Today the Boston area is supposed to hit around 100 degrees F. Do you know how to prevent heat stroke in your pets? Are your regular activities putting your pet at risk?
We asked VESCONE's Veterinarians to give us some tips on how to prevent heat stroke and a trip to see us in the emergency room.
- Never leave your pet in a closed car even with the windows open. Car temps can go over 120 degrees and literally cook your pet from the inside out.
- Do not exercise your pet in hot humid weather when outdoor temps are above 75.
- Make sure your pet has cool water at all times.
- Ensure there is good ventilation indoors where your pet is inside. A hot, closed in room or carrier can also cause a pet to overheat.
- Keep certain breeds indoors: Dogs that have heart disease, respiratory disease such as feline asthma or are brachycephalic or short nosed breeds like a bulldog, pug, Pekinese, or Shi-Tzu.
- You can cool your pet down with a tepid water hose on his body, alcohol on his feet and ears, or towels soaked in water draped over him while on route to a veterinary hospital.
If you or someone you know believes that their animal is in need of immediate medical attention, please call VESCONE at 781.684.8387.
We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
With the 4th of July around the corner, families are firing up the grill to celebrate. But common cookout food and materials can be deadly for your pets. Dr. Amy Shroff, owner of the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center of New England in Waltham shares with you tips on how to keep your pets safe and out of the emergency room this holiday.
Photo Credit: http://www.dog-woodsresort.com/images/pic2.gif
- Heat Stroke – We’ve seen many deadly cases in the hospital recently. On a hot day, do not leave your dog out in the sun or even in the shade if temperatures hit above 80 degrees. Your dog does not perspire like you can and instead pant to cool themselves off. Breeds such as Bulldogs, Shi Tzus, Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Pekinese have a compromised airway and if they pant for too long, can develop swelling of their upper airway. They can get overheated very quickly. If their internal body temperature climbs above 104-105, it can be fatal.
- Corn cobs – These are made of fibrous plant material or cellulose and do not digest in the GI tracts of dogs. When swallowed whole, it is almost guaranteed that they may need to be removed surgically as they get lodged in the intestines. Don’t let your dog get in your post barbeque garbage!
- Skewers - When these are swallowed, they can also be lodged in the intestine or poke right through the esophagus or stomach and lodge in the chest cavity or a lung. This can lead to terrible infections and trauma if swallowed, so keep an eye on that garbage! And don’t give any to your dog to chew!
- Garbage ingestion –Any garbage that has been sitting out for a while in the heat can harbor lots of toxins. In addition, eating lots of fatty human foods can set dogs up for gastroenteritis and pancreatitis or inflammation of the GI tract and can be very dangerous. So no trash can surfing for that leftover hot dog or potato salad.
- Charcoal briquettes – Clients often ask us if these are harmful. If they contain lighter fluid or other petroleum products, they can upset their GI tracts. If it is plan charcoal, unless they eat a whole one which can be lodged in their intestine, it will not harm them to eat it. But let’s keep them out of sight just in case!
- Fireworks – Dogs in general do not like loud noises because their ears are much more sensitive than ours. It can cause them to get very anxious and stressed from the noise. Hot remnants of sparklers or firecrackers can also be painful and dangerous if stepped on. If you are going to set off some fireworks legally, keep your dog indoors.
- Insect stings – Since we share the outdoors with bees, wasps and other stinging insects, it is best to stay clear of any nests or areas where anyone can be stung. Dogs can have allergic reactions similar to humans that don’t present right away. If your dog does get stung, call your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency room immediately.
- Sunburn – Dogs can get sunburned especially if they have pink or less pigmented skin. I recommend keeping them in the shade, but if they are out and the weather is cool but sunny, a dog specific sunblock is recommended.
With the weather getting warmer, we're leaving the house with our dogs more. You may have seen dogs running in severe heat or dogs sitting in cars lately. We've asked Dr. Amy Goldstein, from the Emergency and Critical Care Department to tell us more about heatstroke in dogs and how to prevent it. Is your dog more at risk because of his breed?
Photo Credit: http://heat-exhaustion-symptoms.blogspot.com/2011/07/heat-stroke-can-cause-death-to-your-dog.html
Heat stroke starts when the body temperature goes above 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The normal temperature for a dog is 100.5 to 102.5. When the body temperature goes above 109 degrees animals can develop organ failure and death.
Causes of heat stroke
The temperature in a parked car can go up to 160 degrees in the summer even with open windows. Exercise on very hot days can also lead to heat stroke. The main way that dogs dissipate heat is through panting. This is easily overwhelmed on hot days.
At risk breeds
Any dog can develop heat stroke when they are outside in extreme heat or they are shut in a car. Puppies, overweight dogs, dogs with other illnesses, dogs with heart disease, dogs with a thick hair coat and older pets are at a higher risk. Dogs such as pugs that have a short muzzle are much more likely to develop heat stroke.
The first sign of heat stroke is excessive panting. Their gums may become bright red. As their temperature continues to increase they will become weak and they can collapse. Some dogs will develop vomiting. When the temperature gets high enough you may notice red dots on their skin or gums. These are small areas of hemorrhage.
What to do
If you are concerned about heat stroke you should immediately bring your pet to a veterinarian. On the way you can cool your pet with wet towels or room temperature water.
What to expect at the vet
Once your pet’s temperature is taken and heat stroke is confirmed they will be cooled with a bath and intravenous fluids. Blood work will be performed to check your pet’s organ function. Most dogs with heat stroke will need to be hospitalized and they may need very intensive care depending on the extent of the organ damage.
If you or someone you know believes that their animal is in need of immediate medical attention, please call VESCONE at 781.684.8387. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.