Heat Stroke

Ok, well this post is part rant, part lesson to be learned. Whee were inspired to write this by June Buggie’s rant about dogs in hot cars over at RumpyDog, read the post for yourself here.

It got us started on one of our ‘pet hates’ or should whee rephrase that as ‘things pets hate’. You may or may not know, guinea pigs are like humans in their feeling of temperature. If it’s too cold for you out, then it’s too cold for us. The same, for hot weather.

So when it is that lovely hot Summer morning, and you put your guinea pigs out to play in the garden, that’s great. Sit out, enjoy the sun with us. Then when it gets a bit too hot, about midday, when the sun is at its highest point and you decide you want to go in, its too hot for us too. Don’t leave us out in the garden while you go in to cool down. Though whee are not sure of exact figures (having only read stories online and some probably aren’t put out there) whee are always shocked by the amount of guinea pigs that die every Summer due to heatstroke.

Though whee think its common sense whee are going to put these points together:

  • When in the garden, please give your guinea pig an area of shade and something to hide in. One per piggy is usually best. Whee have a blue tent, and small cuddly pet beds for our garden time.
  • If you are putting us out for longer than half an hour, please put out a bowl of water or attach a water bottle to the run, somewhere shaded to keep the water cool for us.
  • It is also good to give us some vegetables with a high water content such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber, celery, pepper etc.
  • This can be used in a cage or outside. Either get a pet safe cool pack for them to cuddle up to. Or make your own by filling an empty water bottle with water and freezing it. Then wrap that in a towel or blanket and put in the cage or run for us to cuddle up to.
  • Watch out for signs of heat stroke (or heat stress). Signs of heat stroke include panting, slobbering, weakness (floppy body), refusal to move about (lethargy), delirium, convulsions and eventually death. Yes, it is that serious.

Some fab advice and a very frank comment whee discovered may be useful (read the full post in the forum here – fair warning, it is distressing and does mention multiple details about the deaths of guinea pigs to heat stroke)

“Overheated pets are usually done for. It depends on how hot, for how long, and if emergency veterinary treatment for shock and such is instituted soon. I’ve not seen an overheated cavy or rabbit live yet. Some dogs. Some dogs with brain damage. You pretty much cook their neurological system (brain) and cause a lot of irreversible damage. The best way to survival is complete avoidance of the situations which cause overheating.

The first treatment on the way to the vet’s is to use some cooling methods. I go with lukewarm water, actually. The key is to cool gradually, but not too slow or fast. Then IV fluids and other medications as indicated. I think mannitol for brain swelling is on there. I haven’t dealt with one since last summer, so my brain is rusty. Some vets also give steroids. I think you don’t have a chance in the world with SQ fluids and this. It’s a true medical emergency. It’s kinda like putting a band-aid on a severed artery. “

With heat stroke your piggy will be floppy and lethargic, it is one of the scariest things to see. Best treatment whee can recommend is syringe room temperature water and place them on a cool wet flannel or cloth, somewhere shaded. Alternatively you can use a spray bottle of cool water and spray a light mist over the piggy. But the only real advice is get that piggy to a cavy savvy vet ASAP.

You see why whee think people need to learn to take precautions?! This is another forum page where a piggy owner talks about how she learnt a very hard lesson about piggies and heat (again this is very upsetting so beware)

If you need more advice on keeping piggies cool indoors in hot weather, there are some great links here. Whee hope this helps somefurry.

Please remember to keep all you pets hydrated and safe this Summer.

Be sensible.

Squeak to us!!!

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