Heat Stroke: How to Spot It, Treat It, and Prevent It

As the temperature continues to rise and we start enjoying the outdoors with our furry friends, our pets are at risk of developing heat stroke. While for us it is not a big deal to go for a walk or run a quick errand to the store, this can lead to our pets overheating due to a variety of factors. Pets have fewer sweat glands than their human counterparts; therefore, they cool themselves by panting. If your pet is overweight, a senior, or has underlying heart and lung problems, they are higher risk. Brachycephalic dogs such as bulldogs and pugs also have an increased risk due to their shorter oral and nasal cavities which are less efficient at cooling their body temperature.

Here are some signs of heat stroke to watch out for:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Incoordination
  • Vomiting or diarrhea, which may contain blood
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors

If you see any of these sign, immediately transfer them to a cool environment, such as your air conditioned home, and offer water. Place them in a bathtub of cool water. If you have a sprayer, you can spray their body (not their head) with cool water. Never place them in an ice bath. Remove your pet from the cool water once their temperature reaches 103 degrees and dry them off.

After cooling your pet with the above method, call our office and a veterinarian will relay instructions on what to do next- whether to transfer to an emergency hospital or come in for further treatment.

Here are some tips on how to avoid heat stroke this summer:

  • Avoid exercising your pet during hot weather days
  • Never leave your pet outside or unsupervised during hot weather
  • Never leave your pet alone for any period of time in a parked car even if it does not seem hot outside. Heat can build up quickly in a car.
  • Keep higher risk pets (senior pets, pets with heavy coats, pets with breathing problems) in air conditioned environments except for short bathroom breaks.

If you are unsure if your pet is experiencing heat stroke, please call our office! We are here to help you keep your fur babies safe!

Source: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/heatstroke-in-dogs/

Holiday Time With Family, Friends, and Furbabies!

Holiday meals and presents are wonderful traditions that warm our hearts and hold fond memories for years to come! As we enjoy this season of celebration and gift giving here are some tips for making this season even more enjoyable and avoiding some pitfalls that can cause stress or illness in your pets. Food changes, household changes, and routine changes can all contribute to anxiety and illness in our furry family members, but there are things we can do to minimize the disturbance and disruption.

Remember that treats are marketed to humans even though they are to be given to animals. This is an important piece of information because diet changes, even in the form of a treat or table food, can be very hard on pets. They can develop gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea or vomiting. In some cases only their appetite is adversely affected due to the discomfort. Sticking to more bland treats will still make your furry friend happy, but will not cause stomach upset. Avoid the spicy, many added flavors, or fatty treats that can so often cause illness. A small piece of turkey or other meat without skin or bones is a fine treat on the day of a special meal. Remember that your pet should be getting a taste rather than a meal when being given the treat of table food on special occasions. Give a very small amount and avoid dairy or fatty items. Some foods should be avoided completely due to their potential toxicity. Among these are onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, bones of any kind, and fatty foods.

Decorations can be a threat to pets as well. Cats can climb the Christmas tree or ingest the tinsel or other stringy decorations leading to surgery and emergency hospitals being a part of the holiday memory. Dogs can eat the chocolate candy present or ingest the toys left out resulting in an emergency visit of their own. Look around your house and think of the age and inclinations of the pets that are present. Remove any possible threat to them. Think outside the box! Our pets can be unpredictable. Put up cages or playpens to restrict access to items that are a concern. Keep Poinsettias out or reach if they are part of the holiday decorations. Keep puppies away from electric cords that (for some reason) they may decide to chew upon.

With the holidays come welcome guests as well as children coming back from college and, in some cases, their pets. Disruptions in homes are felt by pets, and these changes can be stressful. Make sure to provide an area where your pet can “get away from it all.” They can adjust to visiting people, excited children, and visiting pets, but sometimes they need a quiet place to relax after “entertaining” for a while. In some cases the changes are overwhelming, and we need to help a pet adjust to them with supplements or medications while the household changes are occurring. We have options to make the changes smoother or less stressful on everyone, because when our beloved pets are not themselves, this affects us also. Please let us know if you need help preparing for a visit from others or when going to visit others. We can suggest things that can really change the dynamic from anxiety to fun for all involved.

We wish you the most enjoyable holiday ever! Enjoy family and friends and delicious food! Let your animals be a part of it as seems best to you. Remember that they need you to take care of them and make the best decisions on their behalf. And if you run into trouble or need some advice, remember that we are here to help! Stop by our office today to pick up stocking stuffers of treats for 10% off to make your pet’s holiday merry and bright!

Dr. Lisa Gibson

Happy Veterinary Technician Week!

We are so excited to honor our amazing vet techs this week! Erin started with us as a volunteer and fell in love with working with animals. She’s been with us ever since! She sees vaccine appointments, assists in surgery, and keeps our clinics running smoothly!

Erin sees appointments on Thursday nights from 4:30-6:30pm. Call us to schedule your pet’s appointment with her today! Thank you for all you do, Erin!

Don’t Be Scared Away by Your Pet’s Bad Breath!

Did you know pets need to have their teeth brushed regularly like people to prevent dental disease? It is also recommended that they have a dental cleaning every 6-12 months to keep dental disease at bay. Dental disease has many forms- bad breath, visible tartar, and bleeding gums. If you see your pet experiencing any of these symptoms, a dental cleaning is needed. Dental disease can have lasting effects on your pet’s immune system and leaves your pet prone to infections that may affect other organs in their body.

Dental disease can be scary, but this October we are offering 10% off your pet’s dental cleaning and extractions! Call us to schedule your furry “boo” today!

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