Dogs and cats fever treatment

Treating fever in dogs and cats

If a definitive diagnosis of fever is obtained, a specific treatment for fever in dogs and cats should be initiated. The problem arises if the clinician cannot arrive at a definitive diagnosis. In these patients, changes in the complete blood count (CBC) usually are the only clinicopathologic abnormality.

That is, results of bacterial or fungal cultures, serologic tests, PCR, imaging studies are negative or normal. If the patient has already been treated with a broadspectrum bactericidal antibiotic, a therapeutic trial of immunosuppressive doses of corticosteroids is warranted. However, before one institutes immunosuppressive fever treatment in dogs and cats, the owners should be informed of the potential consequences of this approach, primarily that a dog or cat with an undiagnosed infectious disease may die as a result of systemic dissemination of the organism after a start of treatment.

Dogs and cats undergoing a therapeutic trial of corticosteroids should be kept in the hospital and monitored frequently for worsening of clinical signs, in which case steroid therapy should be discontinued. In patients with immune-mediated (or steroid-responsive) fever, the pyrexia and clinical signs usually resolve within 24 to 48 hours of the start of treatment. If no response to corticosteroids is observed, two courses of action remain to treat fever in dogs and cats.

In one, the patient can be released and given antipyretic drugs such as aspirin (10 to 25mg/kg in dogs and 10 mg/kg in cats), and then returned to the clinic for a complete reevaluation in 1 to 2 weeks. Antipyretics should be used with caution, however, because fever is a protective mechanism, and lowering the body temperature may be detrimental in an animal with an infectious disease.

Moreover, drugs such as dipyrone and flunixin (Banamine), can result in marked hypothermia, which may have adverse effects. It should also be remembered that most non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs have ulcerogenic effects, can cause cytopenias, and may result in tubular nephropathy if the patient becomes dehydrated or receives other nephrotoxic drugs. The second course of action is to continue the trial of antibiotics using a combination of bacterial drugs (e.g., ampicillin and enrofloxacin) for a minimum of 5 to 7 days.

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