All warm-blooded animals have the ability to maintain body temperature at an optimal level. And evolutionarily domestic cats are much better protected from hypothermia than from overheating. The sweat glands of our furry pets are located only on the pads of the feet, so they do not sweat, like a person. Heat transfer through open mouth breathing in cats is not at all developed, unlike dogs. Therefore, behavioral characteristics become their main protection against heat.
Ways to combat overheating:
- Calm, smooth movements, low degree of activity.
- Lie on a cool surface (stone or tile floor), flatten.
- The vessels of the skin expand (especially noticeable on the ears) and mucous membranes (the nose is red).
- The pulse quickens.
Causes of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke refers to a life-threatening condition associated with an increase in body temperature due to insufficient heat transfer. The reason is always the heat or heating of the cat's body with sunbeams when it is impossible to leave for a cool place.
Animals with certain physiological characteristics are more prone to overheating. At risk:
- cats of black , dark color;
- pregnant females;
- obese cats;
- brachycephals ( Persians , exotics and their mestizos);
- animals with cardiac or respiratory pathology, the elderly .
Situations leading to heat stroke:
- Closed car.
The most common case is an animal left in the sun in a locked car. People often underestimate the danger of such a situation, especially if the weather is not hot enough. If the street is +30 ° C, the dark interior can heat up to 80 ° C, as if in a real oven.
- A stuffy room with high humidity.
- A cage next to a heater or a balcony flooded with sunlight.
High temperature makes normal metabolism and body functioning impossible. Severe multiple organ failure develops. First of all, a cat suffers from kidneys, cardiovascular and nervous systems. Blood coagulation is impaired.
The main reason doctors are sometimes powerless to help a cat with heat stroke is an irreversible change in the structure of the protein at temperatures above 43 ° C. In this case, fatal processes may not occur immediately, but several days after overheating.
Heat stroke refers to diagnoses, which can only be established on the basis of anamnesis and external signs. It is very important for the physician to find out if there has been an overheat in order to distinguish heat stroke from severe fever.
Symptoms of heat or sunstroke:
- frequent breathing (the tongue can be stuck out, the mouth is open, which is not typical for cats);
- the pulse is very rapid;
- extremely high temperature - 40.5-43 ° C (measured rectally);
- vomiting , diarrhea ;
- nervous disorders: coma or inappropriate behavior, floating paw movements, convulsions;
- the mucous membranes are first bright red, with the onset of a shock condition they turn white.
Preventing heat stroke is much easier than treating it, but if trouble has happened, first aid should be provided before arriving at the veterinary clinic.
- Move the cat to a cool place.
You can put your pet on the tiled floor or in the bath. If this is not possible - put on a towel dipped in cool water or glass.
- Cool the body.
It is very difficult to wet a cat’s hair. Cold compresses are applied to areas with thin skin and good blood circulation. This is primarily the inner surface of the thigh and armpits. It is convenient to apply a rubber heating pad with cold water. Ears are moistened with cool water.
You can use a hairdryer that delivers cold air.
- Compensate for fluid loss.
If the pet is conscious - they offer to drink fresh water. If not, the experienced host can administer subcutaneously sterile isotonic solution (Ringer, 0.9% sodium chloride) in an amount of 20-50 ml / kg.
- As soon as possible deliver the animal to the clinic.
Inspection of the veterinarian is necessary even if, after the correct actions of the owner, the cat seemed to have recovered. Overheating can have serious long-term effects. Veterinarians may even insist on inpatient treatment to fight kidney failure or DIC.
- immerse the cat in cold water;
- apply ice;
- lock in a cellar or refrigerator;
- use antipyretic or stimulant drugs.
When assisting a cat with heat stroke, rectal thermometry should be performed all the time. These data will help the doctor make a long-term prognosis, and most importantly, stop cooling in time. A too rapid drop in temperature is no less dangerous than overheating itself. For an hour, you need to achieve an indicator of 39.0-39.5 ° C, after which stop cooling the pet.
All cases of heat stroke in cats occur due to oversight of the owners. Although more often this problem is recorded in places with a hot climate, in the summer, you need to follow these simple rules:
- Do not leave your pet alone in a confined space (balcony, carrying, car interior).
- To think over "ways of retreat": the cat should have the opportunity to enter the house from the street (cat's hole), or, conversely, leave it. Within the premises, the animal is not locked in the room, but it is possible to choose the coolest place (floor in the bathroom, corridor, etc.).
- Installation of air conditioning in the room.
- Permanent access to fresh drinking water, in hot weather or in the presence of several animals, you can install an additional drinking fountain .
- Hygienic haircut if necessary. If an elderly Persian is covered with a shell of tricks, in summer it is necessary to cut a pet with a hair clipper. Haircuts may need long-haired cats of a dark color.
- Maintaining optimal body condition. Throughout life, cat owners should ensure that the pet does not develop obesity. This will help prevent not only heat stroke, but also many other diseases.
Heat and sunstroke are found in cats tens of times less often than in dogs. Overheating is deadly, and preventing it is much easier than curing. In the summer, owners should help pets escape from the heat, or at least not prevent them from doing this.