Pet Health with Helen Woodward Animal Center: How your pet can get heatstroke
(KUSI) – Dr. Angela Gaeto from Helen Woodward Animal Center joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss pets who get heatstroke.
How your pet can get heatstroke:
Heatstroke is when an animal gets a severely elevated core body temperature. These high temperatures range from 104.9⁰F to 109.4⁰F. This can occur after a pet has been exposed to elevated ambient temperatures or has performed strenuous activity. When animals exercise in warm and/or humid conditions this elevated body temperature can occur in a low as 30 minutes. For animals who do not sweat, panting is the easiest way to get rid of heat from the body. Numerous factors can increase the risk of heat stroke such as humidity, upper respiratory conditions such as laryngeal paralysis, breed, obesity, collapsing trachea, or a previous history of heat related illness.
Pets experiencing heat stroke can have a variety of symptoms. Heat stroke eventually affects numerous body systems so the symptoms can be widespread. Pets may be panting excessively, collapse, vomit, have diarrhea, hypersalivation, or seizures. Pets may also be listless, have muscle tremors, loss of consciousness, blood in their urine, difficulty breathing, or a swollen tongue.
While there are ways to treat heatstroke, it is best to prevent it. Allow outdoor animals access to shade and plenty of cool water. Animals who work outdoors should be given time to rest and cool down often, especially if they’re not accustom to working outside or in hot conditions. It is best to avoid exercising animals in the hottest part of the day and make sure you are watching for their signals such as seeking shade, lying down on a walk, or seeking out water. Pets that need to be treated for heatstroke should have their core body temperature lowered but not overly quickly to avoid rebounding too low. Pets should be taken to a cool place and often need to be hospitalized for adequate care. How pets recover directly relates to the severity and duration of elevated temperature.