Girod M, Vandenheede M, et al. Axillary temperature measurement: a less stressful alternative for hospitalised cats? Vet Rec. 2016 Feb 20;178(8):192.
Many cats object to the taking of temperature via a rectal thermometer. It can cause undue stress and defensive behavior. The aim of this study was to assess if axillary temperature measurement (ATM) could be a reliable and less stressful alternative for these animals. In this prospective study, paired rectal and axillary temperatures were measured in 42 cats, either by a veterinarian or a student. To assess the impact of these procedures on the cat’s stress state, their heart rate was checked and a cat stress score (CSS) was defined and graded from 1 (relaxed) to 5 (terrified).
Rectal temps were found to be about 1.50 F warmer than the axillary temperature. ATM failed to detect fever in 19% of the cats, while hypothermia was missed in 25% of the cases. ATM was however less stressful. In conclusion, Rectal temperature measurement should remain the standard method to obtain accurate temperatures in cats. (MK)
Goic JB, Reineke EL, Drobratz KJ. Comparison of rectal and axillary temperatures in dogs and cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2014 May 15;244(10):1170-5.