Look after your mates as heatwave hits

The caring crew at Border Vets have urged pet owners to take care of their "mates" during the hot spell.
The caring crew at Border Vets have urged pet owners to take care of their "mates" during the hot spell.

Pet owners have been urged to take care of their best friends as the mercury screams towards 40degree and above.

Today’s (Saturday) forecast is for the temperature to reach a sweltering 42.

It’s a dangerous time for people, and pets, according to Eliza McInnerne from Border Vets.

“With temperatures in the 40s it is important to remember the dangers of heatstroke for our pets,” Eliza  said.

At particular risk are very old or very young pets, long-haired or brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds, overweight, unfit animals or pets with a previous history of heatstroke.

“Any pet with a condition that affects their breathing has reduced ability to dissipate heat. Underlying cardiovascular disease can cause pets who seem otherwise fine to overheat very quickly,” she said.

“Heatstroke can affect pretty much all body systems with possible devastating consequences, including shock, coma and death.”

And she has some tips for stock owners as well.

“Heat can be a big issue for stock particularly intensively managed ones.

“For example, we once attended a feedlot where over 2000 cattle had died over about a week. The final diagnosis was heat stress.

“Shade is extremely important, as is a breeze.

“Wetting stock is often counterproductive as the increased humidity traps heat.

“Animals on pasture can also be affected, so if farmers are able to move them somewhere shadier, avoid moving them during the heat of the day,” she said.

Prevention

  Have plenty of water available in several different areas

  Make sure your pet (or stock) can access shady/cool spots

  Avoid exercise during the heat of the day

Signs of overheating

  Panting, hypersalivation

  Bright red or darker mucous membranes (gums)

  Changes in mentation, seizures, muscle tremors

If you suspect your animal may have overheated, do not try to use ice to cool them down.

Use cool water and bring them to the vet immediately. Be careful not to spray water in their face in case they inhale it.