Local Vet: Keep an eye on pets during the heat

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the heat index in Tennessee will skyrocket this week. Local vet Dr. Bryant Morton reminds pet owners to take precautions. {Graphic courtesy of NWS)

Unintentionally hurting your dog or cat is every pet owners nightmare. As temperature in Moore County head into the 90s this week with a heat index creeping towards 100, our local vet, Dr. Bryant Morton with Lynchburg Vet Hospital, reminds locals to monitor pets – especially those outdoors.

“On average, we see roughly 10 cases per year and if those are severely heat stressed – to the point of inability to stand and disoriented – the vast majority of those cases will not survive despite therapeutic efforts,” Dr. Morton says.

Heat exhaustion occurs when an animal’s core temperature reaches 103 degrees. At 106 degrees, heat strokes can occur causing multiple organ failure, permanent brain damage, coma, and death.

“Heat stroke causes severe metabolic damage in the body and usually results in permanent neurological damage or death,” Dr. Morton said.

Dr. Morton says that dogs and livestock are more likely than cats to suffer the affects of heat exhaustion or stroke.

“I have seen very few cats compared to dogs with heat exhaustion/stroke incidences. Livestock and horses can be affected especially if unable to get out of direct sunlight and heat but again more unlikely than dogs.”

To avoid heat-related illness in pets and livestock, be sure to provide them plenty of fresh, cool water and adequate shade. Dogs should never be left inside a car on a hot day as their core temperature can rise very quickly. Dog owners who walk pets should also be careful about exercising their animal in the heat of the day.

Signs of overheating include excessive panting, drooling, rapid heart beat, dry nose, non-responsive behavior, and vomiting. If you suspect your animal has overheated, you can reduce their core temperature by pouring cool (not cold) water over their head, stomach, armpits, and foot pads. You should never place a pet in an ice bath.

At the vet, treatments will include IV fluids, mild sedation, and oxygen therapy. If you are concerned about your pet or livestock, contact the Lynchburg Veterinary Hospital at 931-759-5500. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Leave a Reply