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Everything You Need to Know About Heatstroke in a Dog or Cat from your Austin Veterinarian

If you're a pet owner, be extra vigilant this summer season about protecting your animal against heatstroke. The most important things you can do is learn the signs and symptoms of this potentially fatal condition, ways to prevent it, and what to do if you believe your pet is overheating.

Pet Heatstroke

What Is Heatstroke?

Heatstroke is a severe case of hyperthermia (increased body temperature). This sudden and extreme rise in body temperature can happen in your pet if it is unable to cool itself. Kittens, puppies, and senior animals are at an increased risk for heatstroke. Cats and dogs with chronic health problems are also at an increased risk.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Heatstroke? 

Pets suffering from heatstroke will typically exhibit the following signs or symptoms: 

  1. Excessive panting and drooling
  2. Lethargy and/or difficulty walking 
  3. A change in mental status or behavior (they may seem "loopy", depressed, or unusually aggressive)
  4. Bloody stool or vomit
  5. Bright red or pale gums
  6. Thick saliva that looks sticky and white

In severe cases, heatstroke can lead to seizures, coma, organ failure, and/or death. It should be considered a medical emergency and treated as such. Remember, too, that if it is hot enough outside for your pet to suffer from heatstroke, it is also hot enough for your pet to burn its paws on the hot sidewalk or asphalt!

When to Call Our Veterinarian in North Austin

If your pet exhibits any of the above signs or symptoms, then call a veterinarian in North Austin right away. At Dessau Vet Clinic, our staff is standing by and ready to help you in any pet emergency. 

In addition to giving us a call, be sure to remove your pet from the heat and find a cool place for her to rest. You can give her cool (not cold) water, and consider placing a cool damp blanket or towel on top of her. Based on how your animal responds to your basic first aid, our staff will be able to tell you if you should bring your animal in for treatment or not. 

Simple Ways You Can Prevent Your Cat or Dog From Developing Heatstroke This Summer

Preventing heatstroke is much easier than treating it. Here are 5 ways you can keep your cat or dog safe no matter how high the temperature outside rises:

  1. Don't leave your pet locked in the car. Temperatures can rapidly rise to extremely high temperatures inside a car on even mild summer days. 
  2. Don't leave your pet outside unsupervised on hot days. If you do allow your pet to go outside, make sure it has easy access to cool water and shade. 
  3. Don't walk your dog during the hottest part of the day. Save any exercise or playtime for indoors or during early morning or late evening hours when the hot Texan sun isn't blaring. 
  4. Ensure your pet is in good health by scheduling a routine pet wellness exam. 

Schedule an Appointment with our Austin Veterinarian

Do you want to learn more about heatstroke in pets or are interested in our other veterinary services? Call Dessau Vet Clinic now at (512) 339-3177 to speak with one of our friendly staff members!