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Heat Stroke in Pets

When a dog is exposed to high temperatures in summer, heat stroke or heat exhaustion can result. This is a very serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Unlike humans, dog’s cannot sweat through their skin. Instead, they release heat by panting and by sweating through their foot pads and nose. If the dog cannot effectively do this, the internal body temperature begins to rise. Once this reaches 41 degrees Celsius, damage to the animal’s cells and internal organs becomes irreversible and death can result.

Symptoms of heat stroke include:
  • Heavy panting
  • Dark red gums
  • Tacky or dry feeling gums
  • Lying down and unwilling/inability to get up
  • Collapse and/or loss of consciousness
  • Increased rectal temperature

Call the vet!

If you suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke, you must take immediate action. First, move your dog out of the sun and begin cooling them with wet towels on the body. Do not use ice or cold water as this will cause the blood vessels to constrict and cause the internal body temperate to rise instead of lower. Offer your dog cool water but do not force it into their mouth.

However, the most important thing is to call your vet and get them in straight away! The number one factor influencing survival of heat stroke is how quickly you get your pet to the vet. Some dogs fully recover from heat stroke, but others may suffer permanent damage and require lifelong treatment. Sadly, many dogs do not survive.

To prevent heat stroke:

  • Have cool, fresh water available at all times
  • Avoid exercise on warm days (if its too hot for you to walk, its much too hot for your dog in his woolly jumper!)
  • Have a cool, shady area available
  • Never leave your dog alone in the car on a warm day, even with the windows down
Certain breeds of dogs (brachycephalic or short-nosed) such as pugs and bulldogs, and obese animals, are at an extreme risk of heat stroke due to their compromised ability to cool themselves down. Use extreme caution when these dogs are exposed to heat. During summer, we recommend you only walk these animals during the coolest part of the day at dusk, dawn and at night.

Storm Phobias

Have you noticed that your dog or cat gets scared during thunderstorms? This time of year can be a frightening period for animals with storm phobias. Sometimes the fear is so bad that they break through windows and scale huge fences in an attempt to escape the storm and hide, leading to severe injuries and lost animals. However, you and your pet don’t need to suffer – come in and chat to us about how we can help you manage your animals’ fears and consequently your stress levels.

What are storm phobias?

Storm phobias are a panic disorder, often triggered by the noise of thunder or the visuals of flashing lightning. What might start out as quite a mild condition, where the animal may seek their owner out and pant a little heavier, can quickly become generalised to the point where the animal has anxieties full time and begins to react to other, smaller triggers such as a passing car or a door closing.

How can you manage storm phobias?

Simple things you can do to lessen your pets’ fear is to try and ‘drown out’ the storm. Do this by putting all the lights on in the house to lessen the effect of lightning, play loud classical music to cover the thunder, and you can even get ear muffs – called mutt muffs!mutt-muffs Mutt Muffs can help block the noise of the thunder in really sensitive dogs. Have a special spot where you can train your pet to relax – this may be a place they already gravitate to during a storm, such as under a table or in a crate. Reward calm behaviour in this area with treats during the storm and even outside of storm periods, so that your pet learns that this is a relaxing area to be in.

We’re here to help!

Some pets however become so fearful that they require anti-anxiety medication to help them manage. If you think your pet falls into this category please give us a call so we can make your summer more enjoyable for the both of you. Please contact us on 5443 1330, or email us at, to book in a behavioural consult with one of our vets.

Allergic Skin Disease and Allergies

Skin allergies (atopic dermatitis) are one of the more common conditions we see at this time of year. They occur when allergens such as pollen, moulds, dander, house dust and cigarette smoke land on the animal’s skin and trigger the immune system. Common symptoms of skin allergies include:
Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff) puppy trying to get rid off fleas.
Itchy skin and dermatitis can be more common during summer months.
  • Itching
  • Red skin
  • Ear problems
  • Chewing/licking feet
  • Hair loss
There is thought to be a genetic basis as we see it more commonly in certain breeds such as Staffordshire Terriers, West Highland White terriers, Boxers and Retrievers and while it is more common in dogs, cats can also be affected.

Diagnosing Atopy and Skin Disease

Diagnosing atopy can be challenging, as a wide range of other skin diseases can look very similar. For your vet to reach a conclusion, they will perform a physical examination and often need to perform several tests to rule out conditions such as mites, flea allergy, and bacterial infections. Once a diagnosis of atopy is made though, a wide range of treatments are available to help keep your pet comfortable, including special diets, medicated shampoos and medications. With treatments, many pets go on to lead comfortable and happy lives.

Summer Skin Check Package

In order to help out our itchy pets this summer, Maroochydore Vet Surgery has put together a special skin consultation package just for our clients. This package includes a consultation with the veterinarian, certain skin and ear tests (called cytology) to help with the diagnosis, a Bravecto tablet to treat fleas and ticks, and a medicated shampoo pack. This package is valued at over $200, but during summer is on offer for only $150.

Book a Consult

To book please call us on 5443 1330, or email us at, and ask for the Summer Skin Check Package. This package is available for a limited time only.

Winter Health Check Package – $99

Dog and Cat Health Check

Is your pet not quite right or feeling unwell? Or are they limping or feeling more stiff this winter? Are you noticing them slowing down, or looking under the weather?

Then book them in for our winter health check for $99. Our winter health check includes a comprehensive physical examination, in-house blood test, joint assessment and a treatment plan (if required).

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