Summer Heat and Your Pets

Friday, June 19th 2009, 6:06 pm
By: News 9

By Tara Vreeland, for NEWS 9

TULSA, Oklahoma -- EMSA is seeing a typical increase in calls due to the climbing temperatures. EMSA received about a half-dozen calls on Wednesday from patients suffering from suspected heat related illnesses.

The dog days of summer have snuck up on residents a little early this year. The summer sun and high heat index intensified by the humidity affect everyone.

An EMSA dispatcher received a call for a patient suffering a heat-related illness. It turned out the patient was a dog.

"At first we didn't realize it and then once she said that then we kind of changed our approach and we went ahead and helped her over the telephone to try and get the dog cooled down," said EMSA's Byron Schultz.

It's a bit easier for humans to beat the heat. But, it's a little tougher when you wear a fur coat year round.

"Clinical signs include panting which can progress from panting, vomiting, diarrhea. They can get weak, stagger, fall down and it can eventually lead to loss of consciousness and even coma," said Dr. Tim Hallman with Carbondale Vet Hospital.

All the more reason for Oklahoma pet owners to watch out for their four legged friends when the temperatures rise.

"I just carry a water bottle with me and shoot the water on him when we're taking walks if he's looking pretty hot," dog owner Amy Sawyer said.

If water is not available, there are others ways to help you pet cool down.

"If there is no water anywhere or no shade, they will eventually lay down on the ground or dig a hole just to find someplace cool," dog owner Angel Swift said.

If your pet needs help, it will probably be easier to get help by calling your vet instead of 911.

If your pet does show signs of heat exhaustion, get them to a cool area with shade or air conditioning. Immerse them in cool water, not cold and offer them ice cubes and plenty of cool water to drink. You should also contact your vet.