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Vet Tech Tid Bits

Welcome to our new page! We are excited to showcase commonly diagnosed conditions and diseases our pets present with and answer some of the frequently asked questions we get regarding these problems.

Summer In the South...

When we think of problems our pets face in the summer months heat exhaustion leading to heat stroke is at the forefront of our minds.  Since dogs and cats don't sweat like humans, they are more easily overheated than people.  Heat exhaustion happens when the body temperature rises above normal ranges and the pet becomes unable to regulate their own body temperature. This condition can be easily prevented , even during the dog days of summer!

Preventing Heat Exhaustion:

  • Make sure pets do not spend too much time outside during the heat of the day. Try necessary potty breaks only, sticking to cool, shady areas for these walks. Limit play time to early morning and evening times when the temps are cooler.

  • Make sure your pets have plenty of cool, fresh water throughout the day. Since dogs only have sweat glands in their paw pads, drinking water is one of the ways they keep their body temp regulated when the heat is high.

  • Keep your house nice and cool for your fur babies and keep them indoors as much as possible.

  • Boarding your pets or having an experienced in home pet sitter during summer vacations may be helpful in preventing a condition such at heat exhaustion. Leaving your pets at home for someone to come check in a couple of times a day could be risky if the person is not well informed about the dangers of heat exhaustion. Check to make sure whoever is caring for your pets during the hot summer months is well versed in the causes and treatment of heat exhaustion.

  • Never leave your pet in a parked car! Even with the windows cracked the temps can rise to deadly numbers within just 10 minutes!

Recognizing Heat Exhaustion:

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing. Brachycephalic breeds (flat faces), like Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, and Shih Tzu have an extremely difficult time breathing when the weather is hot because they cannot breath and pant as efficiently as dogs with a longer muzzle. 

  • Dehydration can be identified by a dry nose, lethargy (tiredness), sunken eyes, and tacky gums.

  • Excessive Drooling, especially drool that is thicker than usual.

  • Fever: While our furry companions run on the warmer side than we do, a body temperature of over 103 degrees is considered abnormal and time for action.

  • Their gums tell you a lot! If your pet's gums are a different color than normal, that could indicate a problem. Bright red, gray, purple, or bluish gums could be a sign that your pet is having an internal issue.

  • A lack of urine. If you are seeing that your pet is having trouble producing urine or only producing small amounts, this could be a sign of dehydration related to heat exhaustion.

  • Rapid Pulse. A normal pulse rate varies based on the size of your pet but if you feel your dog or cat has a higher than usual heart rate that could be the result of a problem on the horizon and it's time to take a look at what's going on.

  • Muscle Tremors: This may look like shivering or shaking as if they are cold.

  • Lethargy and weakness. This may be characterized by your pet wanting to nap more than normal, but could even presents as trouble standing up and walking.

  • Vomiting and diarrhea. If your pet is having abnormally soft stools with blood, it is a big warning sign of heath exhaustion that could be developing into heat stroke.

  • Dizziness. If you dog or cat seem to be having trouble walking in a straight line or bumping into things they could be suffering from dehydryation associtated with overheating. .

What to do:

  • Get your pet to a cooler area immediately.

  • Begin to lower their body temperate by wetting them with cool (not cold) water. The ideal areas that will assist with cooling the fastest are the paws and ears. Cooling too quickly can be dangerous, so be sure to do this slowly. 

  • Place a fan in front of your pet.

  • As your pet cools down, provide small amounts of cool water to drink.

  • Call your Veterinarian as soon as possible to let them know you are on the way.

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