21 BE COOL with Dr. Deborah Veo, Uxbridge Animal Hospital, MA
PLEASE read & share with others. We interviewed a family member, who just happens to be a veterinarian. Debbie is part owner of Uxbridge Animal Hospital.
1Q: What do you tell your patients about dogs in the hot months during the year?
A: We always tell our clients to keep their dogs inside if its over 80 degrees, particularly if they are breeds who don’t breathe normally and get over heated quickly like bulldogs, pugs etc. These breeds are called brachycephalic (short headed dogs). It is life threatening for them to be out in the heat of the summer. They cannot effectively cool themselves down by panting like some other breeds can. With that said, any breed of dog, can die from the heat of the spring and summer particularly if they are trapped in cars!
2Q: How does the heat from the car affect the dog?
A: Dogs’ normal temperature is anywhere from 100.5 to 102.5. Being in a car that may be 80-100 degrees can cause irreversible damage to the internal organs and cause death.
3Q: What system of the dogs body does the heat affect, and does this trigger the dog to have seizures?
A: The heat can affect all body organs and can trigger seizure activity in the brain if the patients’ temperature gets above 109F degrees. The organs cannot function and if overheated. Automatically, in the heat, a pet will start to try to cool down by panting, drooling, and blood vessel dilation. When the blood vessels dilate, it causes the heart to work faster, which makes blood pool in the organs and blood pressure drop. A drop in blood pressure compromises all the organs and coupled with the thermal damage, leads to bloody diarrhea and vomiting, kidney damage, and brain damage from blood clots. After the body temperature gets to 109F, coma and death may occur.
4Q: On average how many dogs need treatment in the summer due to overheating in the car?
A: Thankfully because veterinary professionals talk about the dangers of pets being in hot cars, the numbers have drastically reduced over the past several years but many dogs still die as a result of heat exposure in cars. It’s completely preventable which makes it more of a tragedy.
5Q: People leave bowls of water in the car OR leave the windows open in slight cracks. Does this help at all?
A: Water and open windows do not help at all. The temperature in the car can rise 2 degrees per minute.
6Q: How do you treat the patients that come in with problems due to being left in a car?
A: When pets come into the hospital in this crisis, it is an emergency, life threatening situation and “all hands are on deck” to work tirelessly to save the pet. The Veterinarian quickly and efficiently addresses the body temperature and the irreversible damage to the organs by placing the pet in a cool water bath to slowly drop the pets’ temperature (dropping it too fast is damaging too). An intravenous catheter is placed in one or two limbs to deliver room temperature fluids to hydrate and cool the patient down. Other medications are delivered intravenously to address organ damage, infection, bleeding, inflammation. The patient stays in the hospital until the temperature is normal and the organ function is restored if possible.
7Q: Do you think that leaving your dog in the car should be illegal in all states?
A: Yes, definitely illegal!! Some states have stricter laws and people could be fines and arrested. Massachusetts is working for stricter laws related to animal abuse.