Tuesday, June 19, 2018

How to Prevent and Detect Heat Stroke in Pets

How to Prevent and Detect Heat Stroke in Pets 
Summer is a time to have a great time with your pets outdoors.  There are countless activities we do with our four legged friends.  However, when the temperature rises, the risk for heat related illness increases as well.  Heat stroke occurs when your pet’s body can’t sufficiently cool itself in very warm conditions.  It can occur in any animal, but there are some predisposing factors to be aware of:
  • Brachycephalic breeds (pugs, bulldogs, boxers, etc)
  • Long haired or thick coated animals
  • Older animals with preexisting disease (laryngeal paralysis, heart disease, dehydration, hyperthyroidism)
  • Obesity
Heat stroke is a potentially life threatening issue and successful treatment is predicated on early recognition of the symptoms.  The main goal of treatment is immediate correction of the elevated temperature.  The effects of elevated body temperature can compromise various major organs in the body.  For this reason, heat stroke is considered an emergency situation, and, if suspected you should take your pet to your veterinarian immediately.  Signs and symptoms to monitor for (especially in animals with risk factors, on hot days, or in situations that may cause heat related problems) include:
  • Panting
  • Abnormal gum color (bright red, pale or blue in color)
  • Collapse
  • Elevated body temperature (over 103 F)
  • Respiratory distress
  • Change in mentation- seizure, coma
  • Muscle tremors
Heat stroke is better prevented than treated.   Common sense will go a long way in preventing heat related issues with your pet.  Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest times on a very hot day.  Do not leave your pet in a car for any period of time when the temperature is high and the sun is out.  If your pet spends time outside, make sure they have the ability to get out of the direct sunlight and provide plenty of clean, fresh water to drink.  Above all, if you believe your pet may be having heat related problems, early diagnosis and treatment is key and will increase the chances of a successful outcome.  Have a safe enjoyable summer with your pets!

article written by:
Derek Williamson, DVM
Companion Animal Hospital Vernon Hills and Crawford Animal Hospital

1 comment:

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