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Austin animal clinic sees increase in heat injuries


AUSTIN (KXAN) — With high heat and harmful algae reports, one Austin veterinary office is reporting higher numbers of pet injuries.

Dr. Charlie Tabares, a veterinarian at Firehouse Animal Health Center Westlake, said the clinic has seen an increase in paw pad burns and heat strokes. The center has also seen more internal injuries due to harmful algae blooms in the waters.

“Especially with it being how hot it has been this summer, we’ve definitely been seeing a jump in numbers of patients coming in with thermal injuries to their feet or even to their bellies for laying out by the pool as well,” Tabares said.

Heat strokes can happen in dogs when dogs can’t regulate their temperature and get back to a normal level. This can affect an animal’s brain and possibly its internal organs. It can happen within a few minutes, Tabares said.

If an owner notices heavy panting and their animal is having a hard time cooling down, they should find medical care to help them cool down from the inside out, Tabares said.

“If they’re…hot outside, they’ll feel just as hot on the inside,” he said. “So their organs are also feeling that temperature change as well.”

He said injuries are not limited to dogs. Cats are also not safe from the sun, though they are better at staying cool.

He recommends taking dogs out early in the morning or late in the evening when they can tolerate the heat better. If a dog needs to go out mid-day, bring them right back into the A/C, Tabares said.

Tabares also said footwear prevents paw pad burns, though some pets may not like them. Owners can also wet down their pets to keep them cool.


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