Veterinarians remind folks to leave pets out of cars this summer


The next few months will be bringing some serious heat and veterinarians are reminding folks to be smart when it comes to your precious cargo. 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, hundreds of pets die of heat exhaustion because they are left in parked vehicles every year. Many times, people think cracking the windows, or keeping the car running is safe. However, that’s not always the case. 

“You know, studies have shown that even on a temperate 70 degree day, the temperature inside a car can increase by 40 degrees in just an hour,” said Trusty Pet Veterinarian Dr. Claire Clune.

Your vehicle can quickly reach a temperature that puts your pet at risk of serious illness and even death, even on a day that doesn’t seem hot to you. And cracking the windows doesn’t make much of a difference. 

Keeping the car running can cause even more problems. Madison County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Lt. Donny Shaw said they see that problem a lot. Especially with kids in the car also. 

But when it comes to leaving pets in the car, Dr. Clune said the outcome is not worth the temporary convenience. Most of the time, dogs or cats will experience the symptoms of a heat stroke. Those symptoms include: heavy panting, listlessness and even coma. 

Treatment for these symptoms are limited. Early signs of heat stroke patients should make sure to run cool water all over the body. 

“Don’t use ice because it can actually constrict the vessels too much and then you can’t radiate the heat off your body,” Dr. Clune added. 

If the animal is comatose, a veterinarian should be called immediately. If the pet does have a heat stroke, it’s important to know there will most likely be side effects. 

“Basically it will affect every single organ in the body. The brain will not get enough oxygen, and you see coma and seizures as a side effect of the brain. Muscle damage to the heart and fluid in the lungs is a complication, and the big one that we see is bleeding,” she said. 

According to Dr. Clune, a dog’s internal temperature should sit somewhere between 101 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit. If their temperature exceeds 105 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s when emergency measures should be taken. 

For more information on treatment of an overheated pet, click here


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