Septic Shock in Cats
Septic shock, or sepsis, is a serious physical condition associated with generalized bacterial infection of the body. It develops as a complication of an overwhelming generalized systemic infection. Septic shock is associated with low blood flow (hypoperfusion) or low blood pressure (hypotension), which may or may not respond to fluids or medical treatment given to maintain arterial blood pressure. Cats that are very young or very old are at increased risk due to their undeveloped or lowered immune responses, respectively.
Symptoms and Types
- Rapid heart rate
- Normal or high arterial blood pressure
- Bounding pulses
- Reddened moist tissues of the body
- The pink or red color of the gums is very quick to return when the gums are blanched by finger pressure
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate or slow heart rate
- Poor pulse
- Pale gums or moist tissues of the body
- The pink color of the gums is slow to return when the gums are blanched by finger pressure
- Cool extremities (from lack of circulation)
- Low body temperature
- Mental depression or stupor
- Production of only small amounts of urine
- Difficulty breathing; rapid breathing
- Small, pinpoint areas of bleeding in the skin and moist tissues of the body.
- Fluid build-up in the tissues, especially the legs and under the skin (swollen limbs)
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Extreme weakness
- Possible history of known infection (such as urinary tract infection or infection/inflammation of the prostate)
- Previous surgery may place an animal at increased risk of systemic infection
- Other conditions or treatments that potentially decrease the immune response, such as diabetes mellitus; increased levels of steroids produced by the adrenal glands; Cushing's disease; treatment with high-dosage steroids or chemotherapy regimens
- Compromise of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract resulting in bacteria moving from the intestinal tract into the body and causing bacterial toxins to accumulate in the blood (endotoxemia)
- Infection/inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis) and abscesses of the prostate
- Bacterial infection of the lining of the abdomen (septic peritonitis)
- Bacterial infection of the lining of the heart (bacterial endocarditis)
- Gastrointestinal rupture
- Urinary tract infection
- Bite wounds
Clinical features include fever, inflammatory response, and collapse of the circulation system. Septic shock associated with circulatory collapse must be differentiated from systemic infection with adequate compensatory cardiovascular response. Circulatory collapse is associated with rapid heart beat or slow heart beat, reduced cardiac output, low blood pressure, reduction of blood flowing into the tissues, and evidence of multi-organ dysfunction such as mental depression, decreased urination, and hemorrhage. Your doctor will want to keep a close watch on your cat's blood pressure.
A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. Your veterinarian will depend heavily on a urinalysis and blood tests to determine your cat's condition. Visual diagnostics will include chest x-rays to look for pneumonia and to examine the heart. Echocardiography may be used to determine whether the heart muscle is working properly. Abdominal ultrasound may help for detection of an underlying abdominal disease.
A medical condition; the contamination of a living thing by a harmful type of bacteria
An inflammation of the prostate gland
Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
urinary tract infection
Also referred to as a UTI; a medical condition of the urinary tract and system in which the cells are damaged by microorganisms.
The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance
The product of protein being metabolized; can be found in blood or urine.
A medical condition in which the peritoneum becomes inflamed
An inflammation of the lining of the heart
The amount of pressure applied by the blood on the arteries.
The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine
Extreme loss of blood
A special type of tissue that exudes mucus
A localized infection, usually a lesion filled with pus. Can be large or small in size.