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While the weather this year has been, cold, wet then hot again... whether you're travelling or not, heat is a big factor in the health of our pets - in this case dogs! And we were reminded of that recently sitting in the shade under a tree having coffee with friends the other day when Kaye realised she had copped a nasty sunburn! 

Lesson learned – the hard way – That protective shade of the tree moved!!   it’s also a timely reminder for us and other pet owners to plan how to provide adequate shelter, water and cooling mats or jackets to protect our pets from heat stress or the even worse condition Heat Stroke.

To help us and help you - we called on a friend who’s treated many pets for heat stress to give us her best advice on what to do if you suspect your best friend is heat affected - Dr Karyn Wesselingh from the Animal Referral Hospital in Baulkham Hills Sydney

PREFER TO READ?: Full Transcript here:

 

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TRANSCRIPT:

BRIAN:

Joining us on the line we've got Karyn Wesseling

KAYE:
Dr Karyn!!

BRIAN:
I'm sorry… Dr Karyn Wesseling is an emergency vet with the Animal Referral Hospital at Baulkham Hills.   G’day Karyn,

Dr KARYN:
Hello…  Nice to talk to you again as always.

KAYE:
Now Karyn, have you seen in particular an increase in dogs  affected by heat this year?  

Dr KARYN:
Without question! Yes  Yes!

KAYE:
In what way?

Dr KARYN:
A lot more dogs being left out in backyards and people going off  to work, animals being taken for walks in the heat.  Not so many cars, but certainly this year,  I think because the weather is being exceptionally hot and  then it's cold and then exceptionally hot, and despite the media giving us lots of information about  predicted hot days, people don't seem to be realising that they  need to provide their animals with shelter and water.

BRIAN:
Well, that's a very good point because as you say, one day it can  be raining and you’ve got your Ugg boots on & your dressing gown which I had on the other day, which is a great look!

KAYE:
It's a picture nobody wants to see !! 😊  But on a serious note, you get up in the morning, you think, Oh,  Yeah, it's not too bad and particularly for dogs that live outside  and there are quite a lot of those, you go to work and you think  nothing of it and you come home and you poor dog's un-well.

So what are the signs & symptoms that people might see for dogs that are heat affected as opposed to affected by heat stroke?  

Dr KARYN:
Well, I think in the first instance, when they first get stressed with heat, they'll start panting and their heart rate will go up and they can become quite red, dribbling, salivating that sort of thing and  the panting, particularly for most people, is what they notice.

But as the heat stress gets worse, the symptoms change and  then they start to become weak. They collapse, they can start vomiting, bleeding, and they can  start seizuring.

KAYE:
Oh, dear ☹

KAYE:
So that's the worst case scenario, but even with the early symptoms, what does all of that heat like  being in a sauna and not being able to get out of it?  What does that do to the animal?  

Dr KARYN:
Well, as the body temperature goes up, obviously all of the cells  in the body heat up. It's basically like sticking a piece of meat in an oven and that it  changes everything and it damages all of the cells in the body.  And sometimes that damage is irreversible.  

KAYE:
So if people think they have a heat affected  possibly heat stroke patient… an animal,  what should they do?  What's the very first things they should be doing?  

Dr KARYN:
They need to cool it down fast!  So obviously they need to provide cold water, and they can  put it into a cold bath, but just as good is to use just cold towels that have been put in cold water and rung out and put them over the dog and put them in front of a fan so it evaporates the water from the towel .

KAYE:
So the idea is to cool them down, but not too quickly  So don't stick them in a bath of ice cubes or something like that. It needs to be cold water, but not freezing… because we did that with one of our dogs years ago in  the heat, Cosmo (God bless him) and I put wet towels all over him and then  put him in front of the fan.  Fortunately, it wasn't too serious and things were okay, but the next best thing, of course, is to what?  Go and see you?  

Dr KARYN:
Yes, obviously!  So if your dog, has collapsed or appears dull, not responding to you or seizuring  or vomiting or anything like that, then they need to get it to an  emergency vet straight away or to a   veterinary surgeon straight away.

BRIAN:
Yeah, I think certainly your first port of call because veterinarians,  your local GP vet knows the animal  Get them there first.  Give them a call and tell them the symptoms and he or she may  well then say, listen, you need to go to an emergency hospital  somewhere.

So really, what we're trying to do is just, I guess, make people  aware of not only the causes which are pretty obvious, I hope,  but certainly the symptoms, what to look out for and what to do  as quickly as possible.

Dr KARYN:
And dogs are going to pant in the heat anyway  That's what they do to lose heat.  In fact, the only thing they can do to lose heat because they  can only sweat from their pores & from their nose unlike us, so your dogs are always going to pant when they're hot.

But if they appear to be panting and in distress  and if they're not responding to you, if they seem in any way, just  dull, you know, when your dog’s not greeting you happy and  wagging its tail and it seems uncomfortable and distressed, that's  when you should become concerned and then things get them  into the cold and cool them down.

KAYE:
Okay?  And not just dogs either?... Rabbits  Guinea pigs  Cats?  

Dr KARYN:
Yes, indeed  A rabbit, especially small pets like Guinea Pigs and Rabbits  that spend a lot of time they actually live outside. They are particularly at danger because often people leave them  out in their little hutches during the day and haven't even  thought how they're going to get affected by the heat so they will die very quickly in the heat.

One thing you can do is dogs often don't like ice cubes floating around in their water. You can actually  freeze water in a bowl, and then put  water on the top of the ice. So then they're not disturbed by the ice cubes floating around in  the water .

KAYE:
And I was at a dog show recently.  It was in the winter time, and I bought it.  I haven't used it yet, but I'm going to and it has an ice cube thingy that goes underneath the actual bowl so that'll keep the water  extra cool, because right now as we're speaking it's 40 degrees outside!

Dr KARYN:
Yeah, Yes, of course.

KAYE:
And our little Chica… she's inside with the conditioning and that's where all good pets should be!  

Dr KARYN:
Yes, that’s actually where all my four animals are at the moment  in fact!  

BRIAN:
Oh well that’s where they should be…  Well Dr Karyn Wesselingh, it's lovely chatting with you again and let's hope that we can chat  about some happier events  - maybe some animals perhaps that you guys end  up saving on a daily basis at the Animal Referral Hospital  

Dr KARYN:
Okay, thank you, Brian & Kaye

 

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