We have been in the midst of a harsh winter, but believe it or not the warmer months are coming! Spring and summer bring us the opportunity for fun outdoor activities, but the warmer temperatures can also bring health risks for our pets that we should be cognizant of to keep them safe.
As the temperature outside increases, be aware that dogs (especially brachycephalic, or short-faced breeds, overweight pets, and large breeds) and even cats are at risk of hyperthermia, or overheating, which can lead to a potentially fatal heat stroke. Even though you may not feel overheated, our pets cannot thermoregulate as efficiently as we can, which leaves them at a higher risk. Although this is more common after physical exertion, it can also occur just from being outside in high ambient temperatures for an extended period of time.
Clinical signs of overheating can include, but are not limited to: respiratory distress, pale gums, collapse, inability to stand, or even seizures. If any of these are noted please get your pets in a cool environment and bring them to the closest veterinarian hospital right away. Tips to prevent this are to make sure to control and monitor their activity, ensure that they have access to air conditioning and water, and never leave pets in cars. Julia Nagel, DVM at Caring Hands of Ashburn, is interested in preventative medicine, emergency medicine, and neurology. She lives in Northern Virginia with her two adopted cats.
by Julia Nagel, DVM