Aldie Vet Heat Blog Post 2

The Dog Days of Summer

Heat Exhaustion vs Heat Stroke

Now that we are in the depth of Summer, we wanted to take a minute to discuss a topic that is completely avoidable, Heat Stroke.  Heat stroke is a serious and dangerous problem that can happen to our four-legged children.  It is something that can happen very quickly and is 100% preventable.

Animals do not sweat as humans do.  Although animals do have sweat glands in the pads of their feet, their primary way of cooling themselves is by panting.

Recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion is imperative to prevent heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion is defined as a body temperature over 103.0°.  Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Excessive Panting
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Dark red tongue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lethargy or depression

If Heat exhaustion is not treated your pet is at risk of having a heat stroke.  Heat stroke is defined as a body temperature over 105.8°.  Heat stroke IS A LIFE THREATENING CONDITION.

Signs of heat stroke include but are not limited to:

  • Obtunded, or large, hard abdomen (caused by excessive panting)
  • Change in mentation – unaware of who you are or where they are
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Petechiae or pin point bruises noted on gums or skin
  • Pale/White gums
  • Rapid heart rate

Short-snouted dogs (pugs, bull dogs, etc.), dogs with long hair (light or dark in color), or obese animals are at higher risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Recognizing and treating the signs of heat exhaustion is the key to keeping your pet from having a heat stroke.   If you see any of the signs above call your veterinarian immediately.  In the mean time, place cool clothes in their arm pits, between their hind legs, or submerge in a cool bath.  NEVER submerge in ice water as this will cause the body temperature to drop too rapidly and can cause shock.  Cool circulating air, such as a fan, can also help.  Offer small amounts of cool water, too large of an amount can make them vomit.

Keeping your pet’s time limited outdoors is crucial!  If they must be outdoors offer plenty of shade and fresh, cold water.  Never leave your pet in a car (anytime air temp is over 75°), even with windows down.  Prevention is the key!

 

Aldie Vet Heat Blog Post

 

Aldie Vet Vacation Pet

Is Your Pet Vacation Ready?

Summer is approaching and like most of us, a vacation is near. As you pack your sunscreen, clothes, towels, and bathing suits think about your furry friends as well. Just like you would for children, assigning a caregiver while you are away takes the stress off of your mind. Most facilities where you take your pets have forms to fill out in the case of an emergency. Here are some questions to ponder before you take your getaway:

Pet Sitter

  1. Who will be caring for my pet?
  2. What phone numbers should I leave them in the case of an emergency?
  3. Do I have enough food to last the duration of my trip?
  4. With pets that take medications- Do I have enough medication to last for the duration of my trip?
  5. Should I see if the facility has a possibility to leave my Credit Card on file, in the case that my pet sitter has to come in?
  6. Is my pet sitter authorized on my account at the Vet’s Office, in the case of an emergency?
  7. Does my current Vet have an emergency facility?
  8. What are my wishes for CPR in the case that something does happen and are my wishes clear with the sitter?

Boarding

  1. What is the best facility to meet my pet’s needs for boarding?
  2. Is my pet up to date on all the vaccines required at the facility?
  3. What are my wishes in the case that CPR may need to be performed?
  4. How does the facility feel about medications if my pet needs any?
  5. Is there someone in the building at all hours of the day or just during regular business hours?
  6. Will my pet interact with other pets during their stay?
  7. What is the facilities protocol in the scenario that my pet starts to get sick?
  8. Where will the boarding facility take my pet if medical treatment is needed?

These are just some of the questions that you should think on. Here at Aldie Veterinary Hospital, we offer Emergency Treatment Authorization forms to fill out and add on the account, as well as credit card forms to leave on file. We strive to make your vacation as stress-free as possible. We also have our emergency services through Dulles South Animal Emergency & Referral, all housed in the Dulles South Veterinary Center. Our medical staff is available 24 hours a day.  Enjoy a fun-filled summer and please call us if you have any questions at 703-327-0909 or download these forms here.

Sad doberman dog, not a lost pet though

How To Avoid A Lost Pet

Unfortunately, pets get lost on a daily basis.  Microchipping your pet is the easiest and most likely way to ensure he will be returned to you.  While identification via a tag on your pet’s collar is great, most pets get lost due to an ill-fitting collar.  According to a study by the ASPCA; 50% of dogs and 75% of cats are not wearing a collar when they are found and brought into a shelter.  Other means of permanent identification would be a tattoo, these are usually done inside the ear or inside of a hind leg.  This allows for easy identification without specialized equipment.

