Hypothermia is a medical condition that is specified as below-normal body temperature. It has three stages: mild, moderate, and severe. Mild hypothermia is categorized as a body temperature of 90 – 99°F (or 32 – 35°C), moderate hypothermia at 82 – 90°F (28 – 32°C), and severe hypothermia is any temperature less than 82°F (28°C). Hypothermia takes place when an animal’s body is not able to preserve normal temperature, causing a depression of the main nerve system (CNS). It might also affect heart and blood circulation (cardiovascular), breathing (respiratory), and the immune system. An irregular heart beat, problem breathing, and impaired awareness to the point of coma might result.
What Is a Cat’s Normal Body Temperature
A cat’s normal body temperature can range from 100.5 to 102.5 degrees. Due to the fact that 101.5 degrees is right in the middle, it’s often described as a “normal” body temperature. Being that their body temperature is higher than ours, they can likewise endure greater temperatures (supplied they have access to water).
Signs of Hypothermia in Cats
Hypothermia symptoms differ with the level of severity. Mild hypothermia is evident through weak point, shivering, and lack of psychological alertness. Moderate hypothermia exposes qualities such as muscle stiffness, low blood pressure, a stupor-like state, and shallow, slow breathing. Characteristics of severe hypothermia are repaired and dilated pupils, inaudible heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and coma.
Causes of Low Body Temperature in Cats
Hypothermia typically happens in cold temperatures, although newborns may suffer hypothermia in normal environmental temperature levels due to lack of temperature. Smaller breeds and extremely young animals more susceptible to quick surface loss of temperature are at greater risk also, as are old (geriatric) pets. Animals under anesthesia are also at higher risk.
Other elements that might increase risk are illness of the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that manages appetite and body temperature, and hypothyroidism, a condition identified by low levels of the thyroid hormonal agent in the body.
How Is Low Body Temperature in Cats Diagnosed
If hypothermia is believed, your cat’s body temperature will be measured with a thermometer, or in severe cases, a rectal or esophageal probe. Irregularities in breathing and heartbeat will likewise be inspected. An electrocardiogram (ECG), which records the electrical activity of the heart, can be used to determine your feline’s cardiovascular status.
A urinalysis, in addition to blood tests, is typically used to detect alternative causes for listed below normal body temperature and unresponsiveness. These tests may reveal low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia), metabolic conditions, primary heart (cardiac) disease. Blood and urine tests may likewise find unidentified anesthetics or sedatives in your cat’s system.
Treatment for Hypothermia in Cats
Hypothermic animals are actively dealt with up until a normal body temperature has been reached. Movement ought to be reduced, both to prevent further heat loss and to prvent a possibly lethal irregular heart beat (cardiac arrhythmia) while the cat is being warmed. During re-warming, a preliminary drop in body temperature can be anticipated, as contact is made between warmer “core” blood and the cold body surface area.
Mild hypothermia might be treated passively, with thermal insulation and blankets to prevent additional heat loss, while moderate hypothermia needs active external re-warming. This includes making use of external heat sources, such as radiant heat or heating pads, which are used to the animal’s torso to warm its “core.” A protective layer should be placed in between the patient’s skin and the heat source to prevent burns. For severe hypothermia, invasive core warming is needed, such as the administration of warm water enemas and warm intravenous (IV) fluids.
Further essential treatments, specifically for severe hypothermia, consist of breathing helps, such as oxygen, which may be administered with a face mask, and IV fluids for blood volume support. Any fluids ought to be warmed first, to avoid more heat loss.
Living and Management
Throughout treatment, your feline’s body temperature, blood pressure, and heart beat needs to be monitored. It is likewise crucial to check for frostbite, another risk that may develop in cold temperatures.
Cat’s Hypothermia Prevention
Hypothermia can be prevented by avoiding extended exposure to cold temperature levels. This is especially important for at-risk animals. Factors that increase an animal’s risk for hypothermia include extremely young or old age, low body fat, hypothalamic disease or hypothyroidism, and previous anesthesia and surgery.
Ill or newborn animals with low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) are at risk for hypothermia even in normal environments. Long-term care may be required, such as incubation to keep the body temperature stable. To prevent hypothermia in anesthetized animals, the patient should be kept warm and its body temperature kept track of after surgery.