COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 24, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Summer heat can be dangerous and even deadly for dogs and cats that develop heatstroke -- a condition in which body temperature rises feverishly, shocking organs and the circulatory system, reports Hamilton Road Animal Hospital. Pet owners should not lock a dog or cat inside a car for even a short time on a hot day. Cracking a window open won't keep heat from escalating inside a vehicle. Heat stroke can also be avoided by ensuring that pets have access to fresh water at all times, especially during outdoor activities.
"The American Veterinary Medical Association says that if outdoor air temperature is 80 degrees F, the temperature in a car rises nearly 20 degrees in 10 minutes," says Dr. Michael Turley of Columbus, Ohio's Hamilton Road Animal Hospital. "That causes heat stress, which leads rapidly to heatstroke, even if a pet owner isn’t gone for long.”
Dr. Turley warns that pet owners should also be careful about other situations that may overexpose dogs and cats to heat. These include leaving pets outdoors without sufficient water and shade, allowing homes to overheat while the owner is away, and exercising dogs during the hottest times of day.
Unlike people, dogs and cats don't perspire. Their bodies have a harder time releasing heat, which they accomplish by panting. Although, Dr. Turley notes that heatstroke is less likely for cats because they spend more time indoors and have the ability to dissipate heat by licking their fur.
Signs of heatstroke that owners may observe include dizziness, rapid panting, thick saliva, seizures, weakness and vomiting. Cats may groom excessively to cool off and appear restless as they search for cool resting places.
If it is not possible to immediately rush to an animal hospital, owners can help pets by getting them out of the sun and into a cool, but not cold, shower in a bathtub or by gently rinsing them outdoors with a garden hose.
Applying a cold pack -- such as a packet of frozen vegetables -- to a dog's head or a cat's groin also lowers body temperature as do cool, damp towels applied to the pet's body. Additionally, it is important to let them drink small amounts of cool water frequently.
"But the best intervention is prevention," Dr. Turley says. "Heatstroke is avoidable by paying attention to basic needs such as water and comfortable shelter and also seeking veterinary care quickly when heat stress occurs."
Hamilton Road Animal Hospital, 1129 South Hamilton Road, is a full-service clinic providing services ranging from vaccinations to surgery. They are open six days a week and serve Columbus, Whitehall, Bexley, Reynoldsburg, Gahanna, Pickerington and Groveport. Pet owners can contact the hospital online at http://hamiltonrdanimalhospital.com, or by calling (614) 239-0027.
Hamilton Road Animal Hospital, (614) 239-0027
Source:Hamilton Road Animal Hospital