Are you the owner of a flat-faced dog? Then you’d be advised to seek medical attention during a heatwave.
Blue Cross pet charity is warning owners of flat-faced dogs like French bulldogs, pugs and boxers, to keep them cool after emergency cases of heatstroke in these breeds were admitted to their animal hospitals.
Nearly 700 flat-faced – or brachycephalic – dogs were seen by Blue Cross vets since the mercury started to rise on June 1.
Several have since been admitted for emergency care after suffering from heatstroke or breathing problems.
Georgie Hearne, Blue Cross Vet Surgeon said:
It is so sad to see the needless suffering of these pets because they were bred to have such exaggerated features. These breeds almost always need surgery to help them to breathe more easily. However, most will continue to struggle to breathe for the rest of their lives – bad enough in cooler weather but this heat must be like hell for them
The exaggerated features in these breeds also lead to other health issues. Because of their short and narrow airways these pets struggle to get enough oxygen in their bloodstream which puts a strain on their heart. Many of these breeds also have prominent eyes which makes them vulnerable to injury and ulcers.
This summer, we have seen a number of French bulldogs with ear infections or problems with items like grass seeds getting into their ear canal. This often needs an anaesthetic to remove which can be risky because of their difficulty to breathe.
It isn’t just these type of dogs who are suffering, Blue Cross has also admitted several emergency cases of Persian cats with breathing problems. Persian and similar flat faced breeds of cat have the same short nasal passage through breeding for their looks over their health.
Always make sure pets are kept as cool as possible, avoid walking dogs in the middle of the day and never leave alone in a car – even for a couple of minutes.
Blue Cross vets advise all pet owners to be aware of signs of heatstroke and act quickly.
Symptoms include excessive panting, collapse and dribbling. If you suspect your pet is overheating move them to a cooler place, ideally with a draught, wet their coat with cool (not ice cold) water and contact your vet immediately.
Blue Cross is calling on anyone thinking of getting a flat-faced pet to think twice and stop the trend for these type of dogs who are more and more finding themselves in rescue after owners cannot afford the expensive vet bills for all the treatment they need.
It can’t be stressed enough how dogs should not be left alone in cars during summer days. If you do see one, assess the condition. Notice if they’re displaying any of the above symptoms and ring 999 immediately.
If your natural instinct is to boot down the window to salvage the pooch, make sure you tell the police what you intend to do and why. Take pictures or videos of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. Under the Criminal Damage Act 1971, you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances, according to the RSPCA.
Let’s not make life ruff for our dogs, guys.
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