Vet warns pets may suffer from heat stroke

The Cebu City veterinarian advised pet owners to protect their animals from heat stroke amid rising heat index.
The Cebu City veterinarian advised pet owners to protect their animals from heat stroke amid rising heat index. (Photo from Pixabay)

AS TEMPERATURES soared further this week, the head of Cebu City’s Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) advised pet owners to protect their animals against heat stroke.

DVMF head Jessica Maribojoc said animals, particularly house pets, are “vulnerable” especially during the summer season due to the heat.

This would include mongrel dogs, also known as “aspins,” as well as short double and triple-coated, short-snouted breeds of dogs, and other pet species.

To avoid heat strokes, Maribojoc said these types of animals should not be exposed to high temperatures. She suggested enhancing ventilation with electric fans and, when available, using air conditioning for pets with double or triple-coated breeds to keep them comfortable and safe indoors.

Double and triple-coated dog breeds have thick, multi-layered fur for insulation and protection against weather conditions.

Examples of double-coated breeds include Siberian Husky, Golden Retriever, and German Shepherd, while triple-coated breeds are Newfoundland, Samoyed, and Shiba Inu.

Maribojoc stressed the importance of caring for short-snouted breeds, also known as brachycephalic breeds, like pugs and Shih Tzus, since the dogs’ small noses or flat faces can cause breathing difficulties due to their unique anatomy.

She clarified that drooling is not necessarily a sign of rabies but it could indicate heat discomfort in pets.

Maribojoc warned that if a pet’s gums turn from bright red to bluish-grey, it indicates critical heat stroke, requiring immediate veterinary attention.

Based on data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (Pagasa), Cebu’s heat index will go as high as 38 degrees Celsius until Friday, April 5.

Proper care

Meanwhile, Therese Vidal, who rescues dogs and cats all around Cebu, called on the public to ensure that their pets are well-taken care and that their comfort is prioritized, as animals are unable to speak for themselves.

Vidal shared proactive measures that pet owners must take to protect their animals such as not bringing them on travels during extremely hot weather as this would increase the risk of a heat stroke.

She also asked pet owners not to tie up their pets, especially in shadeless areas at home, as this violates animal rights.

Additionally, pet owners should schedule walks for their pets during cooler times, like early morning or late afternoon, and avoid outdoor activities between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“I understand some let their dogs exercise or walk; but it should be done late in the afternoon and in the evening since the road might be hurtful to the pets if done during the day,” Vidal said.

Vidal advised pet owners to help their pets lower their body temperature if they exhibit signs of heat stress, such as excessive panting and salivating or drooling.

She said it is important to provide a shelter that has a cool environment with clean water for pets.

Vidal, who shelters 13 rescued dogs and at least 40 rescued cats, said taking care of pets is like raising a child, especially when they get sick.

She said when going to clinics or hospitals, owners should prepare at least P5,000 for the laboratory tests for pets alone; this does not include the medication that will be given by doctors. / KJF


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