Heat wave affecting pets

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - As we're all looking for ways to beat the heat, local veterinarians are urging animal lovers to also remember their pets.

Workers at the Gulf Coast Veterinary Emergency Hospital said at their location alone, they've seen a steady increase in animals who seem to be suffering from heat stroke.

One thing citizens throughout South Mississippi can probably agree on right now is that it's hot. But before you think of hitting the beach with your pet, some local veterinarians say, you may want to think again.

"They come in here, they're having difficulties breathing, they're incredibly over heated. Some of them come in here non-responsive and we just have difficult times," said Veterinary Technician Missy Callahan.

Almost every day for the past week, the Gulf Coast Veterinary Emergency Hospital has treated animals who appear to be suffering from heat related illnesses. Though it may seem like common sense, veterinarians said, all too often, the signs are easily missed.

"If your pets accustomed to being very active you still want to pay attention to that. They can still become over heated very quickly," said Callahan.

Considering that heat stroke can occur in an instance, pet owners are urged to pay close attention to their animals. Seventy to 80 percent of animals who suffer from heat stroke die, so veterinarians said the issue is a serious one.

"Sometimes people are doing things with their pets and they go run some errands or they go in for dinner and they come out and find that their pet has collapsed in the yard and they're like well I had plenty of shade plenty of water, but it just can happen so quickly," said Callahan.

Making sure you pet has adequate access to fresh water, plenty of shade or just keeping them inside during the day are a few ways to protect your pet, but the list goes on.

"Normally if they're outside and it's a hot day and your dog is non-responsive, as a general rule just assume that that's what it is and just try to cool them off with some water and call your veterinarian right away," said Callahan.

So if you plan on catching some rays or are just trying to keep cool this Summer, make sure you keep the safety of your pets in mind.

Veterinarians also said if you think your dog is suffering from heat stroke you never want to put ice on them, as it would cause their temperature to drop too fast.

The safest thing to do is to splash some cool water on them and head to the vet right away.

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