Summer Heat Increases Risk for Heat Stroke, Warn Jacksonville Veterinarians

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., July 7, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Southside Animal Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida is warning pet owners about the increased risk for heat stroke this summer. According to the veterinary clinic, intense summer heat is already affecting pets' health, leading to dehydration and heat exhaustion, which increases the risk for heat stroke. Pet owners should take proactive measures to keep their pets cool and hydrated. These measures include exercising pets in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid midday heat, providing pets with continuous access to cool drinking water.

Jacksonville's hot and humid summer weather is increasing the risk for heat stroke in pets, warns Southside Animal Clinic. On behalf of the vet clinic, veterinarian Dr. Tim Holloway recently announced heat stroke prevention tips.

"Dehydration and heat stroke are two of the most common summer pet emergencies," said Dr. Holloway. "As part of our vet clinic's commitment to proactive veterinary care, we are working closely with pet owners to reduce the risk for these health problems."

Heat stroke occurs when a pet is unable to effectively regulate its body temperature. Since pets cannot sweat like humans, they depend upon panting to cool off. When the air temperature is too close to a pet's body temperature, however, panting ceases to be an effective cooling process. Hot, humid weather reduces panting's effectiveness as a means to regulate body temperature.

"Everything from being left in a parked car to exercise in the midday heat will increase a pet's risk for dehydration and heat exhaustion," said Dr. Holloway. "Pet owners must be vigilant about keeping pets cool and hydrated during the summer."

Dr. Holloway recommends keeping pets indoors during the midday heat and avoiding strenuous exercise. Pets should have constant access to cool, fresh drinking water. If pet owners will be gone for part of the day, Dr. Holloway suggests partially freezing the water bowl prior to leaving. The water will slowly melt, giving pets' access to a refreshing drink. If pets are outside, they must have access to shade and fresh water.

Dr. Holloway is also educating pet owners about the symptoms of heat stroke. Early warning signs include excessive panting, bright red gums and tongue, thick saliva, inability to stand up, and vomiting. Dr. Holloway also warns pet owners to never use cold water or ice packs to cool off a pet suspected with heat stroke, as this can actually worsen the condition. The best thing is to get the pet to the veterinary clinic so proper cooling measures can be taken.

"While some mild cases may be treated at home, pets that suffer a seizure or coma require immediate emergency medical attention to prevent death," said Dr. Holloway.

Pet owners may learn more about pet wellness care, including summer heat stroke prevention tips, by visiting the clinic's website, http://www.southsideanimalclinic.com

CONTACT: Southside Animal Clinic 888-667-5235Source:Southside Animal Clinic