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Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke in Pets: Do You Know the Difference?

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The Spirit of Bo, returning to remind you all of the importance of how the heat can adversely affect your pets.  Now that summer is upon us and the temperatures are rising, we may experience some effects of the heat.  Even our pets can succumb to signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke it they are not given proper care and attention.

What is the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke?  According to information obtained from Suwanee Animal Hospital in Suwanee, Georgia, heat exhaustion is the result of hyperthermia, which is an increase in body temperature, resulting in possible lethargy and tremors.  When these signs involve the brain and nervous system, it is known as heat stroke.

Be ever vigilant in these warmer months for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke in your pets.  Signs of heat exhaustion can include increased respiratory rate and/or effort; diarrhea and vomiting; overall lethargy and weakness; and confusion.

Signs of a heat stroke include all of the above as well as seizures and/or severe drooling. Your pet can also become unresponsive or comatose; and he might collapse.

So, how can you prevent any of this?  At first, let your pet slowly acclimate to the increased temperatures before allowing him to exercise.  Be sure to keep a fresh supply of water for your pet.  When outdoors, seek out shade or other cooled areas; and most important – and I will scream this at the top of my lungs – DO NOT LEAVE PETS IN THE CAR ON WARM DAYS! EVER! While it may be 75 or 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside the car can get well above 100.

Also, do not let your pet walk on hot pavement during the heat of the day!!!

If you believe your pet is suffering from heat stroke or heat exhaustion, call your vet immediately, and in the interim, use ice packs or cool water applied to the skin to keep your pet cool.  Keep him on a cool surface and apply some alcohol to the pads of his paws.  Make sure you get to your veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

I know this is a serious post, but it is a necessary one.  You don’t enjoy being over-heated and neither does your pet.

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