High temperatures and humidity can be just as dangerous for animals as people, a veterinary leader in Oklahoma said. "If it’s hot to you, it’s going to be hot to your animals,” said Dr. Mike Tripp, president of the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association. "Anytime it gets up over 90 degrees, you have to be a little bit concerned with your animals that are outside.” Tripp said he sees more animals suffering from heat stroke this time of year at his practice, Southern Plains Animal Hospital in Ringling. "A couple each summer, they get so hot, they actually succumb to the heat,” he said. Typical signs of heat stroke include panting, lethargy and a high temperature, he said. Treatments range from simply bringing the animal indoors to administering medicine and intravenous fluid. Some animals can be cooled off in a bathtub or with a water hose. Severe heat stroke can result in nerve damage or death for pets. Oklahoma City animal welfare officers respond to many cruelty complaints related to the heat each summer, said Jon Gary, unit operations supervisor.
What the law saysWhen animal welfare officers find a pet suffering from heat stroke, the owners are allowed to take the animal for medical care, Gary said. If the pet is too sick, officers impound it. City ordinances require pets to have food, water and shelter — needs that are particularly important in the heat. Many times, officers allow pet owners to remedy the situation, but owners who fail to provide the necessities can be ticketed or charged. Animal welfare workers aren’t the only ones responding to calls about overheated animals. Last week, a woman in northeast Oklahoma called 911 to report her dog had heat stroke, Emergency Medical Services Authority spokeswoman Tina Wells said. The dispatcher gave the caller some general advice and then referred her to an animal agency. "It’s a great idea as a pet owner to keep an emergency veterinarian number close at hand,” Wells said, "because 911 is designed for people.”
Call: Woman calls for dog suffering from heat stroke