Significant warming and the establishment of hot summer weather is a good reason for rest and summer mood. But don’t underestimate the impact of the sun and hot weather.
Along with the beneficial effects of hot and Sunny weather, such climatic features can create unforeseen problems associated with overheating of the body, which in particularly critical cases even leads to the death of animals.
The cause of heat stroke can be a prolonged stay of the animal in conditions of high ambient temperature, transportation in closed transport without access to sufficient fresh air, a large concentration of animals in a close room with poor ventilation, and many other factors in which the animal’s body is unable to maintain an optimal body temperature.
The cause of sunstroke can be prolonged exposure to direct sunlight in hot, windless weather, without the ability to hide in the shade. The symptoms and treatment in both cases are similar, so we will consider both diseases as one.
This problem begins to manifest itself even with a slight overheating. Birds, for example, in this state open their beaks and breathe rapidly, spreading their wings to the side. In large and medium-sized animals, there is a state of excitement, their pulse and breathing become faster (especially in dogs), sweating increases (excluding birds and dogs), and thirst appears. But their temperature is still kept within the physiological norm. Cats start opening their mouths and breathing rapidly.
If the effect of high temperature or sunlight has not stopped, the body is no longer able to cope with thermoregulation on its own, and the animal’s body temperature rises by 0.5 – 1.5°C. This, in turn, causes lethargy and depression. Often, even in strong light, animals can see dilated pupils.
When the body temperature increases by 2-2. 5°C,there is a loss of the orientation reflex (turning the head towards the source of a sharp sound, bright light, or a new smell). Blood pressure is greatly increased, as evidenced by clearly visible subcutaneous vessels. Animals almost stop responding to external stimuli (pronouncing nicknames, bites of blood-sucking insects, offered food, etc.), movements become reluctant, gait is shaky, coordination of body movements is disrupted.
If the impact of adverse conditions does not stop, then the General weakness progresses further, the animal tries to lie down and move less. There is a strong redness and the appearance of a bluish hue of all visible mucous membranes. Shortness of breath occurs, the heart slows down, blood pressure drops, and the pulse noticeably weakens. With the appearance of convulsions, the animal dies from suffocation and heart disorders.
What to do in these cases and how to help the animal? The best method of assistance is, of course, timely warning of the problem, for which you should predict the possibility of its occurrence in advance and take protective measures.
In hot weather, animals should not be left unattended, and it is also very important to ensure that animals have free access to water. In extreme heat, you can add salt to the water at the rate of 0.1 g per liter. Salt in this concentration does not cause extreme thirst and, in addition, contributes to water retention in the body, which effectively prevents dehydration of animals.
Working or exhibition animals should be given enough time to rest, and they should be given a timely drink of cool (about +20°C) water. It is recommended to reduce the load and reduce working hours during hot weather. If possible, change the work schedule: work more in the morning and evening hours, and move the rest time to lunch time. Stop working at the first symptoms of overheating (see above)
- Walk dogs in the early morning (before 7 am) and in the evening – after 19-20 hours.
- Transport animals in air-conditioned vehicles, avoiding excessive density.
- If necessary, spray the animals with water (you can use a water-alcohol solution to moisten the armpits and abdomen).
Good prevention from overheating is the organization of bathing animals in the shower or in natural reservoirs. Cats with long hair and long-haired dogs (if there are no contraindications) should be cut in a timely manner.
For first aid in case of strong overheating or the first signs of heat stroke – the dog should move into the shade, put on its side to pour the torso and the head under running water to moisten the stomach aqueous-alcoholic solution, for mucous membranes to drip valocordin or Korvalol (1 drop per kg body weight), if possible – to make enema with analgin solution (1 ml per 10 kg animal). Cats moisten the head and stomach with water, under the skin you can make Mexicor 0.1 ml per kg of body. If possible, take them to the clinic as soon as possible for professional assistance.
Prevention is much better than treatment, so in the heat, use spray guns with water or water-alcohol solution for dogs, and also stock up on cooling vests (sold in specialty stores). For cats, drinking water should be freely available.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.