Early Summer is a time when we often see cases of heat stroke & related problems such as heart failure or respiratory distress.
This is due to owners being caught out by the variable weather and suddenly having a hot day out of the blue. We especially see problems with dogs kept in cars or in conservatories, where the environment magnifies the problem.
Dogs are especially susceptible to heat stroke as unlike humans they only sweat from their feet, to cool down they have to be able to pant and also be able to drink water.
Signs of heat stroke can range from excessive breathlessness and listlessness through to full blown collapse and even death.
Certain breeds and pets are mores susceptible and extra care should be taken with elderly, overweight, dogs with pre-existing heart problems or breeds with shorter noses such as Bulldogs, but remember any dog or other pet can be effected.
If you are concerned about heat stroke phone the vet immediately for advice and an emergency consultation, normally the hyperthermia can be controlled using intra venous fluids, nursing and drugs, especially if we can see the patient soon enough.
Prevention is always the best way to keep your pets safe and involves awareness from owners, never leaving pets in cars or behind glass when the temperature is very hot, always providing water, a shady spot and some ventilation for your pet.
If you think they may be slightly overheating then use a water spray or wet cold towel to cool them down while providing a fan to help keep the air moving.
Also never work/over exercise your dog in hot weather- where possible wait until dusk & dawn to go for your walks and playtime.
Always carry some water & a bowl with you if you are exercising in hot weather and try to keep to shady walks such as in the woods rather than open spaces.
Giving your dog’s ice cubes to eat, frozen treats (such as stuffed Kong’s) or placing ice in your dog’s water bowl to cool it will cause them no harm.
The only time that ice or cold water will potentially cause harm to your dog is if it is used in an attempt to cool a pet who is suffering from heatstroke. If you suspect that your pet is overheating or suffering from heat stroke, please contact us immediately.
We ask that pet owners take care in this weather by not walking your dog during the day when the temperature is excessive.
Please do not place muzzles on your pet during this weather as it will inhibit a dogs ability to pant.
Care should be taken walking very young or older pets (particularly if they have a condition just as mobility issues, heart or lung disease or are overweight) and particular care should be taken with the short nosed breeds such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, French bulldogs etc
Eating ice cubes or not going for a walk will not kill your dog, but heat stroke might
Keeping your rabbit cool
It is especially important to remember to keep an eye on your rabbit during these periods of intense summer UK heat.
Rabbits do not tolerate heat well and can actually die from overheating. Each rabbit will tolerate heat differently and it is important to check on your rabbit daily.
Here are some top tips:
* Make sure bunny is out of the sun. If they are confined to a cage or small room for part of the day, be sure that there is plenty of shady space for the bunny to rest.
* Set up a circulating fan that will breeze past your rabbit without blowing directly on him all day. Be sure to bunny-proof the fan cord!
* Spray the rabbit’s ears with cool water mist. Rabbits lose heat through their ears and wetting them will help keep the rabbit cool.
* Brush out excessive fur. If you have a long haired rabbit, consider cutting your bunny’s coat short for the hot summer months.
* Fill 1 or 2 litre soft drink plastic bottles with water and freeze them. Once frozen, put the frozen water bottle in the bunny’s cage with a flannel around it so he can lean against it to keep cool. Keep a few of these on hand in your freezer.
* Be sure your rabbit is getting his fair share of watery vegetables to help keep him hydrated. Be sure they are safe vegetables such as cucumber.
* Place a ceramic tile or marble square in the cage or in bunny’s favourite place. The marble or tile stays cool for them to lie on. Never leave these in the sun – they’ll get boiling hot!
* Be especially watchful of rabbits over 5 years old or ones who are overweight or slow to move. These rabbits tend to be more sedentary and may not get up to drink water if they are too hot. This can quickly lead to dehydration which can lead to death or other health problems.
* If it’s unbearably hot and your house is cooler than outside, bring your rabbits indoors if possible, and let them run around outside once the hottest part of the day has passed.
What do I do if my rabbit suffers from heat stroke?
DO NOT submerge him in cold water. This could place the rabbit in shock.
Dampen his ears and body with cool water.
GET HIM TO US OR AN EMERGENCY VET IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT WAIT!
What other concerns are there in warm weather?
The main concern is flystrike. As the weather warms, flies can lay their eggs and kill a healthy animal who has temporary loose faeces or who has a mucky bottom.
At particular risk are old, disabled, long-haired or overweight rabbits as well as those with overgrown teeth who are not able to clean themselves.
Within 24 hours, rabbits can enter a dangerous state of shock due to a maggot infestation on their coat. Moisture, warmth, and odour all attract flies.
If open sores are present, or if thick fur is dampened with urine or faeces, flies will head toward these warm incubation areas to lay their eggs.
The chances are greater if the rabbit is outside, but it only takes one fly indoors to do the damage. Keep your bunny dry and (if needed) possibly even shaved are the most critical preventative steps.
Talk to us about the best products to use to help prevent flystrike.
Enjoy this lovely summer heat but always be aware of your pet’s extra needs!
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In line with current RCVS guidelines we are now able to catch up on our routine vaccinations & boosters, starting with the pets who are overdue by more than 1 month
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