Heatstroke - What should I do?

It's shaping up to be a hot hot hot summer this year, and your pet is not immune. Heatstroke is a very serious, life threatening condition that causes damages to your pets internal organs - if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke they require urgent treatment.

What to look for:

  • High body temp (39 degrees or more)

  • Hot to touch

  • Vomiting

  • Excessive drooling

  • Rapid panting

  • Cat only - panting in general, cat's should never pant

  • Breathing difficulty

  • Distress

  • Loss of coordination

  • Weakness

  • Collapse

What to do:

  1. Remove your pet from the hot environment immediately

  2. Apply or spray tepid/cool water onto their fur and skin. Then apply a fan/fanning to maximise heat loss. Wetting down the area around your pet can also help. Don’t use ice-cold water or ice as this may worsen the problem

  3. Then take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital immediately

  4. Heatstroke is an emergency – always see a vet. Even if your pet looks like they may be recovering or you just suspect they might have heatstroke they should still always be checked by a vet

Why your pet needs to be seen by a vet:

  1. Heatstroke is an emergency and needs to be assessed and treated by veterinary professionals

  2. Treating heat stroke at home is very risky. It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of home remedies and there is always a risk that they are ineffective or over correcting your pets temperature, which causes further issues

  3. There is no way to access your pets organ function at home, so even if your pet appears to be improving internal damage might have been sustained

  4. Signs your pets condition is worsening might be missed as they are not being assessed or monitored by professionals

What a vet will do to your pet:

  • Putting your pet on a drip (intravenous fluids) to cool and rehydrate them

  • Cooling treatments e.g. cooling enemas

  • Supplemental oxygen

  • Medications as required

  • Blood tests to check organ function

  • Ongoing monitoring (including rental temperature checks) and treatment as required

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