PetMD Seal

Shock Due to Bacterial Infection in Cats

5 min read



Your cat will be hospitalized for circulatory collapse. Vigorous fluid therapy containing crystalloids and colloids will be needed to increase effective circulating blood volume. Crystalloids are fluids that contain electrolytes (chemical compounds such as sodium, potassium, chloride) necessary for the body to function. Crystalloids generally are similar to the fluid content (plasma) of the blood and move easily between the blood and body tissues. Colloids are fluids that contain larger molecules that stay within the circulating blood to help maintain circulating blood volume. Oxygen supplementation is as important as fluid replacement and will be administered by oxygen cage, mask, or nasal cannula (tube). Aggressive treatment and life support may be required if your cat has progressed to a severe stage of shock.


Your veterinarian may surgically remove any source of generalized bacterial infection, such as an abscess. Medications will be chosen according to the underlying infection and source of infection.


Living and Management


Your veterinarian will keep a close watch on your cat's heart rate, pulse intensity, color of gums and moist tissues (mucous membrane), breathing rate, lung sounds, urine output, mental status, and rectal temperature. Aggressive treatment is generally called for, with fluids or medications to improve heart muscle contraction. Electrocardiogram (ECG), a recording of the electrical activity of the heart, and blood pressure measurement are useful; blood-gas analysis (measurements of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in arterial blood) and pulse oximetry (a means of measuring oxygen levels in blood) to monitor tissue oxygen levels will also yield important information as your veterinarian monitors your cat's progress.


Further treatment will be based on blood work, such as packed cell volume, a means of measuring the percentage volume of red-blood cells as compared to the fluid volume of blood; serum total protein (a quick laboratory test that provides general information on the level of protein in the fluid portion of the blood); serum electrolytes; liver enzymes; blood urea nitrogen and serum creatine levels (the amount of urea and creatine that is found in the blood; they are normally removed from the blood by the kidneys, this test can be an accurate measurement of kidney function). These tests will be done as often as your veterinarian deems it necessary, based on your cat's status and response to treatment. Septic shock is a life-threatening condition and the prognosis will depend on the underlying cause.



Related Articles

Heart and Lung Diseases in Cats

Endomyocarditis, or inflammation of the inner heart muscle and lining, is an acute heart and lung (cardiopulmonary) disease that typically develops...

Anemia Due to Iron Deficiency in Cats

When the body is deficient in iron, red cells do not develop as they should. In adult pets, this condition is usually caused by some kind of...

Overproduction of Red Blood Cells in Cats

Characterized as an abnormal increase in the amount of red blood cells in the circulatory system, polycythemia is a rather serious blood condition....

Anemia Due to Enlarged Blood Cells in Cats

In this disease, red blood cells fail to divide and become abnormally large. These cells are also deficient in necessary DNA material. These...