What you need to know about heat stroke in pets:
It’s natural for Australians to love summer and we want to soak up every bit of sun we can before the season ends. Although summer is nearing an end, the weather hasn’t cooled down yet and we want to spend every moment with our fury friends by our sides. But it comes at a price sadly, as many pets are subject to heat stroke where many cases can easily be prevented with proper precaution.
What is it? Heat stroke occurs when an animal has been overexposed to high temperatures for a prolonged period of time, which can lead of organ failure if not treated promptly. Even if your pet has been exposed for only 10 minutes can lead to a state of extreme hyperthermia and severe internal damage. Dogs and cats don’t sweat like humans do and rely only on the pads on their paws and their nose. They are able to control their temperature by panting and increasing their breathing rate. This technique IS successful, but only to a certain extend and when temperatures are exceeded is when animals are not able to cool themselves off as quickly as they are heating up.
Warning Signs: The key warning signs of heat stroke in your pet is excessive panting and difficulty breathing. This especially applies for dogs, which tend to develop thick mucus in the back of their throat when exposed to high temperatures. Snorting and/or trying to cough may be a warning sign of heat stroke. Other warning signs are an increased heat rate, blue/purple gums, fatigue, muscle spasms, excessive drooling, confusion and vomiting.
How to prevent heatstroke:
Do NOT leave your pet in a vehicle, even if the weather is moderately cool outside. The inside temperature of a car can rise from 22 degrees to 47 degrees in as little as an hour and the pet will not be able to cool itself down.
Always keep fresh, cool water nearby. Staying hydrated is extremely important in preventing heat stroke on those hot summer days.
If it’s hot outside, it is encouraged to keep your pets indoors where it is cool. However, if this is not possible, make sure that there is plenty of shade for them to rest under and do not over exercise them.
What to do: If you are unsure if your pet is developing heat stroke, don’t wait and see if the symptoms progress. The best thing you want is just a false alarm and even if you think they’re panting more than usual, take them to a vet straight away. There are first aid techniques you can use on the way to the vet which include keeping a cold, wet flannel on your pets body (not ice cold, though), encouraging to drink water at every opportunity and turning the air conditioner up full blast in the car. This gives your pet the best chance of survival.
If you think your pet is developing heatstroke, visit your vet straight away. Midwest Vets can provide your pet with the care it needs. They are located at 117 Cathedral Avenue and are open Monday – Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm and are open till 7:00pm on Thursdays. They are open Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00pm.
Phone (08) 9964 3671 or after hours on 0407 471 933 if it’s an emergency.