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Accuracy of different temperature reading techniques and associated stress response in hospitalized dogs

Authors

  • Samantha B. Gomart DVM,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Clinical Sciences, Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
    • Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Samantha Gomart, CVU, 20 Blvd de Colonster, 4000 Liège, Belgium. Email: Samantha.gomart@gmail.com

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  • Fergus J. W. Allerton BSc, BVSc,

    1. Department of Clinical Sciences, Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
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  • Kris Gommeren DVM, DECVIM

    1. Department of Clinical Sciences, Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
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  • The authors declare no conflict of interests.

  • Offprints will not be available from the authors.

  • Presented as a poster at the 11th Congress of the European Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society in Barcelona in June 2012.

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the accuracy and associated induced stress response of axillary, auricular, and rectal thermometry in hospitalized dogs.

Design

Prospective observational study from October 2011 to February 2012.

Setting

University veterinary teaching hospital.

Animals

Two hundred fifty hospitalized dogs. All hospitalized dogs were considered eligible unless their condition precluded measurement at one of the designated sites.

Interventions

A veterinary auricular infrared device for auricular temperature (OT) and an electronic predictive thermometer for rectal temperature (RT) and axillary temperature (AT) were used for temperature measurements. All recordings were obtained by the same investigator in a randomized fashion. Heart rate was noted before and immediately after each measurement. Stress behaviors (eg, vocalization, lip licking, shaking, panting, defensive behavior) were also recorded and graded from 0 (lowest) to 4 (highest). Signalment, analgesic therapy, and length of hospitalization were recorded.

Measurements and Main Results

RT measurements were associated with greatest increase in heart rate (P < 0.05). Scores obtained for defensive behavior, lip licking, and vocalization were lowest with AT and highest with RT measurements (P < 0.05).

Mean RT, AT, and OT were 38.0°C (SD: 0.85°C), 37.0°C (SD: 0.99°C), and 37.23°C (SD: 1.0382°C), respectively. AT and OT were moderately correlated with RT (r = 0.70 and r = 0.64, respectively). Gender (P = 0.02) and coat length (P = 0.03) had a significant influence on results. No effect of dehydration, body condition, analgesia, age, reproductive status, or operator experience was observed (P > 0.05).

Conclusions

AT and to a lesser extent OT are reliable, less stressful alternatives to estimate RT in dogs. Further studies are needed to evaluate these techniques in hyperthermic dogs, and to evaluate the use of AT and OT as monitoring tools in intensive care patients.

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