Revised on
01/15/16 05:22pm

Fluids Shelf Life and Use Policy


The purpose of this document is to define the policy regarding the expiration date and standards of use of bags of physiologic fluids.


“Fluids” is defined here as medical-grade physiologic fluids such as Lactated Ringers Solution, 0.9% Sodium Chloride, or similar, without dextrose or additives, in their original plastic bag. A bag has two ports for withdrawing solution; a rubber injection port that is penetrated by a hypodermic needle, and a plastic seal that is broken by the sharp end of a fluid administration set. For repeated use of fluids with dextrose or additives, please email for guidelines.


A.   The fluid bag must be discarded after the expiration date imprinted on the bag, even if the bag has not been used.

B.  Once the fluid bag has been penetrated by a needle or administration set, the date of first use must be written on the bag. It is safe to write directly on the bag with a Sharpie, or a dated label may be adhered to the bag.

C.   After the day of first use, solution withdrawn from the bag may be administered to animals by the subcutaneous or topical routes only.

D.  For repeated use of the rubber injection port,

  1. A fresh needle and syringe must be used for each withdrawal of solution.
  2. The injection port must be wiped with isopropyl alcohol before each withdrawal.
  3. If a bag has been used only for solution withdrawal through the rubber injection port, and has not been attached to a fluid administration set, it must be discarded ONE MONTH after the date of first use.

E.   For repeated use of a fluid bag with a fluid administration set attached,

  1. A fresh needle must be used for each animal.
  2. Optionally, a fresh administration line or extension set (if used) may be used for each animal.
  3. If a bag is attached to a fluid administration set, it must be discarded ONE WEEK after the date of first use.


  • Cashman S, Funk D, Wagner RA, Newsome JT. A study of fluid sterility once the seal is broken. AALAS Proceedings, November 8-12, (2009): 637.
  • Langston, James Daniel, William Patrick Monaghan, and Mellissa Bush. "The contamination of intravenous fluids by writing on the infusion bag: Fact or fiction?" International Journal of Advanced Nursing Studies 3.1 (2014): 18-19.
  • Matthews, Kristin A., and Douglas K. Taylor. "Assessment of Sterility in Fluid Bags Maintained for Chronic Use." Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science: JAALAS 50.5 (2011): 708.


Procedure: IACUC-48
Date: July 2, 2015
Enabled by: N/A
Supersedes: New