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Posts Tagged ‘heatstroke’

Keeping pets safe during the warmer weather and when visiting the practice

Milton Keynes Veterinary Group
In the last few weeks we have had some warmer weather, please bear in mind our pets aren’t able to cope as well in warmer weather. Therefore as owners, we need to make sure they are safe, cool, healthy and happy.

Hot cars are one of the biggest health concerns during the warmer months. Animals should never be left in a locked car when it’s hot outside. Even if the window is open, temperatures can increase to extreme levels very quickly. As a result, pets suffer from heatstroke.
If you are traveling to the surgery for an appointment and you are waiting outside in a car, please be mindful and use air conditioning where possible. There are water bowls accessible outside the practice. Please use these as needed whilst remembering to keep your distance from each other.

Other considerations for owners during the warmer climate:

PROTECTING YOUR PET’S SKIN
Animals can get sunburnt too just like us! If they will be exposed to the sunlight, apply sun cream to white and pink areas of their skin and importantly the tip of the ears. Animals with lighter coloured fur will be more prone.

FROZEN TREATS Animals will love to have something cool, so why not pop your dog’s Kong in the freezer for a nice cool and refreshing treat. You can also use frozen water bottles wrapped in a towel and pop it in their bed for our cats and small furries

FLYSTRIKE
Our smaller pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs can be more at risk more quickly in the hotter temperatures. To reduce the chance of flystrike, check around their bottoms for fly eggs or maggots. This should be checked at least once a day. There are preventative treatments for Flystrike which last around 6 weeks depending on the product.

WALKING YOUR PETS
We advise to walk your dog during the cooler times of the day such as early morning or late evening. If it is still too hot to walk them, give them a rest of the evening. It is safer for them to not have a walk than to be at risk of heatstroke.

WATCH OUT FOR GRASS SEEDS
After walking your dog, it is a good idea to check their feet for any grass seeds. If these are left, they can track under the dog’s skin and cause swelling and lameness. They can also be found in dog’s ears!

HEATSTROKE
Signs to look out for include collapse, rapid panting, excessive drooling and sticky gums. Provide your pet with plenty of fresh, clean drinking water and provide a shaded area. If you are worried that you pet is suffering from heatstroke, please seek veterinary advice immediately.

PROVIDING COOL AREAS
Prevent your pet from sitting in direct sunlight, provide a shaded area and move hutches and cages if necessary.
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Heatstroke – recognising the signs

Signs of heatstroke may vary from different animals, however these are the main symptoms to look out for: –

  • Faster, heavier panting
  • Signs of agitation
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive drooling
  • Increased pulse / heartbeat
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

What to do if you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke?

If your dog is suffering from heat stroke, they need to have their body temperature lowered gradually.
  • Move your pet to a shaded/cool area
  • Provide your pet with fresh, cool water in small quantities
  • Contact your vet immediately for advice
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Heatstroke – Rabbits

Heat stroke is not something just seen in dogs and cats, rabbits can also suffer from heat stroke. The ideal environmental temperature for a rabbit’s enclosure is between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. Rabbits are unable to cope well with sudden changes of temperature and can start showing signs of heatstroke even at 22 degrees Celsius.

Recognising signs of heatstroke in rabbits is very important, these may include lethargy, panting, salivating, weakness, reddening of the ears. Disorientation, seizures and can in some cases be fatal. Warmer weather can also mean a higher risk of flystrike, therefore it is also important to check your rabbit’s bottom and make sure the hutch is cleaned regularly.





Some ideas to help keep your rabbits cooler in the higher temperatures can include
  • Wiping water onto their ears
  • Place a damp towel over the enclosure
  • Provide plenty of cold water
  • Freeze bottles of water or ice parks
  • Allow them access to an area of stone or ceramic tiles to lie on
  • Create plenty of shade for them
  • You can even purchase specialist cage fans to keep them cool
If you are concerned your rabbit is experiencing signs of heat stroke, please contact your vet immediately.
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