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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2014 May 15;244(10):1170-5. doi: 10.2460/javma.244.10.1170.

Comparison of rectal and axillary temperatures in dogs and cats.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare rectal versus axillary temperatures in dogs and cats.

DESIGN:

Prospective observational study.

ANIMALS:

94 dogs and 31 cats.

PROCEDURES:

Paired axillary and rectal temperatures were measured in random order with a standardized method. Animal signalment, initial complaint, blood pressure, blood lactate concentration, and variables associated with vascular perfusion and coat were evaluated for associations with axillary and rectal temperatures.

RESULTS:

Axillary temperature was positively correlated with rectal temperature (ρ = 0.75 in both species). Median axillary temperature (38.4°C [101.1°F] in dogs, and 38.4°C [101.2°F] in cats) was significantly different from median rectal temperature in dogs (38.9°C [102.0°F]) but not in cats (38.6°C [101.5°F]). Median rectal-axillary gradient (difference) was 0.4°C (0.7°F; range, -1.3° to 2.3°C [-2.4° to 4.1°F]) in dogs and 0.17°C (0.3°F; range -1.1° to 1.6°C [-1.9° to 3°F]) in cats. Sensitivity and specificity for detection of hyperthermia with axillary temperature were 57% and 100%, respectively, in dogs and 33% and 100%, respectively, in cats; sensitivity and specificity for detection of hypothermia were 86% and 87%, respectively, in dogs and 80% and 96%, respectively, in cats. Body weight (ρ = 0.514) and body condition score (ρ = 0.431) were correlated with rectal-axillary gradient in cats.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Although axillary and rectal temperatures were correlated in dogs and cats, a large gradient was present between rectal temperature and axillary temperature, suggesting that axillary temperature should not be used as a substitute for rectal temperature.

PMID:
24786164
DOI:
10.2460/javma.244.10.1170
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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