Fever, an increase in body temperature, is a common symptom in veterinary medicine. Normally, the temperature of the cat oscillates between 38 ° and 39 °. Beyond that, the animal is feverish; he often refuses to move and eat, and may present with different symptoms depending on the initial condition.
A grumpy, listless cat? What if Minou had a fever? How to detect fever in my cat and how to treat it? Is that bad ? Can we give the same medicines as to children (No!)? When the mercury rises, what to do? Wamiz tells you everything.
What is a cat’s normal temperature?
Mammals are homeothermic animals; that is to say that they are warm-blooded and regulate their body temperature thanks to a kind of thermostat located in the brain (more exactly in a gland called the hypothalamus), and this, whatever the outside temperature.
In cats, the normal body temperature is around 38 ° 5. This is also the case with dog. This is higher than in humans whose internal temperature is 37 °. A small 39 ° in cats is therefore not alarming; it’s like a child has 37 ° 5.
Below this standard value, we speak of hypothermia. This can occur when staying in ice water for example or after anesthesia. Above it is hyperthermia. The heat stored by the body of the cat exceeds its regulatory capacities, it is the heatstroke of the animal locked in a car in direct sunlight.
Fever is also an increase in body temperature, but it is caused by a different mechanism. During fever in cats, the brain shifts its thermostat upwards, generally between 39 ° to 40.5 °. Most frequently, the fever is initiated by exogenous pyrogenic substances (bacteria, virus, parasites or their products). It is a defense mechanism. The fever is dangerous for the cat only when it is very high (above 41 °) or if it is very young.
How do I know if my cat has a fever?
Fever is a symptom. In cats, it essentially results in depression. The animal is “soft”, refuses to move and eat. It can be found “hot” by stroking it, but this sign is quite subjective.
Often the fever is associated with other symptoms arising from the initial illness: sneezing in case of coryza, subcutaneous mass in case of abscess, vomiting and diarrhea in case of gastroenteritis, abdominal pain in case of pancreatitis…
But the only way to confirm that your cat has a fever is to take the correct old temperature measurement …
How do I take my cat’s temperature?
In cats, there is no validated device to take the temperature via the forehead or the ears. It is therefore necessary to resort to the ancestral taking of rectal temperature. This technique requires softness and a little material.
You should preferably have a pediatric thermometer, thinner and with a flexible tip. Coat the end with petroleum jelly, or, failing that, moisturizer. The thermometer must then be inserted into the cat’s anus for at least 1 cm. If the appliance is not pushed in enough, the temperature may be too low. Be careful, even weakened, a cat does not always appreciate this manipulation; it may be safe to ask for help.
What causes fever in cats?
Fever is a symptom, a defense mechanism of the body. It is important to look for the underlying disease responsible for the febrile attacks.
The main causes of fever in cats are:
Mild infections are usually responsible for acute fever lasting a few days while some viruses (Felv, IVF, PIF), inflammatory diseases (pemphigus for example) or tumors give chronic or recurrent hyperthermia.
In cats that go out, bites between congeners are a common cause of feverish peak.
A cat that has just been operated on may also develop a little fever due to the inflammatory reaction due to the surgery.
How to treat a fever in cats?
It is important not to self-medicate to treat a cat’s fever. Paracetamol generally prescribed for humans is extremely toxic to cats. One 500 mg tablet of Doliprane® is fatal to a feline. Even pediatric forms are to be avoided.
Antibiotics should also not be administered without medical advice. In case of fever, the best is to go to your veterinarian who can make a diagnosis and deliver you antipyretic drugs suitable for the cat. In the event of relapsing fever, hospitalization for further examinations may be proposed.
Note that the vaccination against the typhus, coryza and leucosis (Felv) helps protect your little companion from three serious diseases responsible for fever in cats.