Objective—To document the clinical, clinicopathologic,
and pathologic findings in cats with severe sepsis,
identify abnormalities unique to this species, and
identify criteria that could be used antemortem to
diagnose the systemic inflammatory response syndrome
Animals—29 cats confirmed to have severe sepsis at
Procedure—Pertinent history, physical examination
findings, and results of hematologic and biochemical
testing were extracted from medical records.
Results—Clinical diagnoses included pyothorax, septic
peritonitis, bacteremia secondary to gastrointestinal
tract disease, pneumonia, endocarditis,
pyelonephritis, osteomyelitis, pyometra, and bite
wounds. Physical examination findings included
lethargy, pale mucous membranes, poor pulse quality,
tachypnea, hypo- or hyperthermia, signs of diffuse
pain on abdominal palpation, bradycardia, and icterus.
Clinicopathologic abnormalities included anemia,
thrombocytopenia, band neutrophilia, hypoalbuminemia,
low serum alkaline phosphatase activity, and
hyperbilirubinemia. Necropsy findings included multiorgan
necrosis or inflammation with intralesional bacteria.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that severe sepsis in cats is characterized by
lethargy, pale mucous membranes, signs of diffuse
abdominal pain, tachypnea, bradycardia, weak pulses,
anemia, hypoalbuminemia, hypothermia, and icterus.
Recognition of this combination of clinical findings
should facilitate the diagnosis of severe sepsis in
cats. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:531–535)