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Heat warning for pets

A Seymour veterinarian is urging pet owners to check on their pets during heatwaves.

JENNA BISHOP February 6, 2014 4:23am

Seymour Veterinary Surgery veterinarian Andrew Hogan checks out a dog for signs of heat exhaustion.


With temperatures soaring into the 40s this week, pet owners are being reminded to check on their furry friends in the heat.

Seymour has just sweltered through it’s second heatwave of the season, with temperatures reaching 39°C on Thursday, 38.6°C on Friday, 41.7°C on Saturday, 43°C on Sunday, 41.3°C on Monday and an expected top of 29°C yesterday and 32°C today.

Seymour Veterinary Surgery veterinarian Andrew Hogan said the clinic usually saw several heat-affected animals a year.

‘‘We’ve also had deaths from heatstroke, but we haven’t had any this year, thankfully,’’ he said.

Dr Hogan said traditionally, it was older or overweight animals who felt the heat more, although younger animals were also susceptible because they have less capacity to control their body temperature.

Some animals with underlying medical issues could also be at risk, especially if they are unable to pant.

‘‘If they can’t pant, they won’t be able to keep cool,’’ Dr Hogan said.

Signs animals are suffereing from heat stroke usually include heavy panting with an open mouth, weakness, hot to touch, less responsive to their owners and surroundings, collapse, coma and even death.

Dr Hogan said owners should immediately call their vet if they notice any signs of heat-related illness.

‘‘If there is going to be any delay, hose your pet down or immerse them in cool water – a bath, sink or child’s wading pool might be handy,’’ he said.

‘‘Mild hyperthermia might be managed with cooling and medication, but severe heatstroke is a life-threatening condition requiring intensive therapy and hospitalisation.’’

Dr Hogan warned dog owners to avoid excercising in the heat of the day.

‘‘There are some enthusiastic dogs who will chase the ball as soon as you throw it, regardless of the temperature,’’ he said.

He said there were several simple steps to help avoid heat stroke in pets.

‘‘Never leave pets in hot cars, and at home, always provide shade in your pet’s yard and provide fresh, cool water,’’ he said.

‘‘As an extra special treat, on these hot days, you can add ice blocks to your pet’s water bowl, or into a pet friendly soup or stock for something different.

‘‘Some of the treats can be frozen as well and are worth thinking about – they enjoy these as much as we do.’’

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