Vital Signs in an Animal.

Makayla Bell

  The term “vital signs” refer to the temperature, respiration rate, and pulse of the animal. Vital signs are useful in reporting any soon-to-be issues with your animal to your veterinarian. In the event of an emergency knowing what to check on the vital signs can be a huge assist to your vet. It’s not only important to know your vital signs but to also know how to check them. For an animal, vital signs are temperature, respiration, and pulse. 

To check the temperature of an animal it is important to know where to place it. Checking the temperature of an animal can be done rectally with a digital or mercury thermometer. Digital thermometers are placed into the ear canal and rectal thermometers are inserted, as the name implies, into the rectum. The normal body temperature for cats and dogs is 38.3 to 39.2 Celcius or 101 to 102.5 Fahrenheit. The two types of cases seen in animals are Hypothermia and Hyperthermia. Hypothermia is when an animal’s temperature drops extremely low. If your animal is having symptoms of hypothermia it may include, weakness, shivering, and mental depression. To prevent hypothermia it is ideal to always keep ur pet warm during the winter and have a warm place for them when u put them to bed. Hyperthermia is an abnormal increase in an animal’s temperature. If you don’t alert your veterinarian once you notice his change in behavior it can cause whole-body inflammation and may lead to organ failure. 

During respiration, you must check the rate, depth, rhythm, sound, and dyspnea of the animal. The two types of respiration are inspiration and expiration. Inspiration, also known as inhalation, is the process of taking air into the lungs. Inspiration occurs when muscle contraction causes the ribs to move up and out and the diaphragm to flatten. These movements increase the volume of the pleural cavity and draw air down the respiratory system into the lungs. Exhalation, or expiration, is the flow of the breath out of an organism. In animals, it is the movement of air from the lungs out of the airways, to the external environment during breathing.

For pulse, you must always check for frequency, rhythm, and quality. For smaller dogs, the pulse should be in the range of 120 to 160, and for dogs over 30 pounds, it should be 60 to 120. This isn’t always the case for all, because it might depend on the breed of the animal. 

Knowing all the vital signs can truly save your animal if you can find the issue once they show anything beyond its natural behavior.