Heatstroke And Pets As Seen By A Sudbury Veterinary Hospital

By July 10, 2012 Uncategorized

Heatstroke And Pets As Seen By A Sudbury Veterinary Hospital

Did you know that your pet doesn’t sweat like you and I?  You often hear about heatstroke in people, but it is also a common concern for our pets as well – especially during the hot summer months.  Just imagine putting on a fur coat when it is 30 degrees outside. 

The Barrydowne Animal Hospital, a Sudbury Veterinary Hospital, would like to discuss how your pet cools themselves down.  Dogs and cats sweat only through their paw pads, and evaporation occurs from their wet nose and also a dog’s tongue when panting.

Heatstroke can come on quickly so it is important to carefully monitor your pet.

Our Sudbury Veterinary Hospital recognizes that the first signs are excessive panting and drooling.  It can then progress to loss of balance, lethargy, laboured breathing, bright red gums, muscle twitching, a dazed look, coma and eventually death.

In order to avoid this scenario with your pet, there are certain things to avoid or precautions you can take:

–         Schedule long walks, or other outdoor activities for the morning or evening, when the sun is not as hot, and the outdoor temperatures are cooler.

–         Always have fresh water available and make sure to offer it to your pet – most dogs and cats will not physically “ask” you for water.

–         Keep your pet indoors in a basement, or air conditioned area.

–         Never leave your pet in a parked car.  Even in the shade or with the windows cracked open, the temperature can rise to extremes in a matter of minutes. This is one of the number one causes of heatstroke in pets.

*Our Sudbury Veterinary Hospital want you to know it is also important to note that certain dogs and breeds are more prone to heatstroke due to their physical appearance.  Brachycephalic or short nosed dogs have a more difficult time breathing in extreme temperatures.  Such breeds include Shih Tzus, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Bulldogs, Pugs, and any other mixed or pure bred short nosed dog.  Cat breeds such as the Persian or Himalayan or any short nosed cat can have difficulty breathing as well.

 Our Sudbury Veterinary Hospital would like you to know if your pet is already experiencing heat stroke there are things you can do until you can get him to a local veterinary professional:

–         Reduce your dogs/cats body temperature as quickly as possible with cool water, but avoid ice water as reducing the body temperature too quickly can cause other complications.  This can be accomplished with a wet towel, cold bath/shower, lake water, water hose.  Make sure to closely monitor dog/cat while immersing into any water, even if they know how to swim they will not be well enough to do so.

 Our Sudbury Veterinary Hospital would like you to know some other concerns to consider throughout the summer months as well:

–         Pets, especially those with short hair and pink skin are prone to sunburns just like us.  Also dogs/cats that usually have long hair but are clipped short in the summer can also be more prone to sunburns.  Therefore limit their exposure to the sun, and keep in shaded areas while outside because we all know how painful a sunburn can be!

–         Hot pavement can burn a dog’s/cat’s paws, so avoid walking on pavement in hot temperatures.  If you can’t walk on it in bare feet, neither can they!

 Dogs and cats can experience the ill effects of over exposure to the sun and hot temperatures just like us.  So be sure to think of your furry family member before heading out for any summer activities. For more information please contact our Sudbury Veterinary Clinic at 705-566-4243 or visit our website at www.barrydowneanimalhospital.com or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BarrydowneAnimalHospital.  Have a safe and happy summer from the staff at the Barrydowne Animal Hospital!!

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