How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr.Fiona Your Own Question

Dr.Fiona
Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
Type Your Cat Veterinary Question Here...
Dr.Fiona is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My cat is running a fever, lethargic, not himself. What can

Customer Question

My cat is running a fever, lethargic, not himself. What can I do to lower his temp ?

Joei
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!




I would like to help you and your cat with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

When did this start?

Have you taken a rectal temperature? or does he feel hot?

Is he indoors only or does he go outside?

Fiona

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He is mostly indoors, but has been insisting on eating dirt from my potted plants even though I stop him.

I don't have a thermometer, but his ears are very hot to the touch, when I laid him on my lap he radiates heat.

I think this actually began Thursday evening. He was not trying to get in my lap

Friday, but I thought he was just on the porch. Around 8pm I realized he was curled up behind my recliner. I talked to my vet Saturday morning, but I didn't think he was running fever then. She said laxatone wouldn't hurt him and might help. He feels like he has eaten, but I haven't seen him eat anything today.

Joei

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.
Joei,

Is there any area on his body where he seems swollen or tender?

Any vomiting or diarrhea?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
<p>No vomiting. I saw him go to his cat box to poop late yesterday and it looked pretty normal. He has had two doses of laxitone, but not sure he's gone to the bathroom any more, but no diarehhea. I ran my hand over him and gently pushed on his abdomen, ran my hands down his legs and tail. He didn't act like I hurt him, but he's laying with his legs and feet all tucked in and not moving more than he has to. </p><p>I just lifted him up and he didn't act like I hurt him, but not like he liked me doing it. I didn't feel any swelling, there are no lumps, and I didn't feel any swollen glands. </p>
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.

Joei,

The name we give to the problem your cat has is "Fever of Unknown Origin." Basically, this is a catch-all phrase to indicate that we have not yet diagnosed the underlying problem.



Before I go over the things that might be causing this fever, I want to mention that there are NO human pain killers or fever reducers that you would have at home that are safe to give a cat. Aspirin, acetaminophen (paracetamol) and ibuprofen are all very toxic to cats and should never be given! You can read more about them here:


http://www.petplace.com/cats/aspirin-toxicity-in-cats/page1.aspx

http://www.petplace.com/cats/acetaminophen-toxicity-in-cats/page1.aspx

http://www.petplace.com/cats/ibuprofen-toxicity-in-cats/page1.aspx


Now, if your cat were on his way in to see me, the things that I would be checking him for would be:

1. A cat bite wound

This is BY FAR the most common cause of a fever in cats!

What happens with a cat bite wound is that there are 2 puncture holes - one caused by the upper and one by the lower canine tooth. The cat's teeth have a lot of bacteria on them, and these bacteria get placed deep below the skin when the bite occurs.

The hole is small and quickly scabs over, leaving the bacteria below there.


The most common type of bacteria in the cat mouth is Pasteurella multocida - and it LOVES to grow in a warm, moist environment that has no oxygen present. And that is exactly what you have with a bite wound!

So, the bacteria multiply, and the body sends in white blood cells to fight the infection, and soon you have a big pocket of pus and bacteria: an abscess! The abscess grows bigger until it ruptures and the pus pours out. This relieves the pressure and allows the hole to close over which then allows the process to start again.


If you boy were bitten, he might be very sore, and would have a high fever. It can be very hard to find the bite wounds if they are covered by fur. This should respond to antibiotics.

Here is more information:

http://www.petplace.com/cats/abscess-in-cats/page1.aspx

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=361

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=2023&articleid=2968





2. Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a devastating virus for which there is no cure once cats are exposed.

If your boy is vaccinated for this, then do not worry any further about it!

Transmission occurs through infected saliva; bites by or sharing bowls with infected cats may infect other cats within the household. Symptoms are numerous including fever, frequent infections, weight loss, depression, decreased appetite, and swollen lymph nodes.

Prevalence of the disease is worldwide with locally high numbers of incidence possible in infected groups of feral cats.


Blood tests can identify infection. Supportive care is the only option for treating cats positive for feline leukemia; prevention is the therefore the best solution. Cats should be tested and vaccinated if owners intend to allow them outside.

If owners are intending to keep cats indoors with no potential for exposure to cats outside of the household, cats need not be vaccinated against feline leukemia.

However, an initial blood test upon bringing a new kitten or cat into the household is recommended to identify whether the cat is carrying the virus.





3. Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is another serious and destructive virus.

The disease is most commonly seen in facilities housing large numbers cats, such as catteries and animal shelters. Transmission occurs when a cat comes into contact with an infected cat's bodily secretions, primarily saliva and feces. Unfortunately, the virus can survive a long time outside of the body and can remain a source of infection on a dirty food bowl or litter pan. Initial symptoms include upper respiratory problems, depression, and weight loss. Two types of the disease are recognized. "Wet" type FIP-infected cats appear with large "pot-bellied" abdomens that are actually filled with fluid, eventually leaving the cat struggling to breathe. "Dry" type FIP-infected cats have minimal fluid accumulation and exhibit weight loss, depression, anemia, and fever.

Unfortunately, FIP is hard to diagnose as test results are unreliable; by the time symptoms are identified as likely resulting from FIP, the disease has already significantly progressed. The only way to care for an FIP-positive cat is to provide supportive care based upon the symptoms. A vaccine does exist for this virus but is quite controversial and is not frequently used. The best prevention is to minimize a cat's possibilities of exposure.




4. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is yet again, a seriously destructive and fatal virus for which there is no cure.

FIV exists throughout the country and is transmitted through bite wounds. There is no standard vaccine to prevent FIV. Once the virus infects a cat, the cat may live a relatively normal life for many years. Since the virus affects the immune system of the cat, the cat is less able to fight off infections of any sort and will require supportive care as needed. Symptoms include fever, recurring infections and illnesses, weakness, depression, and weight loss. Prevention is best achieved through minimizing potential exposure to potential carriers. FIV-positive cats hospitalized should be treated similarly as cats carrying FeLV or FIP. Never allow direct contact with other cats and practice good hygiene and disinfecting practices. There is currently no known correlation between FIV and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).


5. Infection elsewhere in the body - your boy could have an infection in the area of his pancreas or bile ducts, which can occur for no known reason.

He may start showing signs of nausea or vomiting if this is the case. Blood work and x-rays aid in diagnosis. It sounds like your vet has already looked for this.


6. Toxoplasmosis - this is caused by a parasite that cats can get from their mother, or from eating mice or birds. The common symptoms are fever, depression and loss of appetite. It responds to antibiotics.

For more information, see:

http://www.petplace.com/cats/toxoplasmosis-in-cats/page1.aspx


7. Hemobartonella - this is a parasite that affects the red blood cells and causes fever and weakness. It can be diagnosed on a blood sample and responds to antibiotics.

Here is more information:

http://www.petplace.com/cats/feline-infectious-anemia-hemobartonellosis/page1.aspx

Now, I don't want to make you panic! A lot of the things that I have listed are very serious . However, the most likely thing to be causing his fever is a bite wound that is getting infected.


Here is more about fever in cats:

http://www.petplace.com/cats/fever-in-cats/page1.aspx

In terms of what you can do at home to help him to feel better, the most helpful thing would be to really encourage him to drink. This will help to bring down the fever and to keep him hydrated.

What you can do is try to get some calories into him in liquid form - that way he is getting nutrition at the same time as fluids.



I suggest opening a can of tuna *in water* and offering him the liquid, diluted 50:50 or more with water.

Also, you can pick up Clam Juice in most grocery stores (sold in with the V8 or with the canned tuna in my grocery store) and mix that with some water.

You could try Lactose Free milk (Lactaid is the Canadian brand).

Offer him some canned cat food, and mix it with water to make a slurry if he won't eat it.

Things you can do to encourage a cat to drink are:

- offer water from a very wide flat bowl as cats don't like their whiskers to touch the edges when they drink (which is why lots of cats like the toilet bowl).

- If he likes dripping water, leave a tap dripping for him.

- Offer bottled water and see if he prefers it.

- Offer onion free chicken or beef broth, diluted 50:50.

- See if he likes water with an ice cube in it.

- See if he likes it out of a cup or martini glass.

- Offer Whiskas CAt Milk http://www.whiskas.ca/catmilk.html

- Offer him canned food as the first ingredient in water

- You could try getting some human baby food in meat flavours (check that there are no onions or garlic in the ingredients) and mix that with warm water and offer that, or syringe it in little bits into your cat's mouth. Beech Nut makes a line of baby food that has nothing but meat (beef, chicken, turkey or veal) in it.

Here's a link:

http://www.beechnut.com/Our%20Baby%20Food/product.asp?P=14510&Category=1&SearchValue=3&SearchVals=About%204%20-%206%20Months&ListValue=1&SearchType=By%20Age&ProdType=

If you cannot find this, you could find another meat baby food - just read the label carefully to be sure there are no onions, onion powder, garlic, or garlic powder in it.


Try to get him to drink small amounts frequently. If you can, try syringe 1 teaspoon (5 mL) or liquids per half hour into his mouth.



 

It sounds like yoiur boy is going to need to see his vet when they open and will likely need some antibiotics. However, until you can see your vet, I hope that this helps you to help your cat!

I do hope that this helps you to help your cat!


If this has been helpful, please Accept my answer and leave feedback.



If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it!


The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


Fiona

 

Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience: Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
Dr.Fiona and 2 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for your expert advice. I'm sure Beckett will be feeling better and I am so gratefull that you were there at 3am (my time). God Bless you!

Joei

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 4 years ago.
Joei,
I am happy to help and I do hope that Beckett will be feeling better soon!

Fiona

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
< Last | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3053
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3053
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    4146
    UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/doggfone1/2009-07-16_133633_vet_pic.jpg Dr. Scott's Avatar

    Dr. Scott

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3980
    12 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BI/bigislandvet/2013-2-21_214244_IMG0357.64x64.JPG Dr. Michael Salkin's Avatar

    Dr. Michael Salkin

    Big Island Vet

    Satisfied Customers:

    3268
    University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 41 years of experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3188
    12 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AN/andrewDVM/2012-4-27_12585_iStock000011751407XSmall.64x64.jpg Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2873
    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PE/petdrz/2012-6-7_16239_MeandDoncropped.64x64.JPG Dr. Z.'s Avatar

    Dr. Z.

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1936
    Over 25 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.