Pets can get heat stroke too, and with the heat wave expected this week, it’s important to know how to prevent it and recognize the signs if it happens, vets say.
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Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when an animal’s body temperature rises above 104 or 105 degrees Fahrenheit, which can damage body tissues, organs and the central nervous system, said Camille Alander-Rivera, veterinarian at BondVet. -Seaport.
Alander-Rivera said dog breeds with “smushy faces” are the most susceptible — bulldogs, French bulldogs, pugs — but chow chows, greyhounds, Cavalier King Charles spaniels and golden retrievers are also highly vulnerable. In addition to breed predispositions, pre-existing medical conditions like being overweight, heart disease or upper respiratory disease put pets at higher risk, she said.
Bond Vet has seen an increase in the number of heatstroke cases over the past few weeks. Although cats and other pets are also susceptible to heatstroke, dogs most often suffer from it because they go outside and are therefore more likely to be exposed to heat, sun and humidity.
“The best thing to do is try to exercise your dog in the early morning or late evening when it’s coolest, after sunset or before sunrise, especially in town because the sidewalks can get quite hot and obviously the hot sun can raise the air temperature,” Alander-Rivera said.
She also recommended keeping dogs in the shade, providing them with cold water, and if they love water, swimming is a great way to exercise them while keeping them cool.
“Warning signs of heatstroke are… lethargy, extreme drooling, excessive panting, sometimes they may notice their dog’s tongue or gums are super red, sometimes even a little purple,” a said Alander-Rivera. “Things like vomiting and diarrhea can occur, increased alcohol consumption, decreased urine output despite drinking more water are also quite common.”
Seizure, collapse, disorientation, and unconsciousness are signs that heat stroke is more advanced. If an animal shows signs of heatstroke, it should be taken to the vet as soon as possible, where it can be actively cooled and treated accordingly.
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