Fever in Cats: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

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As a cat owner, it’s important to learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of fever in your pet. It’s also a good idea to brush up on potential causes of fever as well treatments you and your veterinarian may want to try. In this article, you’ll find a quick breakdown of all this information and more. With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to learn the basics about fever in cats, and you’ll know how to better take care of your feline companion, too. Read on to find out more.

fever in cats

Causes

Listed below are the main causes of fevers in cats: 

Bacterial or Viral Infection

Most of the time, fevers in cats are caused by illness. These illnesses and infections can be either bacterial or viral, and they may sometimes also be fungal. Any type of infection or inflammation in the body can lead to a fever.

Insect Bites or Stings

If your cat is bitten or stung by an insect, they may experience a fever. In most cases, the fever and other symptoms will be mild and should subside in a day or so. However, if your cat is severely allergic, they may have anaphylactic reactions instead. In this case, they may run a very high fever and have a swollen face or neck. Because anaphylactic reactions can be life-threatening, it is recommended to consult with your veterinarian promptly.

Heatstroke

Heatstroke causes a rise in body temperature, which in turn leads to fever symptoms. Other signs of heatstroke include excessive drooling, rapid heart rate, weakness, and loss of consciousness. Take your cat to your veterinarian or emergency vet immediately if you suspect heatstroke.

Chronic Health Condition

Many chronic health problems can cause low-grade fevers in cats. Arthritis and other inflammatory conditions are some of the most common.

Symptoms

Listed below are the symptoms to look out for:

Warmer than Usual

If your cat has a fever, they may feel warmer than usual to the touch. However, this sign alone should not be used to diagnose a cat. There are many other causes that may contribute to a cat feeling warm, including sleeping on a warm surface.

Panting

Panting or open-mouthed breathing is uncommon in cats, and it can often be attributed to fever. It may also be related to difficulty breathing or to pain, so look for other signs to help you figure out what’s going on with your pet as well.

Lethargic

Lethargy is another symptom that is not solely related to fever. However, if you notice lethargy along with other signs on this list, then you may have a feverish cat. If lethargy seems to be the only symptom, look for other indicators that can let you know the issue.

Glassy Eyes

Glassy eyes, or overly watery eyes, may occur along with fever. This symptom is not always present with fever in cats, but it is quite common. Check your cat’s eyes to see if they look normal for them, or if they look sickly. A cat who is ill or feverish will typically have sunken or glossed-over eyes.

Treatments

Listed below are treatment methods to help your cat that has a fever:

Antibiotics

If your cat’s fever is related to a bacterial infection, your veterinarian may prescribe them some antibiotics. Even if the infection is viral, your cat may be given antibiotics to help prevent any secondary infections. Antifungals can be given in the case of a fungal infection.

Steroids

Steroids may be given to cats who are dealing with severe allergic reactions. The steroids are not intended to treat the fever, but instead to take care of the whole allergic response. Within a few days, your cat should be feeling better with the help of a round of steroids (or an injection).

Fluids

Fluids should be given if a cat is dealing with dehydration related to fever. In the case of heatstroke, this is a common treatment. However, fluids may also be given for fever-based dehydration caused by any other source, and your cat may need to stay at the vet for a few days if they are receiving IV fluids.

Rest

Finally, rest is one of the best ways for your cat to fight her fever and its underlying cause. Your veterinarian will let you know if there are any other treatments to consider, but rest will always be an important step.

Contact a Veterinarian if Your Cat Has a Fever

Based on this information, it’s easy to see why fever can be so concerning in a cat. However, if you take the time to learn the causes, symptoms, and potential treatments for fever in cats, you can help protect your pet from a wide range of potential illnesses and conditions throughout her life. If you know or suspect your cat has a fever, take her to the vet as soon as possible.

In many cases, a fever is not an emergency, but it does require your cat to be seen by a veterinarian within the next day or two. If your cat has any severe symptoms along with her fever, however, this is an emergency. For more information about fever in cats, contact Orlando Vets. Your pet’s health is very important to us, and we are always here to help.

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