JVMA Heat Advisory

The Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association (JVMA) reminds the public that excessive exposure to heat is harmful to animals, and sometimes fatal with climate change causing higher global temperatures, we may have hotter days than we are used to. This not only puts us at risk but companion animals and farm species as well. Heat stress can reduce productivity, while heat strokes can cause death in agricultural animals, particularly poultry and pigs. Dogs are particularly vulnerable to heat strokes, and many cases are fatal, even with treatment. Here are some tips to reduce the risk of heat stress and heat stroke:

  • Provide easy access to fresh, clean, potable water and shade/shelter throughout the day. 
  • Housed animals should have good ventilation 
  • Livestock can be given vitamin and mineral supplements in their drinking water 
  • Do NOT leave dogs inside parked vehicles even for a short time, and do not transport them in the car trunk. 
  • Do NOT leave dogs chained or otherwise restrained in direct sunlight 

Some of the signs of heat stroke are:  

  • Bright red gums 
  • Rapid, heavy breathing/panting (“Blowing short”) 
  • Restlessness 
  • Seizures (Fits)
  • Skin hot to the touch 
  • Unresponsiveness/unconsciousness
  • Death 

If you suspect an animal has heat strokes, wet the animal down with room temperature water (NOT chilled) or rubbing alcohol. If possible, put a fan on to increase airflow and evaporative cooling,

Most important – seek veterinary care immediately. 

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