Heat Stroke… A Silent Killer

dog looking out of a car windowIt may be a comfortable day in Stillwater but that doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous to leave dogs and cats inside a vehicle for even a short period of time. According to an article released by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and continue to escalate from there. Cracking the windows makes no difference. Add that intense increase in temperature and a fur coat and that can spell disaster. Veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward took it upon himself to demonstrate the fact that temperatures inside a vehicle can reach catastrophic highs quickly. He spent 30 minutes inside a car with all the windows cracked and recorded a YouTube video accounting this experience.

What should you do if you see an animal in distress inside a hot vehicle? The Humane Society of the United States offers the following suggestions. Take down the make, model and license number of the vehicle. Notify the managers of the businesses in the area to try and locate the owner. If the owner is not able to be found, call the local authorities or animal control immediately and stay next to the vehicle until help arrives.

Also, it is important to be mindful of your pet’s safety on excessively hot and humid days. Pet’s paw pads can become burned on hot pavement. Try to stay on the grass when walking days like these. Exercise your pet in the early morning or at dusk when temperatures are more mild. Have water available during your walk to keep your dog hydrated and know your dog’s physical limits. Consider a run through the sprinkler as a substitute for a walk on extra sultry days.

For helpful tips on how to recognize signs of heat stroke, and preliminary measures to take in case of a heat related emergency, please reference last summer’s blog article by Dr. Garlie. The staff at Rivertown Animal Hospital stands ready to provide the best care to your furry family member. If you suspect your pet has suffered a heat stroke it is imperative to bring them in to your veterinarian or the emergency clinic immediately for the best prognosis.

Rebecca Allyn, CVT