Tag Archives: heat stroke

Heatstroke Awareness

Heatstroke of pets can occur quite quickly and is a result of exposure to high environmental temperatures or strenuous exercise. It is an acute, progressive, life-threatening emergency. Immediate cooling action is required to lower the pet’s body temperature as failure to do so may result in thermal injury to the pet’s organs.

Dogs that are especially prone to heatstroke include: overweight /
obese dogs; short muzzled dogs like bulldogs and pugs; dogs with laryngeal paralysis or cardiovascular disease. Older dogs or those with a dark or dense hair coat are also prone to heatstroke.

SYMPTOMS OF HEATSTROKE

Dark or bright red tongue and gums
Heavy panting
Vomiting
Diarrhoea
Wobbly gait
Seizures
And in severe cases, coma and death.

PREVENTION OF HEATSTROKE
Pets should never be left in cars on hot days for any amount of time. For outdoor pets, access to clean water and shade at all times are essential.
Keep your pet’s coat short in Summer.
Exercise during the cooler parts of the day.

 

IDEAS TO KEEP YOUR PETS COOL
Dogs: Spray bottles with cool water jetted on the pet’s underside, paddle pools, keeping indoors during hot times of the day, ice treats like frozen kongs.
Birds: Frozen watermelon treats.
Rabbits: Frozen peas for rabbits to lie next to and nibble on.
Rats: Fill a small tub or container with water and then throw in some peas. They will get into the water and (depending on how deep it is) dive for the peas.

If signs of heatstroke are present, the pet should be immediately cooled and taken to a veterinarian for treatment.

Beat the heat

A cocker spaniel jumping into a poolThis next week is going to be really hot, so make sure that your pets have access all day to water and shade.

Little (hard) plastic wader pools are a good idea, depending on the dog (or cat!)

If you find your dog is becoming stressed by the heat, cool them down with a hose immediately. Wet them to the skin. If they still look stressed, phone us immediately as heat stroke is potentially fatal. To learn more, check out our earlier post here.

Heat stroke

(We published this back in 2011, but with the coming very hot days at the end of the week, we thought it best to mention again…)

Death from heat stroke is common in dogs in hot weather, especially if it is humid as well. Every summer we see dogs that overdo it in the heat.  When heat generation exceeds heat dissipation, body temperature goes up to dangerous levels.

Some animals are more likely to develop heatstroke than others. Working dogs who don’t know when to stop or who are not allowed to cool off in a trough or under a tree overheat rapidly on a hot day.

Flat-faced dogs with breathing difficulties, like pugs, boxers and Staffordshire bull terriers, cannot lose heat as quickly as they generate it in hot weather. No matter how much they pant, their temperature continues to go up.

Sometimes obese or overweight dogs over-reach their fitness levels and collapse in hot and humid weather.

Dogs or cats confined in poorly ventilated areas without water and shade on a hot day risk developing heatstroke, also.

Early signs of heat stroke are high body temperatures, often over 40 degrees centigrade, excessive panting and rapid heart rate. Many dogs vomit and develop diarrhoea, often with blood in it. They soon collapse, bleed and fit. The gums are dark and red but towards the end become pale and ashen.

Heat stroke is an emergency. Wet your dog to the skin to start getting the temperature down and phone your vet. Most dogs require treatment with a drip and drugs to prevent shock.

Prevent heat stroke by making sure your dog has plenty of water and shade at all times.

Avoid mustering or running on hot days. Early morning or late evening is safer for stock and dogs.

Flat-face and overweight dogs should never exercise in the heat of the day. Know your pets’ limits of fitness and retreat into the cool before they reach them and overheat.