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What is Fever?

Fever refers to an abnormally high body temperature. The normal body temperature in dogs is between 101 and 102.5º Fahrenheit (38.3-39.2º Celsius). Temperatures at 103ºF (39.4ºC) or above are considered a fever. High body temperature can be caused by infection, environmental heat, or excessive exercise. A body temperature of 106ºF (41.1ºC) or above can be life-threatening and should be treated as a medical emergency. Pyrexia is more commonly known as fever, and may be mild, like what is seen at the onset of a viral infection (i.e. human cold), or severe, causing seizures or organ shut down. Temperatures above 103F are considered to be a fever, as dogs average between 100.5 - 102.5 degrees.

Fever Average Cost

From 205 quotes ranging from $300 - $8,000

Average Cost

$1,000

Symptoms of Fever in Dogs

Although your pet can have a fever with no symptoms, some symptoms are often present with a fever, including:

  • Lethargy
  • Shivering
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dehydration
  • Panting
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Nasal Discharge
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Causes of Fever in Dogs

Causes of high temperature in dogs can include:

  • Infection

    – The body is designed to increase in temperature when infection is present. Many bacteria, viruses and fungi are heat sensitive and cannot survive at the higher body temperature.

  • Inflammation/allergic response

    – Fever can be associated with these.

  • Toxins

    – Consuming come poison materials may result in fever.

  • Medication

    – Some medications may elevate body temperature

  • Vaccination

    – As with infection, the body’s immune system will often respond to vaccination with a low grade fever. This fever may last up to 48 hours after vaccination.

  • Fever of Unknown Origin

    – Sometimes the cause of fever cannot be determined. This is often the case with immune system abnormalities, blood and bone marrow disorders and cancer.

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Diagnosis of Fever in Dogs

In order to determine your pet’s body temperature, you will need a thermometer. Digital thermometers that are specifically designed for rectal use are available at most pet stores. Human thermometers are not designed to measure the higher body temperature of dogs and are not as accurate.

To take rectal temperature, rub a bit of baby oil, vegetable oil or petroleum jelly on the end for lubricant. Gently insert the thermometer one inch into the anus. Wait for the thermometer to signal it is finished reading.

The veterinarian will need a history of the pet’s symptoms, any medications, recent events and any allergies. A physical examination will look for swollen lymph nodes, abdominal swelling, pain in the joints, and other signs of infection or systemic abnormalities.

Laboratory diagnostics that can be useful in determining cause of fever include a complete blood cell count, biochemistry profile and urinalysis. These tests examine the function of the metabolic and endocrine systems and can indicate infections or other causes of elevate body temperature.

Radiographs can identify abnormalities in organ systems, cancer, or infections.

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Treatment of Fever in Dogs

If your pet has a fever greater than 103ºF (39.4ºC) you will need to have a veterinarian examine him. A body temperature at or above 106ºF (41.1ºC) should be considered a medical emergency.

You can help bring your pets temperature down by wiping his paw pads and ears with a cool wet washcloth. You may also wrap ice packs in a towel and place it against his chest and abdomen. A fan to supply cool air is useful as well.

Never treat your dog with human medicines without the instruction of a veterinarian. Aspirin and acetaminophen are toxic to dogs.

Your veterinarian will use the information gathered from the pet’s history, physical examination and diagnostic tests to decide the course of treatment. Intravenous fluids will aid in hydration and electrolyte balance. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat infection. In some cases, additional medications and/or surgery may be required to treat the underlying condition.

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Recovery of Fever in Dogs

Be sure to monitor your pet’s temperature at home and report any increase in body temperature or failure of the pet to respond to treatment to your veterinarian. Follow the instructions for treatment and medication administration carefully. Be sure your pet is getting adequate water, food and rest. If possible, keep your pet separate from children and other pets while he rests and recovers.

Never treat fever with human drugs unless directed by your veterinarian. Home treatment for fever can worsen the condition or lead to life-threatening conditions.

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Fever Average Cost

From 205 quotes ranging from $300 - $8,000

Average Cost

$1,000

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Fever Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Golden Retriever

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Four Months

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Fever

My golden retriever suddenly had fever, started maybe 2 days ago. July 30, he was completely fine. Very energetic and played throughout the day because he had a lot of fun entertaining our guests because there was a party at our house. Few days later he started vomiting his food. His vomit was solid food and not liquid. Then the next day he started having fever up until now. I keep applying cold water on his fur to keep him cool his temp would go down maybe 1 degree lower and would go up high again. What to do? We cant go to the vet because we're far away from the city and its hard bc of corona

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Without knowing more about your dog, I'm not sure what you can do to help at home, unfortunately. Dogs have a higher body temperature than people, and 102.5 is a normal temperature for a dog. I'm not sure what your pups' temperature is. If he is not feeling good otherwise, is not eating or is continuing to vomit, then he does need to see a veterinarian. If he is eating and not vomiting, he may be okay. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 3, 2020

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American Staffordshire Terrier

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Fever

My dog has a fever of 104.8, but she's not dehydrated, she's eating, playful, all normal behavior. Just the fever. It was 93°F here today and 89°F yesterday. She got heat stroke 2 summers ago but showing no other symptoms

July 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If she is acting normally otherwise, it may be a good idea to keep her in air conditioning or a cooler environment for a few hours and recheck her temperature. If she becomes lethargic, or stars vomiting or having diarrhea, then having her seen right away by a veterinarian would be best. I hope that she is okay!

