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Enfield Veterinary Hospital
94 Coronation Parade
Enfield, NSW, 2136

enfieldvet@bigpond.com.au
Phone: 02 9747 3999

 

To All the Frineds of Enfield Vet and their Pets,

We hope that you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year break and that 2019 is full of lots of joy and happiness - and lots of licks and cuddles from our fur children!!

The newsletter this month talks about a really important issue for our pets in the Australian summer - heatstroke. Heatstroke, if not treated quickly, can be fatal for our pets. It is imperative to know how we can best avoid our pets overheating on hot summer days and how to help them (aside from veterinary attention) if they get too hot.

Its always good to remember that our pets cool down by panting - they can't sweat like humans can - and they need access to shade and water at ALL times on hot days to aid them in cooling down. Those of you with brachycephalic breeds (Pugs, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Cavaliers) need to be extra vigilant in the heat - as these breeds find panting, and thus cooling down, even harder.

If you think your pet is ever getting too hot please call us right away at the Hopsital and we will advise you on the next step.

We hope that you all enjoy the rest of January and the remaining holiday period - and enjoy the summer sun (sensibly - both pets and humans!!)

The Team at Enfield Vet Hospital

Contents of this newsletter

01  Flat-faced dogs can't stand the heat

02  Top tips to prevent heatstroke

03  Four hidden summer dangers

04  Happy and healthy ears

05  Spare a thought for our wildlife

01 Flat-faced dogs can't stand the heat

It's time to crank the air-conditioning for flat-faced dogs such as the Pug, French Bulldog and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. These dogs (known as Brachycephalic breeds) are not very well designed for our hot summer months and are very susceptible to heat stress.

Dogs are not able to sweat like humans and they rely heavily on panting to regulate their body temperature. Brachycephalic dogs have shorter muzzles and as a result, air-flow is restricted in and out of their mouth. This essentially makes it harder for them to effectively exchange hot air for cool, and they can easily overheat.

Brachycephalic dogs can be quite variable in terms of the degree of shortness of their muzzles and this means that some brachycephalic dogs will cope relatively well in the heat but others may find even a slight increase in temperature a challenge. Some of these dogs also have narrow nostrils (nares) making it even harder to draw in air to pant, putting them at greater risk of heat exhaustion.

 How to keep these dogs safe

- Know the signs of heat stress (read below for more information)

- Provide a cool environment for these dogs at all times and never leave them outside in the heat

- Keep airflow up with fans and preferably keep them in air conditioning

- Never exercise them in the middle of the day and skip exercise all together on extremely hot or humid days

- Avoid trips in the car unless absolutely necessary and never leave your dog unattended in a car even on a mild day

- Provide a shallow wading pool and frozen treat ice blocks to help keep them cool

- Keep your dog's weight under control as obesity can increase the risk of overheating

Some Brachycephalic dogs will benefit from corrective surgery to improve airflow through the back of the mouth and nostrils. The earlier this surgery is performed on these dogs the better. Ask us for more information.

02 Top tips to prevent heatstroke

It's not just flat-faced dogs that are susceptible to the heat. ANY pet can overheat and end up suffering from heatstroke. Heatstroke (also known as heat exhaustion or heat stress), can occur very rapidly and can even be fatal. 

It's crucial to remember that our pets can't perspire all over as humans do and they only produce only a tiny amount of sweat through their footpads. They cool themselves down via panting but sometimes this isn't enough and they start to overheat.

The important point is that it doesn't necessarily need to be really hot or humid for heat exhaustion to occur and you need to be able to recognise the signs early and know what to do. 

Signs your pet might be overheating

- Excessive panting

- Noisy panting

- Drooling

- Collapse 

If you think your pet might be overheating, bring your pet to us immediately (or seek emergency veterinary care). It's best to place your pet in front of the air-conditioner or a fan while you are in the car. You can also place wet towels on hairless parts of the body such as the groins or pads of the paws. 

Our top tips for preventing heatstroke

- Never leave your pet in the car - the internal temperature of a car can become like an oven in minutes (even on a mild day)

- Avoid exercising your pet in the heat of the day and skip altogether on extremely hot days

- If your pet has a thick coat, think about clipping it to help them stay cool

- Always provide plenty of drinking water in multiple bowls

- Make sure your pet has access to shade or even better airflow from a fan (and/or air-conditioning - this is particularly important for Brachycephalic breeds)

If you think your pet might be struggling in the heat you should seek veterinary advice immediately. 

