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Heat poses risks for Oklahoma pets, too

CARRIE COPPERNOLL Modified: June 24, 2009 at 1:28 am •  Published: June 24, 2009
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 says
When animal welfare officers find a pet suffering from heat stroke, the owners are allowed to take the animal for medical care, Gary said.

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