Question: My dog, Hummer, has got sick and seems to have developed a fever. How can I tell if my dog has a fever or is just too hot from being outside?
Answer: You should never leave your dog outside during the hottest part of the day, in a car with the windows up or in any situation that can lead to a heat stroke.
Although heat strokes and high fever are two different things, they both can lead to serious consequences.
All animals maintain an optimum body temperature for normal physiological functions.
Body temperature is usually a reflection of the balance between heat gain and loss from the body.
Heat is gained mainly from absorption of the external temperature, normal muscular activity and metabolism inside the body.
Heat loss is mainly through sweating, respiration, urination and faeces.
In both heatstroke (hyperthermia) and high fever there is an alteration in body temperature.
When an animal suffers from heat stroke the elevation of the body temperature is mainly due to exposure to a high temperature under high humidity.
Obese, long-haired and dark coloured animals are slightly more predisposed to heat stroke but during the high temperatures reached over Bahrain’s summer months, all animals are in danger if left in the heat.
When the body temperature goes above 39C it is considered to be hyperthermic.
At this stage there is an increase in heart rate, weak pulse, severe sweating, stringy salivation, restlessness, stumbling when walking and depression.
When the temperature goes beyond 41C there will be foamy saliva, laboured respiration and can lead to more serious complications, including death.
The mucous membrane will be normal or pale during a heat stroke.
Immediate treatment is given by providing shade and plenty of water to cool down.
In the cases of fever, the increase in body temperature is caused mainly by internal issues and is not affected by external factors.
Fever can be due to many reasons including bacterial infections, viruses, foreign bodies, hyper-sensitivity, tick-fever and post-surgical complications, amongst others.
During the initial stages of a fever, the heat loss mechanism of the body does not perform as it should, which means there will be no drying of the mouth, decreased respiration rate, increase in pulse rate or diminished urine production at this stage.
Later, the heat loss mechanism will become normal and sweating with an increase in urine production will be there.
The mucous membrane will also be congested. If you feel your dog has a fever consult your veterinarian immediately as the correct diagnosis and treatment is vital.
BSPCA’S DOG OF THE WEEK IS DRAKE
Age: One year and two months
Drake is one of the sweetest and most adorable boys at the shelter. He instantly gets along with any person or animal at home. All other animals instantly love him due to his amazingly kind and friendly nature towards them and anyone else. He is also a handsome doggy that loves to flaunt his perfectly symmetrical fur pattern while dazzling everyone with his gorgeous hazel eyes. His presence instantly adds a warm and happy vibe to any family or household. Drake has also been neutered, tick treated and is fully vaccinated.
BSPCA’S CAT OF THE WEEK IS BLACK
Age: Eight months
Black is a very affectionate and friendly kitty that has lovely jet black fur and beautiful flashy yellow eyes. Black likes being around people and always shows how keen he is to be taken out and kept with a loving companion. He loves people but has sadly spent most of his childhood at the shelter having to watch his three other siblings get adopted and taken to good homes. He would love to go to a loving home where he can focus all of his care and attention on his forever family. Black is neutered and fully vaccinated.
l If you’re interested in adopting Mike, Pudding or any of our other cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, please visit the Animal Welfare Centre in Askar. From the Alba round-about, take the road sign-posted Askar and Durrat Al Bahrain and at the third signal, take a right on to the truck road and after approximately 800m you will see the shelter on the right side, just before the flyover. Or, log onto www.bspca.org for directions. The shelter is open from 9am to 5pm on Sundays to Thursdays, and 9am to 1pm on Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays. The shelter accepts animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Dr Hansel Geo is a veterinary consultant and surgeon for the BSPCA and Charis Vets. Please send questions to email@example.com