03 Four hidden summer dangers

1. Check under the car
Don't forget to check under your car before you drive off - cats, in particular, like to seek out the shade provided by a car and are often asleep, putting them at risk of being run over. A toot of the horn before you move the car is always a good idea. 

2. The hidden danger on our streets
Ever heard the term 'this pavement is so hot you could fry an egg on it?' The hidden danger on the street this summer IS the street!

Believe it or not, the pavement can get so hot in summer that it can cause burns and blisters to your dog's paw pads. We recommend you stick to walking your dog in the cool of the day and take the softer (grass) route to the park. You can try booties to protect the paws but most pets won't tolerate them. 

3. Pools are not always safe
Pets don't always like the water and many can't even swim. Never force your pet to get in the water and never leave your pet where they can access a body of water without supervision. Consider using a floatation device such as a life jacket for extra safety. 

Don't let your pet drink the pool water as it can be toxic and always provide copious amounts of fresh drinking water. Wash your pet off after a swim as chlorinated water, in particular, can irritate the skin and eyes. 

4. Beach beware 
If you take your pet to the beach beware of saltwater toxicity. Dogs are often inclined to ingest a whole heap of saltwater at the beach and this can lead to vomiting and diarrhoea. Keep them supervised and always provide plenty of clean and fresh drinking water. 

Also be aware that it's not just the pavement that can burn your pet's paw pads - the sand can become extremely hot too. 

And finally - the paralysis tick loves to hang out in coastal areas along the east of Australia. Make sure your pet is protected as this tick can be fatal - ask us for the best prevention. 

04 Happy and healthy ears

Summer is a great time to take your dog swimming but did you know that an innocent dip can lead to an ear infection for your dog?

We like to think of your dog's ear as its own 'mini-environment'. This environment can be easily disrupted and swimming is a common way for water to enter the canal and upset the balance. Heat, self-trauma (for example from itching due to allergies) and foreign bodies such as a grass seed can also mess things up too.

Unfortunately, bacteria and yeast love the change in environment and begin to increase in numbers, resulting in a very unhappy ear canal and a sad and uncomfortable pet.

Signs your pet might have an ear problem

- Shaking of the head

- Rubbing ears along the floor or furniture

- Itching behind ears with paws

- Hot and red ears

- Discharge - may be smelly and can be black, white or yellow

- A head-tilt 

What to do
If you notice any of the above symptoms, arrange a check-up with us. We will need to examine the ear canals and check for signs of infection and/or inflammation. We also need to make sure there is not a foreign body such as a grass seed contributing to the problem.

A sample of what's in the ear must be taken and stained with special chemicals to identify if there is any bacteria or yeast present. This also enables us to prescribe the correct medication for your pet and means the ear will improve as quickly as possible.

If you think your pet might have an ear problem it's best to arrange a check-up with us ASAP. The longer you leave an ear infection, the more painful the ear becomes and the harder (and more expensive) it becomes to treat.

You should also ask us about the best way to clean your pet's ears after they go swimming as this can help prevent future ear infections and keep your pet's ears happy and healthy. 

05 Spare a thought for our wildlife

The warmer weather can be really stressful for our wildlife. After a few consecutive days of high temperatures, it is not uncommon for us to see wildlife suffering from heat stress and dehydration. Some animals can also suffer burnt feet from walking on hot tin roofs or even the pavement.   

Birds, possums and koalas are often the ones commonly affected but thankfully there are a few things you can do at home to help them out. 

Keep an eye out for animals that are ...

- Weak and lethargic

- Confused

- Come down to ground level searching for water (especially possums and koalas)

- Birds may open their beaks or hold their wings away from their body

How you can help our native furry and feathered friends

- Provide containers of water around your garden at varying heights - try and put them in protected areas such as hidden under a bush so the animals feel safe. Don't forget to place a stick or rock in the water so if an animal falls in they won't drown

- Keep cats and dogs inside and supervised at all times to prevent them preying on vulnerable wildlife

If you come across an animal suffering from heat stress you should call us as soon as possible for advice. If it is safe to do so, we may recommend you bring the animal to us for care. You can also contact your local wildlife shelter.