(ORDO NEWS) — Dogs are not the only pets that can get heatstroke. Experts warn that people should be aware of the risk to small pets like guinea pigs and rabbits, especially as global temperatures rise.
Dogs, cats and even ferrets will suffer greatly due to rising global temperatures
A new study has revealed species of domestic animals that are highly vulnerable to global warming. The researchers say their results highlight the need to increase public awareness of heatstroke and the risk to all animals. They warn that the number of cases will continue to rise as we face warmer weather due to climate change.
The most common symptoms of heat stroke in all animals studied included respiratory failure, lethargy, collapse, and stomach problems such as diarrhea.
The researchers note that cats, which usually seek warm places to sleep, may find themselves in a “heat” trap. And caged animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets are at risk of heat stroke from being kept in hot environments because their territory is very limited.
Author Dr Ann Carter said: “There is a misconception that heat stroke in pets only applies to dogs that are locked in cars. We need to raise awareness of risk factors not only for dogs, but for the wider pet population.”
As part of the work, the team of Dr. Carter from the University of Nottingham, UK, analyzed data on small animals that lived between 2013 and 2018.
The scientists found that dogs suffered the most during this period, with 146 cases of heat stroke. ¾ of these cases were due to the dogs exercising, and 7% were caused by being “trapped” in a car.
Also during this time, 16 cases of stroke in cats were recorded, with the largest number of cases in older cats – over 15 years old. The heat affected 8 guinea pigs, 3 rabbits and a domestic ferret.
Heat-related hazards can affect all pets and heatstroke is likely to become more common as global temperatures rise.
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