Random Fact! Did you know that dogs and cats can't actually sweat? Instead, they have to pant to expel excessive heat from their bodies.
Although ordinarily animals are able to control their temperature very well by panting alone, it doesn't always do the job. Occasionally, particularly on hot summer days, they simply cannot pant quickly enough to bring their temperature down, and subsequently they can develop 'heat stroke'.
This condition is incredibly dangerous, and can be rapidly fatal if not detected and treated promptly.
Certain dogs are more prone to heat stress, including those with thick fur, short-squashed noses, or with underlying respiratory conditions. Often, the most obvious symptom is excessive panting in conjunction with noticeable signs of discomfort or lethargy, but it can present in a variety of ways.
At Gloucester Vets, we recommend you call us immediately if you think your dog is suffering heat stress, and then attempt to cool them as best you can whilst coming straight into the clinic. This may include putting on air conditioning or a fan, wetting dog down repeatedly, and encouraging them to drink.
Two of our newest additions to the practice, Dr Liam Mowbray and Dr Sammy Moxon, recently had a very busy day scoping a number of our client's horses.
'Scoping' or gastroscoping, involves feeding a three metre long narrow flexible camera into a horses stomach! It is a painless procedure done on sedated horses, and is very effective at diagnosing oral and gastric health issues in horses, in particular gastric ulcers.
Gastric ulcers are a surprisingly common occurrence, affecting up to one in three horses. The disease can range in severity from a mild inflamed gut lining, to potentially fatal, full thickness stomach ulcers.
The trouble with this disease, is the range of symptoms is quite extensive, making diagnosis challenging at times. Horses can present with symptoms as vague as a reduced appetite, minor weight loss or recurrent colic, through to broader changes to their performance and behaviour.
Treatment includes a combination of medication and dietary changes, just as it would with people suffering a similar issue. It is often recommended to offer free, and continual access to grass or hay, reduce or control the concentrate ration in the diet, and ensure continual access to fresh water.
Ultimately though, it's a precise science getting the medication and dietary intervention measures correct, so always give us a buzz to chat to the vets.