Understanding Too Hot For Spot

Heat Stroke is NO Joke and Can be Deadly

The Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Too Hot for Spot annual campaign kicks off this month, and this week we’re focusing on heat stroke. Heat stroke is potentially fatal, which is why you should never leave your animal in a hot car as temperatures can soar to well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes. Here’s some Q & A on heat stroke basics.

Q. What is heat stroke?

A. Heat stroke is a serious condition caused by your pet’s body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to high temperatures.

Q. What makes cats and dogs susceptible to heat stroke?

A. Pets don’t sweat the way humans do, which makes them unable to cool their bodies efficiently in the heat. If their core body temperature rises too high, they run the risk of going into shock or organ failure.

Q. Which symptoms should I look for when trying to diagnose heat stroke in my pet?

A. More obvious symptoms include: difficulty breathing, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. More subtle symptoms include: heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, excessive thirst, and lethargy.

Q. Is there anything I can do until my pet receives veterinary attention?

A. While you wait for assistance, apply cool wet towels to the groin and “underarm” areas. If your pet is alert enough, try having them slowly sip cold water.

Q. How can I protect my cat or dog from getting heat stroke altogether?

A. Prevention is always your best bet. On hot days, leave your pet at home in a cool room with an accessible bowl of cold water. If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow and limit exercise to the morning or evening hours.

Every Second Counts

If you suspect that your pet is suffering from heat stroke, seek IMMEDIATE medical attention from a veterinarian.