I am sure at some point in your life that you have heard the old wives tale “if a JRT’s nose is cool and wet, they are healthy, and if it is dry and warm they are sick”.  Well, although there is a small glimmer of truth in that statement, for the most part it is not true.  There is more involved than the condition of your JRT’s nose in determining if there is a problem.

In this post, we are going to take a look at the possible signs, symptoms, and causes of fever in your JRT.  With the summer months here, you are well served to not write off your JRT’s change in behavior to the heat.  It may be something much more serious than that, and being alert to any changes can mean the difference between a healthy JRT and the unthinkable alternative.

What classifies as a fever in JRT’s

The human body has a normal base temperature between 97.6 and 99.6 degrees, whereas the normal base temperature in your JRT is usually 99.5 to 102.5 degrees.  On many occasion I have thought that my JRT’s were running fevers, because they felt warm to me, but they were in fact well within their normal temperature range.  It is normal for your JRT to feel feverish to you at times, when in reality they are still within the normal range for their breed.

The very term “fever”, or pyrexia, is associated with and used to indicate a rise in body temperature brought on by either inflammation or infection. With this in mind, be advised that a temperature of 103.5 degrees or more in a JRT is considered a dog fever and a definite cause for concern. When progressing through this topic, keep in mind that your JRT’s temperature could possibly be up do to the weather, but that is just as dangerous and life threatening as a fever. For a listing of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke along with methods to counteract these ailments, check out the earlier post Helping Your JRT Beat The Heat

Signs of fever in JRT’s
Just like a little baby, your JRT can not speak and tell you when they are sick.  As the caretaker of your companion, you need to look for the physical signs of something not being right.  For fever in JRT’s the common symptoms may include:

  • Red Eyes
  • Lack of Energy
  • Warm Ears
  • Warm, Dry Nose
  • Shivering
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting          

Each of these alone may be an indication of another problem but when you put them all together, the underlying problem may very well be a fever.

Causes of fever in JRT’s

Now that we know the signs and symptoms that present with fever in JRT’s, lets take a look at some of its causes. 

Infections ·         An infected bite, scratch or cut ·         An ear infection ·        An UTI (urinary tract infection) ·         An infected or abscessed tooth ·         An ongoing bacterial or virus disease ·         Infection of the organs, such as the kidneys or the lungs. ·        

Various forms of toxins ·         Toxic plants ·         Antifreeze ingestion ·         Human medications ·         Human foods known to be toxic to canines, including Xylitol ·        

Vaccinations ·        

It is not uncommon for your JRT, like we humans, to experience a low-grade fever within 24-48 hours after being vaccinated.  This is a normal occurrence and should not be a cause of great concern.  Just monitor your companion and if by chance the low-grade fever does persist, have them checked out just to err on the side of caution.

Keep in mind that the usual suspect, the majority of the time, is the first on the list.  But, it is best to reach out to your JRT’s veterinarian and rule out all the possibilities.  The underlying cause must be found, in order to properly address the method of treated for your JRT.  This assessment is best done by a professional.

Treating fever in JRT’s

Knowing the signs and causes of fever in JRT’s is one thing, diagnosing the underlying problem is another beast all in itself.  
The best method you can use to bring down your JRT’s fever is by applying cool, not cold, water around the areas of their ears and paws.  Some people chose to put them in a tub of cool water, but I find a cool wash cloth works best.  It is best to use the cool water, or compress, every fifteen minutes or so, until you are confident that the fever as abated.  
It is of serious and upmost importance to note here that you are to NEVER give your JRT aspirin or acetaminophen, unless under the strict supervision of a medical professional.  Both of these medications are made for humans, and are very dangerous, even life threatening, if ingested improperly by your JRT.

As your time together progresses, you will learn to read your JRT’s body language, and know when your companion is trying to alert you to something being wrong.  It just takes a sharp eye, and committed attitude, and you will be able to assure you JRT a long and healthy life.      




*Photo by vectorolie,