In the absence of obvious signs, fever in dogs usually goes undetected as the normal body temperature of canines is higher than that of humans.
In humans, a body temperature in the range of 97.6°F to 99.6°F is considered normal. In dogs, however, normal body temperature is in the range of 101°F and 102.5°F. This difference forms the basis of all the confusion that eventually results in misdiagnoses of fever in dogs. Poor Rover! He can’t even tell his owner he is down with a fever. So, it is all up to Rover’s master to understand the symptoms and take care of the dog’s health.
In dogs, a spike in body temperature can be caused as a result of …
- An underlying infection
- Immune system disorders
- Reaction to drugs
- Idiopathic (for which the cause is unknown)
Here are some symptoms that an owner should watch out for.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Decrease in physical activity
- Coughing and sneezing
- Discharge from eyes, nose, or ears
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of weight (despite eating)
- Excessive thirst
- Fainting spells
- Hot and prolonged panting
- Increase or decrease in appetite for more than 24 hours
- Loss of balance while walking
- Red or swollen gums
- Increase in pulse rate
- Rough or dull coat
- Excessive pawing or scratching of eyes and ears
- Excessive sleeping
- Frequent urination
- Watery eyes
- Whining for no reason
- Most important of all, body temperature above 103°F
A dog suffering from fever would prefer being left alone and hide in the house. If you notice similar behavior in your dog, you should consult a veterinarian. Tick fever is a matter of concern, especially if you live in region where tick infestations are commonplace. In this case, the symptoms will include breathing trouble, swollen lymph glands, lack of appetite, and low energy. The dog may even experience sudden nosebleed or have bloody stools. The color of urine―especially in male dogs―is brown in color. The temperature will be as high as 104°F.
Another life-threatening condition that plagues dogs―females to be precise―is eclampsia or milk fever. It is typically characterized by symptoms like stiffness, nervousness, restlessness, and loss of interest in puppies. She may have a rapid heart rate and, in severe cases, may also suffer from muscle spasms or seizures.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from fever, you should immediately consult a veterinarian. The veterinarian will look for infections, cuts, tumors, etc. He will also carry out tests to determine parasitic infections and organ functions. After a thorough diagnosis, the vet will prescribe antibiotics, like amoxicillin, ampicillin, cephalexin, or ketoprofen, to reduce fever. In case of milk fever, the vet will recommend 10% calcium gluconate solution, which will be given intravenously.
Prevention, they say, is better than cure. You will have to take proper care of your pet dog, if you are to keep fever at bay. You will have to feed him healthy food and take him to the vet for regular check ups. If you see anything strange with regard to the dog’s behavior, you should make it a point to investigate it.
Dogs are dependent on owners for their basic needs, which includes health. They may not be able to speak, but they will definitely show signs of ill-health, and you as an alert owner are expected to quickly catch these signs and take corrective action.