Dog Fever Diagnosis

Dog fever is elevated body temperature that's often a response to internal infection or bacteria. The increase in temperature usually kills certain bacteria present in the body. However, temperature that lies between 105 and 106 degrees F is considered dangerous, and pet owners should seek immediate medical help. Although owners can detect changes in behavior that include reduced playfulness, lethargy and depression, dog fever often goes undetected until a rectal temperature reading is taken.

Taking Body Temperature in Dogs

The normal rectal temperature in healthy pets lies between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees F. Although formerly pet owners would touch the dog's nose to determine body temperature, the most accurate temperature reading is obtained with a rectal thermometer. There are also several newer ear thermometers that provide quick and accurate readings. Normal ear temperature in dogs lies between 100 and 103 degrees F.

Diagnosis of Dog Fever

There are various factors that cause fever in pets. The most common cause is associated with bacterial or viral infection. Internal tumors and immune disorders can also cause an increase in body temperature. To determine the underlying cause of fever, the vet will perform diagnostic tests that include a complete blood count test. This will detect any abnormalities present in the various components of blood. In addition, a blood chemistry profile test will determine internal organ abnormalities. After evaluation of the blood reports, the pet may have to undergo an x-ray, ultrasound and fine needle aspirate test to rule out underlying health concerns.

Other Diagnostic Tests Include:

  • Fecal examination
  • Urine analysis
  • Antibody tests
  • Biopsy

Treatment of Dog Fever

The medication prescribed for fever varies according to the health concern diagnosed. The vet will also adjust the medication after initial response to treatment. Oral medication such as antibiotics is necessary to kill strains of bacteria. Pets that don't respond favorably to antibiotic medication are subjected to further diagnostic tests. Pet owners should administer prescribed medication according to vet instructions and avoid abrupt discontinuation of the drugs to prevent a relapse. Commonly used antibiotic formulations include zeniquin, baytril and amoxicillin. Penicillin based drugs are also prescribed to kill susceptible strains of bacteria.

Other Treatment Options

If the diagnosis reveals tumors or lymphosarcoma, the dog will be given chemotherapy medication and radiation therapy to reduce disease progression. Surgical removal of the tumor may be necessary. Pet owners should prevent the use of over the counter drugs to treat fever, as it's essential to detect the underlying cause of elevated body temperature. Pets suffering from fever due to a viral infection require adequate home care and attention.

Home Care

Dogs should be kept in a warm and comfortable environment and prevented from roaming outdoors. High quality nutritious food and water should be made available. It's also best to take note of temperature readings at intervals and seek vet help if the pet's condition deteriorates.

Since fever is easily transmitted to pets lodged in boarding facilities, it's important to vaccinate dogs regularly to keep infections at bay.