Heat stroke

We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful areas in Canada. One of the greatest advantages of the Okanagan Valley is the hot weather and all the pleasures that come along with it. But we all should remember that the hot temperature bears some hazards such as Heat stroke.

Heat stroke is a condition where the body is exposed to high temperature or humidity over a long period of time. The heat-regulating mechanisms of the body are affected and are unable to effectively deal with the heat, causing the body temperature to climb uncontrollably.

Young and old animals are more sensitive to high temperatures, as well as heavy coated pets and short snouts animals such as Pug, Shi tzu, Boxers, Pekinese, Bulldogs and Persian cats.

Heat stroke is considered when the body temperature is generally higher then 40.0 degrees C or 104 degrees F.

The high body temperature affects cellular activity of all internal organs and is a life threatening condition.

The symptoms start by heavy panting and drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, weakness and confusion.

As the heat prostration progresses the gums become dry due to dehydration, and the vomiting and diarrhea may become bloody.

Terminal stages are manifested by seizures or coma, shallowing of the breathing or absence of breathing effort and finally death.

Heat stroke is an emergency condition that requires an immediate medical care.

If your pet is showing signs of heat stroke transfer it immediately to a cool shaded spot, pour cool water on your pet but not icy water. You can pour alcohol on your pet paws, alcohol dilates blood vessels, which is helpful in cooling down the body.

First aid is crucial in the first minutes of treating heat stroke, however your pet’s well being should not stop there. Your pet should be checked by a veterinarian as other medical problems (kidney failure, heart, neurological, intestinal problems) could arise hours or even days following a heat stroke.

Prevention is the key! Here are few tips how to keep your pet safe.

Pets should stay well hydrated when traveling or hanging out in the outdoors, don’t forget to bring along water for your pets. Do not encourage your dog to run and play outside in the hot hours of the day, exercise your dog in the early morning or evening hours.  Make sure your pet has a shady place to rest at. It is very important to remember not to leave pets in cars greenhouses or similar hot environments. Leaving a pet in the car in the hot day, even with a cracked open window can be deadly even just after few minutes. When you are taking your dog to the lake, don’t assume that they are hydrated just for the fact that they are in the water, supply drinking water for them.

So let us all enjoy the wonderful summer and try to keep our furry friend as safe and cool as possible.