Jacksonville, TX., veterinarian Dr. Ira Stephens urges pet owners to protect their animals from heatstroke. Dr. Stephens, who runs the Animal Medical Clinic, says that this Texas summer weather can be dangerous for pets. While all furry pets are in danger of overheating, dogs and cats with thick, long coats, short-nosed dogs such as pugs, bulldogs and boxers, or pets that are overweight are particularly at risk. Dr. Stephens says that if not treated promptly, heatstroke can kill within minutes.
Dr. Stephens says heatstroke is an entirely preventable tragedy, but that his Jacksonville veterinary services team sees cases every year. "Heatstroke can come on very quickly for an animal, and they can't take off their fur coats to cool down. It's important for people to be aware that even temperatures in the 70s can cause a dog to overheat. Just because you're comfortable in the sun, doesn't mean your pet is comfortable. If your pet starts panting and tiring easily, get him out of the heat fast."
The veterinarian says that people should know the symptoms of heatstroke so they can act quickly to save their pets. Overheating pets pant and drool very heavily and exhibit dark red gums and tongue. They may also seem disoriented and lethargic; unable or unwilling to move or get up. If a dog's temperature goes over 104 degrees, immediate action is needed to stop the damage. Dr. Stephens says that in such cases, people need to bring their pets to the veterinary hospital immediately while trying to cool them. He says to use cool (not freezing) water to spray the pet and set him under a fan while underway.
Most importantly, Dr. Stephens says that heatstroke prevention is better than the cure. He explains that owners should keep pets in shady, well-ventilated areas on hot days and provide plenty of fresh, cool water for them to drink. He says that people should still walk their dogs for exercise, but to do it early in the morning, or later in the evening after the sun has gone down and the air is cooler. He recommends giving long-haired breeds a short haircut for summer, and to play in the grass instead of paved areas, since grass stays cooler. He also insists that people never leave their pets in parked cars as the heat inside can rise to deadly levels very quickly.
He adds, "Preventing heat stroke is easy and so much better than having a pet suffer at all. We have a veterinary services team here who has seen the consequences of heatstroke and knows how to help, but I urge people to keep their pets cool, watered and in the shade on hot days."
Dr. Ira Stephens provides both routine veterinary services and emergency animal services at the Animal Medical Clinic. The clinic website is http://www.animalmedicalclinicjacksonville.com.