Hypothermia is a condition in which an animal’s core body temperature falls below the normal physiological range for that species (approximately less than 37.5°C in dogs and cats). This may occur as a result of decreased heat production, increased heat loss or thermoregulatory dysfunction. Some causes of hypothermia are listed in Box 17.1.
BOX 17.1 Causes of hypothermia
Hypothermia is common in emergency patients and may have a variety of adverse effects. The severity of these adverse effects is likely to be correlated with the severity of hypothermia and they are summarized in Box 17.2. Peripheral vasoconstriction occurs and some animals show a cold diuresis. Hypothermia is particularly common in puppies and kittens, toy canine breeds, geriatric animals, cachectic animals and cats in general.
BOX 17.2 Potential adverse effects of hypothermia