Pet First Aid Instructor Level 3 (VTQ) - Online Blended Part 1

189 videos, 8 hours and 58 minutes

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Taking the Rectal Temperature

Video 49 of 189
2 min 59 sec
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The final vital sign that can be important and useful for a vet to know would be temperature. In animals, we tend to take the rectal temperature. There are ear thermometers that you can get and use, but they are very unreliable and animals generally do not like you sticking things in their ears. So the rectal temperature is a lot safer and easier to do on any animal. You would use a thermometer like this. These digital thermometers are really easy to read and very quick to take temperature as well. The part of the thermometer that actually takes the temperature is the bulb at the end of it, so this is the part that needs to be in contact with the inside of the rectum when you are taking the temperature.

What you would do is use a little bit of lubricant and get your animal to stand up if you can. Oh, good girl. And you lift the tail and you are just going to put the thermometer just inside the rectum. What you want to be doing is making sure that when you do take a temperature, the thermometer is in contact with the inside of the rectum and not just in through the centre of the rectum. Because what can happen is that there is a lot of faeces in the rectum, that thermometer may just be going straight into a collection of faeces and it will not be taking a reliable internal temperature of your animal. So when you pull it out, if it is covered in faeces, I would suggest cleaning that thermometer and trying to do it again and just making sure that the bulb is just in contact with the inside of the rectum. You do not need to apply a lot of pressure to do that but just push it slightly to the side of the rectum once you have put it in.

The normal temperature for dogs and cats does have a range of between 37.5 to just over 39, but if you just remember a temperature of between 38 and 39 is normal and anything greatly above or below that is something that you need to be taking note of and relaying back to your vet. When it comes to the pulse rate, they vary greatly between species and again, between breeds within the species. So in a large dog, the normal pulse rate, heart rate, would be anywhere between 80 to 120. In your smaller breeds, it is more likely to be at the higher range of what we would classify as normal, so up to 140 to 160. You will also find in smaller dogs, as in puppies, they would also have a higher pulse rate than when they are an adult. In cats, a normal pulse rate would be anything from about 100 to 160.