Dog Fever: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments | Cloud 9 Vets

Dog Fever: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

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Dog Fever

Dog fever means that your dog has a higher than normal dog body temperature. A temperature of more than 39.44 degrees Celsius (103 degrees Fahrenheit) is considered a high temperature in dogs. What should a dog’s temperature be? The normal dog temperature is between 38.33 and 39.16 degrees Celsius (101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit).

When dogs have high temperatures, the condition is called hyperthermia. And it can go undetected for quite a while. Thinking that a hot and dry nose indicates a fever is often untrue. The only accurate way to take your dog’s temperature is by using a digital thermometer designed for rectal use.

Dog Fever

Taking Your Dog’s Temperature

How to tell if a dog has a high temperature is made simple by following the guide on how to take a dog’s temperature here:

Coat the thermometer with lubricant – you can use petroleum gel or baby oil

Gently insert the thermometer into the anus – about an inch will give an accurate reading

Listen for the beep when the registration is complete – and remove the thermometer

Check the reading – and make a vet’s appointment as necessary. Or ask your vet to carry out the procedure for you if you have any concerns.

Need to know more about dog fever: causes, symptoms, and treatments? Read on…

Dog Fever

Dog Fever Causes

Internal and external infections and inflammations can produce a fever in dogs. Other causes consist of:

  • Infected bites, scratches, or cuts – redness, pain, swelling, and inflammation at the site of the bite
  • Ear infections – abnormal odours from the ears as well as scratching, rubbing, and head-shaking
  • Abscessed teeth – swelling and redness around the gums and swollen tissue below the eye
  • Auto-immune illnesses – with muscle weakness and abdominal pain
  • Inflammatory conditions – an increase in temperature when infection is present
  • Tick-borne diseases – canine ehrlichiosis is the most common and dangerous organisms known to infect dogs
  • Metabolic or endocrine disorders – syndromes include obesity, insulin resistance, and hypertension
  • Drugs or toxins – excessive salivation and vomiting can quickly increase to severe liver disease and neurological disorders
  • Tumours – your dog’s abdomen may become bloated and distended with an abnormal amount of discharge


Dog Fever

Dog Fever Symptoms

There is a range of common warning signs that indicate your dog may have a fever and these include:

  • High dog temperature
  • Lethargy and lack of interest and energy
  • General weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Red eyes
  • Shivering
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting and digestive distress
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Dehydration

Knowing how to bring down a dog’s fever initially can be beneficial. Find a cool resting place in the shade or in the corner of a room. Provide plenty of clean drinking water. And listen for panting that helps regulate cooler air within your dog’s lungs. A damp towel soaked in cool water will help decrease temperature when placed around paws and ears. A fan placed appropriately will also keep cool air circulating.

Dog’s are unable to sweat like we do, so don’t smother your pet with blankets. If your dog is showing any of the above signs you should contact your vet as soon as possible.

Dog Fever

Dog Fever Diagnosis

Your vet will need to determine the cause of the fever. You can help by providing a medical history. When your vet knows your dog, this makes it easier to decide if your dog is behaving abnormally. Before the physical examination your vet will discuss:

  • Recent vaccinations – systemic reactions can cause fever which usually disappears within one or two days
  • Allergies – allergic reactions can cause inflammation to the lining of the nose and in the eyes, and subsequent fever
  • Insect bites – these can lead to swellings, increased heart rate and fever which can cause your dog to go into shock
  • Infectious contacts – distemper, parvo, influenza, and fungal infections may all cause fever alongside other symptoms
  • Previous illnesses and surgery – fever following surgery is a common complication

To identify underlying diseases the following tests will be carried out:

  • A complete blood count – a common blood test used to measure and evaluate cells that circulate in the blood
  • Biochemistry profile – to assess the function of internal organs and to measure electrolytes and enzyme levels
  • Urinalysis – to check the overall health of urinary tract, kidneys, and bladder function
  • Culture and sensitivity – to identify the specific disease-causing organism
  • Radiographs – to eliminate infections, abscesses, and tumours
  • Ultrasounds – to examine abdominal and reproductive organs, heart, and eyes
  • Endoscopy – to determine internal infections or obstructions
  • Echocardiograph – to evaluate the health and structures of the heart


Dog Fever

Dog Fever Treatments

Can you give paracetamol to dogs? Absolutely not. It can be toxic and even fatal in small dogs. If you suspect that your dog has eaten paracetamol tablets you need to seek vet help immediately as kidney and liver failure can happen form paracetamol poisoning.

After the final diagnosis has been made you vet will treat your dog appropriately. If the fever is of unknown origin (FUO) this can be extensive and invasive. And may take your dog weeks or months to recover.

The most common treatment is dog anti-biotics given alongside fluid therapy. Your dog will need plenty of rest. And a diet high in calories and nutrition to aid recovery. You may be asked to give a high-calorie liquid supplement if your dog isn’t well enough to eat normally.

Surgery may be needed for removal of infection sources. And for tumours. The possibilities for treatment depend on the exact location and how far it has spread.

Surgery may initially relieve the symptoms, but the risk of recurrence may remain.

Dog Fever

End of Life Care Home Visit Vets

When dog euthanasia is the kindest option, you’ll need the advice and support of your vet. And you may want to tenderly put your dog to sleep in the familiar and comfortable surroundings of your own home. Home-visit vets will explain this procedure and answer all of your questions.
When you’re ready a gentle sedative will be given to your dog. And a peaceful sleep will follow. The anaesthetic agent will cause the heart to slow and softly stop. Once you’ve said your goodbyes all aftercare arrangements can then be made by your vet.

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