Hot Dog: Heat Related Illness in Your four-legged friend
Summer is here and with the onset of triple digit days it is important to keep in mind the safety of our four-legged friends.
The following are frequently asked questions concerning heat related illness in our companion animals:
1. Is it true that heat related illness is more common in animals?
In short, yes. Most animals, like dogs and cats, do not sweat over their full bodies like humans do. Their body is instead covered with a dense layer of fur. These two contributing factors mean that they are incapable of releasing heat quickly enough to stay cool when faced with extreme heat conditions. A dog or cat’s sole way of reducing body heat is through panting and the pads of their feet. It is not very efficient.
2. What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion will begin as intense panting. The tongue will take on a wide flat shape and be lolling out of the animals’ mouth appearing much larger than normal. The animal may be reluctant to rise and could even begin to seem a bit disoriented or dizzy. Their body temperature may rise to 105-107 degrees and begin to affect their thought processes. Vomiting can occur as can “fainting” or brief moments of unconsciousness.
3. What do I do????
Immediately get them somewhere cool and physically stop their activity! Dogs sometimes, like humans, do not realize they have overdone it until it is too late. Shade or, better yet, air conditioning is imperative to reversing the rising temperature. Get the animal wet especially around the throat and belly. Running water is best to circulate new cool water around the animal’s body. Let them drink a little water. Monitor their body temperature with a thermometer if possible. Once the temp is down to 103, stop the cooling process! It is possible to overcool the animal and give them hypothermia if you cool their temp back to what is considered normal. Even if the animal seems to recover well it is important to see a veterinarian in case low levels of dehydration are still present. Even small levels of heat exhaustion or stroke can cause kidney damage without proper hydration.
Read more about heat related illnesses, how to recognize them, and what you can do to prevent them here!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 16:26