Microchipping is a safe and easy way for your pet to be identified if it ever gets lost.  Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are injected with a needle under your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades.  They are encased in biocompatible material and have an anti-migration cap to help prevent movement in the pet’s body.  Once a microchip is registered that information will remain attached to that chip.  If you ever move or change your contact information it will be important to update your microchip information.  According to Home Again Microchips, only 10% of microchips are actually registered after they are implanted.  Remember it doesn’t do you any good to microchip your pet if you don’t register the chip!

Another great way to ensure your dog is safe and by your side when outdoors is to make sure you have a properly fitted collar and leash.  Collars should fit snugly, you should be able to get two fingers under the collar comfortably, but not be able to pull it over your dogs head.  We also don’t recommend walking your dog with a flexi-lead.  While these allow great freedom if you are out playing ball, for most walks they allow your dog to get too far from you.  It’s not uncommon for a dog to take off after something (a squirrel or another dog) and when they hit the end of the flexi-lead it is yanked from the owner’s hand.  A short 6-10’ nylon leash with a handle is preferred because it will be harder for your dog to get away from you.

The last defense you have to prevent your dog from getting away from you is good obedience.  Even a well-trained dog could be tempted not to listen if they are hot on the heels of an elusive squirrel.  You should practice having your dog come, stay, and sit in all types of situations while they are on a leash and safe.  If your dog will listen to you during the most hectic situations, he will most likely listen to you in an emergency situation.  It’s not enough for your dog to come and stay in a quiet home environment.  It’s important to practice these skills in all types of situations; it will also increase your dog’s confidence in himself and your bond together as a team.

The best defense against your dog getting lost is to prevent it from happening.  Practice safe walking technique and good obedience.  But always be prepared just in case with clear ID tags and a registered, current microchip.

Winter Tips to Keep Your Pet Warm

Winter Tips to Keep Your Pet Warm

As the mercury starts to dip, we’ve put together some helpful tips on keeping your companion pets safe and warm this winter.

While your cat may look longingly at the door the safest place for him is inside.  Cats that are allowed to stray can become lost, freeze, be hit by a car, and are far more likely to be exposed to infectious feline disease.  During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt.  If you are concerned that there are outdoor cats in your area, loudly bang on the hood of your car prior to starting the engine.  This should give any sleepy cats a chance to escape.

Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.

Chemicals used to melt ice in the winter can be very dangerous to your dog.  Make sure you wipe down their legs, paws and belly after they have been out in the snow and ice.  Some of the ice melting chemicals and antifreeze can be poisonous if ingested, so make sure to clean your dog off thoroughly.

It’s important to keep your dog warm during the winter months.  Longer haired dogs should avoid being shaved down in the winter as their coat helps provide warmth.  When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this fashion statement is regulation winter wear.

Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

Make sure that all of your pets are micro-chipped and that their microchip registration is kept up to date.  Found animals are brought into the hospital regularly, an up to date microchip registration helps facilitate a fast reunion with their owners.

Keep Your Pets Cool & Safe When It Is Hot Outside

Keep Your Pets Cool & Safe When It Is Hot Outside

Walking/Running with Your Pet 
When the temperatures are high, do not over-exercise your pet and keep walks to a minimum. Don’t let your pet linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, their body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn.

A Shady Spot
Pets can get dehydrated quickly. Give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors and make sure they have a shady place to get out of the sun. If it is extremely hot, it is best to just keep them indoors in the cool air-conditioned.

Zero Minutes in a Parked Vehicle
Never leave your pet in a vehicle on warm days. Even on milder days, the temperature inside a car can rise very quickly to dangerous levels. Pets can succumb to heatstroke very easily and must be treated very quickly to give them the best chance of survival.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion 
Pet may be panting excessively or have difficulty breathing, have an increased heart and respiratory rate, drool, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also have seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Pets with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

Heat Exhaustion Tips 
If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat exhaustion, call our hospital as soon as possible. In the meantime,

  • Move your pet to a shaded area and out of direct sunlight or inside.
  • Place a cool or cold, wet towel around your pet’s neck and head (do not cover your pet’s eyes, nose or mouth).
  • Remove the towel, wring it out, rewet and rewrap every few minutes to cool him/her down.
  • Keep cool water running over your pet’s body (especially the abdomen and between the hind legs) using a hose or bucket. Use your hands to massage his/her legs and sweep the water away as the water heats up by the body temperature.