As temperatures rise, little pets are at risk of heatstroke, according to a new study.
Smaller animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits are also susceptible to heatstroke, according to specialists, and people should be aware of the risk, especially as global temperatures rise.
According to a study, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and ferrets are also being brought to veterinarians with the disease.
According to the researchers, their findings underline the need for increased public awareness of heatstroke and the risk it poses to all animals, and that instances will continue to rise as the climate emergency worsens.
Abnormal breathing, tiredness, collapse, and stomach disorders including diarrhoea were the most common symptoms in all of the animals evaluated.
According to the study, cats seek for warm places to sleep and can become trapped in greenhouses and sheds, while caged pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets are at risk of heatstroke due to confinement if their enclosure provides limited access to shade.
There is a misconception that heatstroke in pets just affects dogs in hot automobiles, Dr Anne Carter, a researcher at Nottingham Trent University, said. We need to do more to promote awareness of risk factors not only for dogs but for the entire pet population.
Owners of small animals like rabbits, ferrets, and guinea pigs may need to assess their pet's housing and take precautions to keep their creatures cool in the summer to avoid heatstroke.
Between 2013 and 2018, a team from Nottingham Trent University looked at data on small animals seen by a group of UK veterinarians, as well as the triggers and hazards. Dogs were the most severely afflicted, with 146 occurrences of heatstroke.
Three-quarters of the incidents were due to the dogs being overworked, while 7% were due to their being locked in a hot automobile. The study discovered that flat-faced dogs, such as bulldogs, were particularly vulnerable, accounting for a fifth of all instances.
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Sixteen cats were treated for heatstroke by veterinarians, with senior cats (those over 15) accounting for the majority of cases, according to the study.
Eight guinea pigs, three rabbits, and a pet ferret were treated for heatstroke as a result of the hot weather. The rabbits were all flat-faced breeds, according to the researchers.
The biggest number of heatstroke visits to the veterinarian occurred throughout the summer months, with cases in canines occurring from April to October
Heat-related sickness can affect all pets and is likely to become more widespread as global temperatures rise, said Emily Hall, a researcher and veterinarian. Our findings emphasize the importance of raising public knowledge about heatstroke and the danger it poses to all animals.
Because brachycephalic [flat-faced] dogs and bunnies were overrepresented in our study, owners of these animals should exercise extra caution in hot weather.
The study's data was gathered from veterinarians who took part in the Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (Savsnet). As a result, the researchers believe that overall heatstroke estimates are likely to be far higher than those reported in the study.
They further believe that many cases may go unnoticed by veterinary clinics because owners are unaware of the possible risks and triggers.
The Open Veterinary Journal released the study, which also included the University of Liverpool.