OBJECTIVE To describe the epidemiology of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and sepsis in cats hospitalized in a veterinary teaching hospital.
DESIGN Observational study.
ANIMALS 246 client-owned cats.
PROCEDURES During a 3-month period, daily treatment records were evaluated for all hospitalized cats. Information extracted included signalment, temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, diagnostic test results, diagnosis, duration of hospitalization, and outcome (survival or death). Cats were classified into 1 of 4 disease categories (sepsis [confirmed infection and SIRS], infection [confirmed infection without SIRS], noninfectious SIRS [SIRS without a confirmed infection], and no SIRS [no SIRS or infection]).
RESULTS Of the 246 cats, 26 and 3 were hospitalized 2 and 3 times, respectively; thus, 275 hospitalizations were evaluated. When SIRS was defined as the presence of ≥ 2 of 4 SIRS criteria, 17 cats had sepsis, 16 had infections, 81 had noninfectious SIRS, and 161 were classified in the no SIRS category at hospital admission. The prevalence of sepsis at hospital admission was 6.2 cases/100 admissions. Four cats developed sepsis while hospitalized, resulting in a sepsis incidence rate of 1.5 cases/100 hospital admissions. Four of 17 cats with sepsis at hospital admission and 3 of 4 cats that developed sepsis while hospitalized died or were euthanized, resulting in a mortality rate of 33.3% for septic cats; 239 hospitalizations resulted in survival, 28 resulted in euthanasia, and 8 resulted in death.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that many hospitalized cats have evidence of SIRS and some have sepsis. In cats, sepsis is an important clinical entity with a high mortality rate.