Because I live in the country far off the beaten path, I’m ok with letting my cats out on a nice day when I’m home and can monitor them. Our weather, however, has gone from, “When will we ever see summer?” to “It’s too d.. hot to do anything.” in one short week.

As a result, by mid afternoon it’s in the low 100’s and I’m getting my cats in early. I usually let them stay out until around 6p, but not today. We’re going to see 100’s here for the next several days and that’s too hot for dogs and cats to be outside in the mid afternoon.

Last year, during a similar early summer heatwave, I couldn’t find my cat Rusty, but figured he was out under a bush in the woods somewhere. Found him about an hour ago and he was suffering from heat exhaustion. He had been lying still under a tree somewhere, but it wasn’t enough to keep him cool. He came wobbling up to me when I called and was drooling profusely.

I quickly got him inside, rubbed him down with a damp wash cloth, gave him some fluids and fed him. As soon as he got in to the air conditioned house, he began to recover.  Tomorrow, it’s supposed to be 104 here – a record for this time of year and they’re all staying in.

Anyway, I went on line to get a list of heat stroke/exhaustion symptoms for today’s blog.

This is blatantly lifted from a wonderful pet info web site:

http://www.healthypets.com. I did not write it. Some nice contributor to that site did and I thank them profusely for putting the info out there. Hope they don’t sue me.

“Working up a good sweat in the hot summer months may be good for you, but it can lead to heat stroke in your pet and kill him in a matter of minutes. Heat stroke is a dangerous condition that takes the lives of many animals every year.

Your pet’s normal body temperature is 99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If it rises to 105 or 106 degrees, the pet is at risk for developing heat exhaustion. If the body temperature rises to 107 degrees, your pet has entered the dangerous zone of heat stroke. With heat stroke, irreversible damage and death can occur.

Heat stroke is a condition arising from extremely high body temperature, which leads to nervous system abnormalities (such as lethargy, weakness, collapse or coma). Abnormally high body temperature (also called hyperthermia) develops after increased muscular activity with impaired ability to give off heat due to high heat and humidity or respiratory obstruction.

Heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps can occur after exposure to extremely high environmental temperatures. These illnesses occur in all mammals and can be prevented by taking proper precautions.

The temperature in a parked car can reach 160 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with partially opened windows. And any pet exercising on a hot, humid day, even with plenty of water, can become overheated. Overheating often leads to heat stroke. As a pet owner, you should know the dangers of overheating and what to do to prevent it. You should also know the signs of heat stroke and what to do if your pet exhibits those signs.

THOSE AT RISK:

  • Puppies/Kittens up to 6 months of age
  • Dogs that have a thick coat, heart and lung problems or a short muzzle are at greater risk for heat stroke .
  • Overweight pets.
  • Pets that are overexerted during exercise.
  • Pets that are ill or receiving certain medications.
  • Pets with short, wide heads like pugs, English bulldogs, Boston terriers.
  • Dogs with airway obstructive diseases.
  • Pets with pre-existing fever.
  • Pets that are dehydrated.
  • Pets with poor circulation due to cardiovascular or other underlying disease.
  • Older dogs (large breed dogs over 7 years of age, small breed dogs over 14 years of age)
  • Older cats
  • Cats/Dogs with heart disease.

SIGNS:

  • Rapid panting
  • Bright red tongue
  • Red or pale gums
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting – sometimes with blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Shock
  • Coma

If your pet is overheating, he will appear sluggish and unresponsive. He may appear disorientated. The gums, tongue and conjunctiva of the eyes may be bright red and he will probably be panting hard. He may even start vomiting. Eventually he will collapse, seizure and may go into a coma.

If your pet exhibits any of these signs, treat it as an emergency and call your veterinarian immediately. On the way to your veterinary hospital, you can cool your pet with wet towels, spray with cool water from a hose or by providing ice chips for your pet to chew (providing he is conscious).

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Monitor outdoor temperature and minimize your pet’s activity on hot, humid days.
  • Remove the pet from the hot area immediately.
  • Limit sun exposure during the hours of 11 AM to 3 PM on hot days.
  • Walk or exercise your pet in the morning or evening.
  • Keep your pet in a comfortable environment (air-conditioned room or partially open
  • windows with a breeze) during extremely hot weather.
  • NEVER leave your pet in a car (even with the windows partially rolled down) for any reason at any time. Leaving pets in a car during warm weather is the most common cause of heat stroke.
  • Provide your pet with plenty of fresh water and plenty of shade. Take extra care with puppies and kittens.
  • If possible, allow your pet to acclimate gradually to high temperatures. Heat illness is common in the spring when the animal has not had sufficient time to acclimate to the warmer temperatures.
  • After traveling to a warmer climate, allow your pet several days to become acclimated before allowing any vigorous exercise.
  • Make sure outside cats have access to shade.
  • Allow your cat to have access to cooler areas of the house”


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