Agreement between auricular and rectal measurements of body temperature in healthy cats

J Feline Med Surg. 2013 Apr;15(4):275-9. doi: 10.1177/1098612X12464873. Epub 2012 Oct 22.


Measurement of body temperature is a routine part of the clinical assessment of a patient. However, this procedure may be time-consuming and stressful to most animals because the standard site of temperature acquisition remains the rectal mucosa. Although an increasing number of clinicians have been using auricular temperature to estimate core body temperature, evidence is still lacking regarding agreement between these two methods in cats. In this investigation, we evaluated the agreement between temperatures measured in the rectum and ear in 29 healthy cats over a 2-week period. Temperatures were measured in the rectum (using digital and mercury-in-glass thermometers) and ear once a day for 14 consecutive days, producing 406 temperature readings for each thermometer. Mean temperature and confidence intervals were similar between methods, and Bland-Altman plots showed small biases and narrow limits of agreement acceptable for clinical purposes. The interobserver variability was also checked, which indicated a strong correlation between two near-simultaneous temperature readings. Results are consistent with auricular thermometry being a reliable alternative to rectal thermometry for assessing core body temperature in healthy cats.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature*
  • Cat Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cats
  • Ear Canal*
  • Female
  • Fever / veterinary
  • Male
  • Rectum*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Thermometers / veterinary*
  • Thermometry / instrumentation
  • Thermometry / veterinary*