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Heat Stroke in Pets
Posted by petsavenuevet on June 4, 2015 in Common emergiences | No Comments
In sunny Singapore, temperatures can get uncomfortably high. When the weather is hot and humid (like how it has been the past few weeks), our pets have an increased risk of developing heat stroke. What is heat stroke? What are some symptoms that we can look out for and how can it be prevented? Read our article to find out more!
What is heat stroke?
Heat stroke happens when the body’s temperature rises so high that it causes tissue damage. It is more common in dogs than in cats, and occurs more frequently in animals that are obese or experiencing upper airway obstruction due to a pre-existing condition. Exercise in hot and humid weather, confinement in poorly ventilated areas, and deprivation of water and/or shade also increase your pet’s risk of developing heat stroke.
What causes heat stroke?
Extreme heat and humidity (for example, hot and humid weather, or heat build-up in poorly ventilated facilities)
Upper airway diseases that cause obstructions, leading to breathing difficulties(these obstructions can occur in the nose, nasal passages, throat and windpipe)
Existing diseases that increase the risks of heat stroke, such as diseases of the heart and/or blood vessels, nervous system, or muscular system
Poisoning and seizures – seizures can cause an abnormal peak in body temperature
What are the common symptoms of heat stroke?
Early signs of heat stroke include:
Increased heart rate and stronger pulse
Vomiting and diarrhea
As the problem progresses, the following may occur:
Severe breathing difficulties
Red or purple spotting on skin due to bursting of blood vessels
Bloody diarrhea and vomit
More severe symptoms include:
Pale and grey mucous membranes
Low body temperature
What should I do if my pet has a heat stroke?
Heat stroke is an emergency condition, and your pet should be brought to a vet immediately. Before the vet attends to your pet, you can try to lower your pet’s body temperature slowly by spraying your pet with cool water, wrapping your pet with cool, wet towels, or using a fan for convection cooling. It is extremely important to avoid ice or very cold water as this actually prevents the pet from losing body heat. Shivering is also undesirable as it generates body heat.
What are some tips for heat stroke?
Keep your pet in o cool, shaded area that is well ventilated. Never leave your pet in a vehicle regardless of where it is parked, even if the windows are down.
Provide your pet with plenty of clean fresh water.
Small animals including rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters are highly susceptible to heat stroke as they are usually kept in cages. Ensure the cage is well ventilated and kept in a cool environment.
Do not exercise your pet when it is hot and humid. Try to walk your dog in the morning or evening, avoiding the hottest part of the day.