THE latest heatwave has already claimed its first victims and the hottest days are yet to come.
Summer Street Veterinary Clinic was unable to save two guinea pigs that were brought in last week suffering dehydration and heat exhaustion.
The mercury is expected to reach 35 degrees today and vets are calling on the community to be mindful of pets during the hot weather.
Summer Street vet Christine Healey stressed pets kept in cages should be moved under the shade. She said pet owners needed to be aware that the cage might have been in the shade when they left for work, but by the afternoon the hot sun could cause irreversible damage.
“It’s also really important to be mindful of dogs on the back of utes,” she said.
“The tray can get very hot and it’s reflective so people need to make sure their dog has enough water and you need to park it in the shade.”
Miss Healey said the clinic treated at least four or five animals for heat stroke during summer. The pets most susceptible are those in cages.
“You need to be aware that if you cover the cage up it can get quite humid in there during the day, it needs to be partially covered,” she said.
One of the biggest concerns for Miss Healey was people leaving pets in cars despite warnings every year that animals could die within minutes.
“By the time we get them they are usually quite sick and don’t make it,” she said.
“It can only take five minutes.”
Taking the heat off animals:
l Multiple bowls of water.
l Move cages several times during the day.
l Keep stock in a paddock with plenty of shade.
Signs of dehydration:
Birds: puffing feathers out, hiding in a corner and being generally lethargic, open beak and a collapsed comb for chickens.
Dogs and cats: not eating, dark or bright red tongue and gums, sticky or dry tongue and gums, staggering, seizures, bloody diarrhoea or vomiting.