2001-Sun Jan 20 04:12:39 EST 2019
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Remember when you would feel sick and your mom would place her hand on your forehead to see if you had a fever? It’s not as easy to do that with pets, thanks to their fur coats. But knowing if your pet has a fever can help ensure that he gets needed veterinary care. A high temperature can be a sign of serious illness. Here’s what you should know about fevers in dogs and cats.
An area of the brain called the hypothalamus regulates body temperature. For instance, if the body starts to get cold, the hypothalamus signals the muscles to shiver, helping the body to warm up. If the body is too warm, the hypothalamus directs blood vessels to expand to release heat from the body.
Normal body temperature for a dog or cat is between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a little higher than normal human body temperature, which is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Interestingly, puppies and kittens have a lower body temperature at birth. They typically don’t reach their minimum body temperature of 100 degrees or higher until they are about a month old.
A fever is defined as a body temperature above the normal range. For dogs and cats, a temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit is abnormal.
Infections and inflammation are common causes of fevers. Illnesses such as distemper and parvovirus in dogs and feline distemper (panleukopenia) in cats, tick-borne diseases, immune-mediated diseases, cancer and pancreatitis are just a few of the conditions that can result in a pet developing a fever. In some of these instances, the fever may have a purpose: It can be the body’s way of trying to fight off an infection.
Body temperature can also rise to dangerous levels when pets are exposed to extremely hot or humid conditions. That’s when pets get heatstroke.
Laying hands on your dog or cat won’t tell you if he has a fever but the following signs can be a clue:
If you suspect that your dog or cat has a fever, you'll need to take his temperature. Let’s face it: This isn’t going to be pleasant for either of you. It’s a good skill to have, though — knowing a pet’s temperature can help you determine if you’re facing an emergency situation. A rectal reading is most accurate but least “prefurred” by pets. There are a few strategies, though, that can help you and your pet get through it with minimal stress.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.