Well looks like winter has finally arrived today, so what better day to write to you about white sand, palm trees, blue skies, sunshine and warmth?
Uh oh I’m dreaming again – let’s talk about Hypothermia …. YEAH!!!
All joking aside, we hear about humans and hypothermia but really don’t think of it affecting our pets; after all they are wearing a nice furry coat. However, hypothermia certainly can affect our pets so let’s get into the what, how, where and prevention and treatment.
So what is Hypothermia?
When the bodies’ temperature falls and stays below its normal range. The body is losing heat faster than it can replace it. This is a serious condition that can cause unconsciousness, shock and even the death of a pet. Pets that are outdoors in cold or subzero temperatures can become hypothermic.
Similar to Frostbite – some pets are at greater risk than others, young puppies, very senior pets, short-haired pets, pets with medical conditions.
It is also important to note that pets do not have to be swimming in icy water for hours to develop hypothermia. Out too long in the cold, in a cold car too long etc can also affect our pets body temperature.
Last week we discussed Frostbite and if your pet is suffering from frostbite there is a very good chance that they are also suffering from Hypothermia OR on the verge. DO NOT assume though that just because your pet does not have signs of frostbite that their body temperature is not dropping into Hypothermia territory.
So what are the signs?
Hypothermia symptoms vary with the level of severity. Mild hypothermia is evident through weakness, shivering, and lack of mental alertness. Moderate hypothermia reveals characteristics such as muscle stiffness, low blood pressure, a stupor-like state, and shallow, slow breathing. Characteristics of severe hypothermia are fixed and dilated pupils, inaudible heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and coma. (PetMD)
Pretty simple, avoid prolonged periods in extreme cold. REMEMBER – you may go out in a warm coat, hat, mitts, big boots that don’t allow the cold of the cement to come through to your feet – but what is your pet wearing? If you have a short-haired dog, please put a coat on them so they are not shivering, if you have a deep-chested dog watch out for breathing difficulties in the extreme cold, and keep the walks short and brisk and remember they may not be as warm as you are.
Warm your pet using blankets, hot water bottles wrapped in blankets or towels NEVER place a heating pad directly on any animal, always wrap in towel or blanket first, hair dryer on a medium heat works well too. REMEMBER – if you pet is weak they will not be able to move away is something is too hot on them. Monitor body temperature rectaly every 10 – 15 minutes till body temperature is back to normal (approx 38.5C) DO NOT OVER HEAT your dog that can be just as bad remove blankets and keep them in a comfortable room temperature.
Even if your pet looks and acts fine once they have warmed up, PLEASE seek Veterinary care as soon as possible. Underlying problems such as kidney and bladder problems must be seen to.
Stay tuned – tomorrow (Saturday) something fun and light that could win you some $$’s 🙂