeding should avoid Heparin.

Another side effect is bleeding as Heparin affects the body’s ability to clot blood


Heparin is given s/c or i/v. Heparin should not be given i/m as it can result in bleeding and bruising of the muscle. Heparin should not be given orally as it is not well absorbed.


You can reverse the effect of Heparin with Protamine


In animals receiving high doses of heparin for extended periods of time, kidney damage may occur.


Once you place the catheter, you can then use Heparin as a flush to prevent the catheter from clotting.


So if you see some syringes made up as flush with the words Heparin on them, you now know what it is and what it is used for.



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