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Summer Heat Concerns For Your Pets

By Dr. Doug Pernikoff, DVM

Summertime draws all of us out to be more active, exercising through yard work, or walking and jogging around our special haunts. It is important to understand a few points regarding our pets’ well being.

Heat stroke is one of the primary concerns we have this time of year. It can take only minutes of moderate intense sun/heat exposure to drive your pets into a life threatening scenario. I warn my clients that leaving your dog in the car for only 10 minutes, with ambient temperature in the range of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, is enough to cause severe disease, or even death.

And, I also explain to folks that most breeds of dogs are really not designed for long distance running. They are sprinters by design. Thereby, animals encouraged to jog with their owners are at a greater risk for heat exhaustion.

The signs of this terrible condition can be mild, showing excessive panting with or without hyper salivation; to extreme degrees wherein your pet becomes disorientated, weakened, vomiting, or even collapses into unconsciousness. Body temperatures can rise quickly from a normal range of 102.5 or so, up to over 105-107 degrees Fahrenheit, or greater.

HEAT STROKE is a true pet emergency! If possible, take a digital thermometer along on your run and prepare by knowing where you can access water and/or ice. If you suspect a problem exists, best to rush to your veterinarian, or head directly to one of several emergency clinics around the St. Louis metroplex. Excessive heat damages muscle tissues that can clog up the kidney, causing kidney shutdown and toxic changes to follow.

Please be alert and cautionary as you manage your pets in the heat of the season, particularly through July and August. Visit with your veterinarian to discuss other precautionary actions you can implement. And, of course, limit your exercise periods to early dusk and dawn to avoid the heat of the day.

Fondly, Dr. Doug Pernikoff
Clarkson-Wilson Veterinary Clinic
Vet Pet Rescue
www.clarksonwilsonvet.com

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