July 21, 2020

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American Staffordshire Terrier

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Fever

My dog has a fever of 104.8, but she's not dehydrated, she's eating, playful, all normal behavior. Just the fever. It was 93°F here today and 89°F yesterday. She got heat stroke 2 summers ago but showing no other symptoms

July 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If she is acting normally otherwise, it may be a good idea to keep her in air conditioning or a cooler environment for a few hours and recheck her temperature. If she becomes lethargic, or stars vomiting or having diarrhea, then having her seen right away by a veterinarian would be best. I hope that she is okay!

July 21, 2020

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American Staffordshire Terrier

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Fever

My dog has a fever of 104.8, but she's not dehydrated, she's eating, playful, all normal behavior. Just the fever. It was 93°F here today and 89°F yesterday. She got heat stroke 2 summers ago but showing no other symptoms

July 21, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If she is acting normally otherwise, it may be a good idea to keep her in air conditioning or a cooler environment for a few hours and recheck her temperature. If she becomes lethargic, or stars vomiting or having diarrhea, then having her seen right away by a veterinarian would be best. I hope that she is okay!

July 21, 2020

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Japanese Spitz

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Four Months

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Fever Vomit

Hi. I am having hard time to bring my puppies to the vet as there is no near clinic in our place and no transportation. And I am really worried because 2 of them which I isolate already were having fever for 2 days now and vomiting for atleast once a day.. What common medicine can I give which I can buy in drugstores so I can help my puppies. Please reply. Thank you.

July 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

At 4 months, we worry very much about Parvo virus. They really do need to be seen by a veterinarian. If you have no veterinary care available, you can try giving them Peidalyte to keep them hydrated, but that may not be enough to save them, and they probably need veterinary care. I hope that they are okay.

July 15, 2020

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Arya

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Hound Dog

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Fever
Lethargy
Panting

My dog is having a fever and is lethargic, she was good on monday but that night my dad yelled and hit her. Something I am not for.Her fever is 103 and she has no other symptoms of anything serious, she has an appetite and is drinking water. She is panting when I wake up but I cover her in an old wet shirt and that seems to get her up. Does anyone know what I could do because I do not think she is seriously sick.

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Cotton

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German Shepherd / Catahoula

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7 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Fever
Lethargic
Shivering
Sounds Rumbly When He Breathes

My dog stopped eating and was laying around like a lump. Took him to the vet and they can't find anything wrong with his blood work and heart worm test came back negative. Yet when I took him home they said his temperature was 103.3. They gave him antibiotics and a pain medicine since he is having trouble getting around for unknown reasons. It's been two days. Shouldn't he have improved a bit by now? He will eat if you bring it to him, but he does not want to get up off his bed for anything.

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Dozer and Jager

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Beagle

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Fever,Soars, Loss Of Appetite

I have two beagles. One is 8 yrs old, the other 4. One day, my 8 yr old developed a fever, shaking, lethargic, loss of appetite. The next day it affected my 4 yr old. Both dogs would cry in pain if I touched their back. After about a week of being quite sick, the symptoms began to fade but I noticed my 8 yr old had soars all over his back where it seemed tender to touch them and his fur fell out where the soars were. they were mainly on his lower back, some on his hips and tail and my 4 yr old beagle had them as well although not as bad but his illness was not as bad either. The vets had no idea what caused this. Any ideas anyone ever hear of this?

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Ronin

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Pitbull mix

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6 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Fever
Lethargy
Shivering
Wont Eat

Six month old Pit/Rott mix. Three weeks ago he had a back leg amputated due to 9 breaks in the femur (we found him that way). He was fine yesterday during the day, but last night he became lethargic, and then started with 'the shivers'. He ate dinner before this happened, but this morning he won't eat or drink. No diarrhea or vomitting, no coughing or discharge. He might have minor swelling in his remaining back leg and in his stump, but hard to tell. Very lethargic and not his normal self. At the vet his temp was 105.4, he has elevated white blood cell count and slight decrese in liver function, but no other abnormalities. He did try to drink stagnant water in the back yard, so I'm worried it could potentially be Leptospirosis. The vet is running tests and hes there on IV and antibiotics, but I wanted to share the experience and see if there was any additional insight. We've already spent well over 4K on this sweet puppy with all his shots and surgeries, and I'd hate so much to lose this sweet boy so soon after. We did give him a gabapentin last night (left over from surgery), when we thought he might be in pain.

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Saint

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Pit Bull/American bulldog

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10 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Fever
Lethargy
Loss Of Appetite
Loss Of Appetitej

So my 18-year-old pitbull American bulldog mix was sick for almost 2 weeks straight. He wouldn’t eat and was only drinking about half as much as normal. He was also having trouble passing his bowels and was running fever. I took him to our vet and they did blood test which came back normal except for an elevated white blood cell count. The doctor, with no visual signs of an infection couldn’t really say for sure what type of infection it could be. He is up to date on all of his shots and heartworm medicine. After prescribing him anabiotic‘s and a pain medication I believe for 10 days he was still not acting 100% like normal I made a appointment to take him back to the vet this past Friday. When I got home from work on last Thursday he was back to normalRunning and greeting me at the door again appetite was back and his fever was gone so here we are five days later and he is beginning to show symptoms of a fever and lethargy again I just don’t know what to do I can’t afford another vet visit at the moment I just dont know what to do

Fever Average Cost

From 205 quotes ranging from $300 - $8,000

Average Cost

$1,000

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