Hyperthermia is an extremely serious condition, and one that pet parents must be aware of because of how dangerous it can be and how rapidly it can progress
Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) June 06, 2011
The record heat that has been experienced in recent weeks across the United States has brought with it the annual list of tips to keep cool to prevent dangerous overheating. However, these tips don’t just apply to human beings but also to the more than 71 million pets nationwide. Petplan, America’s top rated pet insurance company, reminds pet parents to take extra precaution in keeping pets safe from excessive summer heat and to be keenly aware of any distress that a pet may exhibit due to an increased body temperature.
Dogs and cats face many of the same dangers associated with hot weather that humans do, but the most dangerous is heat stroke, or hyperthermia. While humans have the ability to cool down in the heat by sweating, our household pets lack this ability. Panting helps to cool them down a little, but their body temperature can soar rapidly when exposed to our sweltering summer heat. In severe cases, pets can experience brain damage – and even die – if exposed to high temperatures even for just a short time.
“Hyperthermia is an extremely serious condition, and one that pet parents must be aware of because of how dangerous it can be and how rapidly it can progress,” says Dr. Jules Benson, Vice President of Veterinary Services for Petplan. “A dog's normal temperature can get up to around 102.5 degrees but when it reaches 105-110 degrees, this can lead to coma, organ dysfunction and even permanent brain damage. Signs of heat distress can be subtle, but the early signs are pets appearing distressed or restless with excessive panting and salivation. As the condition progresses, pets become increasingly unsteady and can even lose consciousness.” Petplan offers pet parents these tips to help keep dogs and cats safe from the summer heat:
- Never leave a dog unattended in a vehicle, even on days that don't seem too hot. In 2005, Stanford University Medical Center conducted a study that showed the temperature inside a vehicle, even with windows cracked, rose an average of 40 degrees in an hour, most of that within the first 30 minutes.
- Always have fresh water available for your pets during hot days. If embarking on outdoor activities, remember to take extra water.
- Never leave a dog outdoors in hot or humid conditions without making sure they have adequate shade and water (and consider how the sun will move around your yard or porch - a few hours can change the shade scenario considerably).
- Don't take your dog out to exercise during peak times of day. Plan any outdoor activities either early (before 11am) or late (after 6pm).
- If your pet exhibits signs of hyperthermia move them to a cool, shaded environment, preferably with a fan that can blow directly on them. Start to cool your pet down by placing cool, wet towels on the back of the neck, in the arm pits and in the groin area. Most importantly – seek immediate veterinary care - even if your pet shows significant improvement with the care you are able to provide, intravenous fluid therapy and professional monitoring and support are often crucial to a full recovery.
“The veterinary care required to treat a severely hyperthermic pet is extensive and often immensely expensive, especially without pet health insurance,” says Benson. “Taking preventative steps to reduce the chances of a hyperthermic event aren’t just good for the well-being of your pet, but also for the health of your finances.”
For more information on protecting your pet from summer heat or to learn more about pet health insurance, please visit http://www.gopetplan.com.
As America's top-rated pet insurance company, Petplan offers customizable policies to meet any coverage requirements and budget for pets of all/any age. Petplan is the only insurer to cover all hereditary and congenital conditions for the life of the pet – without dollar limits per condition. For information, visit http://www.GoPetplan.com or call 1-866-467-3875.