Heat Stroke (also known as hyperthermia) is a condition when the core body temperature exceeds normal range. Heat stroke can affect both dogs and cats, and is a serious condition. In some cases Heat stroke can even be fatal.
Risk factors for heat stroke can include:
- High humidity and high temperatures
- Lack of shade
- Lack of drinking water
- Excessive activity or exercise
If your animal has been affected by heatstroke you may notice any of the following signs:
- Constant panting or difficulty breathing.
- Collapse or weakness
- Excess salivation
If you suspect your animal has suffered from heatstroke than it is important to seek veterinary advice to pursue management. The following summarises the actions the veterinary team may undertake to manage heatstroke in their patient
- Cooling patient down with cold water and fans.
- Placing the animal on a drip to replenish fluid deficits and treat shock
- Placing the animal on oxygen to help their ventilation.
- Performing blood and urine tests to determine extent of organ damage.
- Medication and close monitoring.
Prevention of heat stroke is much easier than treatment. To avoid heatstroke the following precautions can be undertaken:
- Provide copious amounts of fresh water for your pet consume over the whole day. Remember that some pets may accidentally spill their water, so it’s important to provide more than one water bowl.
- Ensure there is plenty of shade available for your pet to seek out during the hottest parts of the day.
- Avoid exercising your pet during the hottest times of the day. Try to walk your pet early in the morning or late in the afternoon. It is a good idea to take a water bottle and a collapsible water bowl for your pet specifically.
- Do not leave your pet in a vehicle. Cars will heat up extremely quickly and pets can overheat in minutes.
- Avoid hot sand and cement. Dogs and cats can suffer severe burn injuries to their foot-pads. Even dogs in the back of utes can suffer burn injuries to their pads during hot days.