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Do you have tips for pet care in the heat?
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In your quest to keep cool this summer, don’t forget to keep your pets out of the heat as well. Since animals can’t tell you if they’re too hot, keep these tips in mind:
- Know where your pet is when the temperature rises. Cats tend to find a cool place to hide in the heat. Dogs don’t do this as much and subsequently end up having more heat-related problems.
- Be aware of haircoat length. Pets do not perspire from the body, so haircoat does not make them hotter. In fact, haircoat can actually act as an insulator and give them protection from the heat. Even Northern breeds of dogs, adapted to colder weather, can get by without a hair clipping this time of year. If the haircoat is matted, a full body clip may be needed to restore the normal coat. If this is the case, use caution immediately after the clipping to avoid sunburn, even though the animal has some hair stubble left. Then brush regularly to avoid hair mats in the future.
- Do not lock your pet in the car. If the temperature is 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in 30 minutes or less. Simply cracking the windows does not give sufficient ventilation. It is best to leave your pet at home. If you must take it with you, tie it outside the car with access to shade and water. Check it frequently. Use a rope or chain that your pet can’t chew through or loosen.
- Provide some form of shade for dogs in a kennel. Pouring or spraying water on soil in the shade will also help cool your dog during the afternoon heat. If the kennel surface is concrete or asphalt, shade is even more critical. A small spray or flow of water across the surface will help during the daylight hours. Always make sure there is plenty of fresh drinking water as well.
- Be aware of panting, since this is how dogs get rid of excess body heat. Do not do anything to interfere with this. Be cautious of strenuous activities like taking your dog on hikes or bike rides. Take water and frequently give the dog small amounts. Watch the extent and amount of panting. If panting seems excessive and the dog’s mouth is wide open, heat stroke may be approaching.
- Know the signs of heatstroke. They include excessive panting and salivation, vomiting, anxious or staring expression, rapid pulse and high body temperature. Heatstroke can cause permanent brain damage and death. Emergency treatment includes immersing the animal in cool water or pouring cool water over the body and allowing it to evaporate. Ice packs can be applied to the head. If these suggestions do not help, take your pet to the veterinarian for medical treatment, which includes intravenous fluids and electrolytes to help bring the system back into balance.
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- I have a small flock of about 25 chickens. They range in age from 7-10 months. Recently I've had about 8 of them die. The first signs of a problem were blood on the outside of the egg shells. Then I noticed that several of them had bloody areas around the vent and under the tail. All but a couple of those with the symptoms have died. The few that recovered seem to be OK with 1 exception, and that hen no longer lays eggs, and has a very grungy appearance. After death, if you pick up the bird and examine it, the vent is wide open and you can see right down into the center of the bird. The last bird I found I could even see an egg yolk inside the body cavity. Could you give me a best guess as to what might be causing this and what steps I can take to relieve the problem? I noticed on one hen that I lost this week, that in the day or two before she died, she had a white runny diarrhea, didn't seem interested in eating or drinking and shortly before death she seemed to swell and have a puffy appearance. Another is the roosters, one has had all the smaller feathers around the tail pecked out, and has raw looking skin in that area, the other is missing most of the feathering on his breast. Several of the hens have no feathers in the vent area (probably from what you describe) and on the lower back just above the tail. The main thing I was wondering about is the diarrhea...when I noticed that, I did some research online, and kept coming up with pullorum, and I was wondering if that might be a problem. They say it's nearly eradicated, but occasionally shows up in a backyard flock. What are the chances of that, and what other symptoms should I watch for? If it was that, besides getting rid of the flock, what other steps would I need to take to make the coop safe for future use?