WHAT IS HEAT STROKE?
Heat stroke is an increase in body temperature (hyperthermia) that exceeds the animal’s normal temperature to reach a point where the brain no longer reacts and does not activate the body’s temperature regulation mechanisms. If left untreated it can lead to death.
In summer the temperatures are high, causing our bodies and those of our dogs to heat up If they are exposed to high ambient temperatures or exercise they can suffer heat stroke.
HOW DO DOGS AND CATS SWEAT?
Dogs and cats have their own refrigeration system. Dogs sweat through the pads of their feet although this refrigeration is insufficient. How they really get their body temperature down is through their mouths. When their brains detect that their temperature has risen above normal, the hot blood is pumped to their mouths allowing their bodies to cool through the evaporation of their saliva (hot air that has condensed). Cats have the same system, although they tend to do less exercise and get less excited which is why panting is less common in cats.
SYMPTOMS OF HEAT STROKE
From the least to the most serious, these are some of the symptoms of heat stroke: drooling, loss of balance or strength, convulsions, epilepsy and a state of shock. If you suspect heat stroke you need to get to the vet’s quickly, otherwise your pet could go into a coma and eventually die.
HOW TO AVOID HEAT STROKE IN DOGS AND CATS
· Make sure they always have fresh water available so they can cool themselves from the inside.
· Provide them with shade and cool places.
· NEVER leave them inside a car. Temperatures rise very quickly compared to the ambient temperature. You’ll find a useful table further down.
· Cool them down by wetting them with water.
· Don’t exercise on hot days.