Heatstroke Prevention Tips from Apple Valley Veterinarians in Plantsville
Heatstroke can be deadly for your pet, so it’s crucial to understand the condition and what you can do if it occurs in your cat, dog or other pet. Our veterinarians, Dr’s. Rothstein and Freiman in Southington treat heatstroke as a pet emergency, requiring immediate veterinary care.
What is Heatstroke?
Heatstroke is an elevated body temperature that begins to overwhelm your pet’s body–leading to serious organ damage. A heatstroke is a form of non-fever hyperthermia, which occurs when the environmental temperature and humidity combine to prevent your pet (usually dogs) from cooling down. Even in milder climates, heatstroke can occur if a pet is left in a hot car or exercising excessively.
Not surprisingly, the dogs most prone to hyperthermia include long-haired breeds, as well as those with shorter snouts. Cats can also develop heat stroke, though it’s not quite as common. Age can be a factor in heat stroke, with both very younger and very old animals at greater risk, and it can also be predisposed to by hormonal imbalance, upper respiratory infection, and obesity. Pets with heart disease or circulatory problems are often affected. Other heatstroke predisposing factors include dehydration, poisoning, and reactions to general anesthesia.
Signs Your Pet is Suffering from Heatstroke
Watch for the many possible symptoms of pet heatstroke, especially during hot weather and after your pet has been exercising. Visit or immediately contact your Hartford County veterinarians in Southington, CT for life-saving veterinary care if you notice:
- Panting, which is one of the only ways pets can cool themselves, along with sweaty paws
- Fast heart rate and irregular beats
- Higher than normal body temperature, over 103° F
- Red gums and/or eyes
- Pet cannot urinate, or only produces a small amount
- Breathing problems, as fluid accumulates in the lungs
- Vomiting, including bloody vomit
- Bloody or dark stool
- Mental confusion
- Unsteady, uncoordinated gait
How to Cool Your Pet and Avoid Heatstroke
Do not use frigid water in an attempt to quickly cool your pet. Shivering will only increase internal body temperature and place stress on the circulatory system. Aim for gradual cooling. To cool your pet:
- Spray your pet’s coat with cool water
- Immerse your dog in cool (but not cold) water
- Wrap your pet in wet towels
- Use fans
- Use evaporative cooling techniques, such as applying rubbing alcohol to paw pads and exposed skin
- Check body temperature with a rectal thermometer and withdraw cooling methods you may have been using at normal temperature of around 103 degrees.
- Allow your pet access to plenty of cool water, but don’t force him or her to drink.
After your pet’s temperature returns to normal, have him or her examined by Dr. Freiman or Dr. Rothstein in Plantsville. We can perform tests to check your pet’s kidney function, heart and other organs to rule out any damage.
Get Pet Emergency Care for Heatstroke in Plantsville, CT
If your pet shows symptoms of heat stroke, contact your Apple Valley Veterinarians, your veterinarian in Southington, immediately. Contact us at (860) 628-9635.