With summer approaching and temperatures moving into the 40’s, vets annually warn of large numbers of pets dying or suffering long term damage because of uninformed owners.
Dubai’s largest veterinary hospital has already tackled six cases of heat stroke, with cases including a parrot and a goat. Although no fatalities have yet occurred, the summer is just beginning. In the case of the parrot, he was left in the garden for four hours as the owner said it was being too noisy in the house. The goat was left in a vehicle’s boot while the driver carried out some jobs.
This year Dr Sara Elliott, British Veterinary Hospital’s director of veterinary services is particularly concerned with the large number of ‘fashionable’ short-nosed pets in the country, such as Bulldogs, Pekingese and Pug breeds and Persian and British Shorthair cats.
“The rise in the number of short nosed breeds in this hot country is phenomenal and sadly we fully expect to see a large number of this type of dog and cat being carried into our hospitals by their frantic owners after suffering exposure to the elements,” she said.
DrElliott added: “Many airlines, such as Emirates, which has a fantastic record with transporting animals, refuse to relocate short nosed breeds between May and September, such is the vulnerability of the animals, so people must take note and realise the seriousness of the summer heat.”
Since March this year, the practice has already treated three dogs fallen foul of the heat, thankfully all making a full recovery.
Roxy, a German Shepherd, survived a case of heat exhaustion when its owners fell asleep upstairs with the dog in the living room, exhausted after a walk.
The owner, Devanjali Rishi, explained, “It was a warm and cloudy afternoon, so I decided to take Roxy for a 30 minute walk around 3pm. She was her normal self until I got her back home.
“We were in the living room and noticed that Roxy was quietly sitting on the carpet, almost dozingoff. It was still not anything out of the ordinary and so we decided to go upstairs for a quick nap. We came down around 4pm to feed her but she wasn’t moving.
“Roxy wouldn’t eat or drink anything. She tried standing and collapsed which made us jump into action and immediately took her to British Veterinary Hospital.”
At the hospital the couple was informed that Roxy had a high temperature and heat stroke, which could have been fatal if there had been a further delay in bringing her in. Roxy was immediately cooled down with ice packs and they saw her beginning to recover. She was then put on a drip overnight and was taken home the next day.
Dr Elliott informed the couple on the repercussions of the heat and humidity in Dubai on pets, explaining although the afternoon was not sunny it was still very humid which is what caused the heat stroke.
Roxy’s owners have been advised to walk her either early in the morning or later in the evening and to be kept indoors with plenty of water and air conditioning or a cooling fan on at all times. They were also advised to use a cold wet towel or ice packs as soon as she comes back from walks panting heavily.
Common repercussions in the animals surviving heat-related incidents include heart failure and long-term damage to the brain, organs, hearing and sight, with some developing seizures, heart disease and changes in personality.
10 tips for keeping animals safe in the heat
1. Don’t let your pet walk on any surface you cannot put your palm on for more than 15 seconds
2. Never leave pets in a parked car for any amount of time in the heat
3. Don’t leave pets unattended at home for more than eight hours
4. Ensure your maid or home helpare trained and briefed when looking after your animals
5. Limit exercise times to evenings and mornings and only walk once long coats are trimmed
6. Don’t rely on a fan – pets do not sweat like us, so fans can have little effect
7. Provide ample shade and waterwhen outside
8. Prepare for power issues, by having a back up house to take your pet to in emergencies
9. Consider effective gadgets, such as cool mats and jackets
10. Close door flaps to the garden, which can jam due to the heat