What is Normal for Your Pet?

Every week in practice I check the vitals of many animals of a variety of species. There is a lot of variation between individuals and species based on size, breed, age etc. Do you know what your pet’s “numbers” should be?

  • Internal Temperature is easy to get with a thermometer and rectal temperature is the most accurate in our furry friends. Most cats, dogs, cows, goats, and sheep average a little warmer than us at 100.5°F to 102.5° Horses are a lot more like people and over 100.0°F is considered a fever. Internal temperature can rise with inflammation (increases in the body’s immune system), such as with an infection, hot weather or after a lot of physical activity or stress.
  • Heart rate (number of heart beats per minute) is another crucial indicator of your pet’s current state. The size of your pet plays a major role in their rate. Cats average 110 – 150 beats per minute (and up), dogs 80-130, sheep and goats 80-120, cows 60-80 and horses a whopping 28-40. Heart rate rises easily with excitement or exercise.
  • Respiratory Rate (the number of breaths per minute) is very variable depending on how excited your pet is or how much activity they have been doing. Watch out for animals struggling for a breath, making noise while breathing or breathing fast while resting.

Other important parameters your veterinarian can measure at the moment are blood pressure and blood glucose. On the other hand, the temperature or moisture of your pet’s nose has little to no bearing on their current health.

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