At Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego our Poway vets often see cases of heatstroke in pets. Here we share some of the symptoms of heatstroke in cats, and what you should do if you think your cat is suffering from heatstroke.
Heatstroke in Cats
Heatstroke is also called prostration or hyperthermia. This is when there is an increase in core body temperature caused by environmental conditions. Your cat's normal body temperature should be around 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your cat's body temperature rises above 105, immediate veterinary care is required!
Why Cats Get Heatstroke
Heatstroke in cats and dogs is often caused by exposure to excessive heat. Some of the most common causes of heatstroke in cats include:
- Extremely hot outdoor temperature
- Lack of access to water
- Trapped in hot unventilated space (such as a car)
- Lack of access to shade
Signs of Heatstroke in Cats
Heatstroke symptoms in cats can include one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sweaty feet
- Muscle Tremors
- Excessive Panting
- Restless behavior
- Uncoordinated movement
- Loss of Balance
- Excessive grooming
How to Treat Heatstroke in Cats
Heatstroke is a serious condition and symptoms should always be treated as an emergency! If your cat is displaying signs of heatstroke head to your vet straight away, or go to the nearest animal emergency hospital.
If You suspect that your cat may be suffering from heatstroke there are a few things you should do. First, move your cat into a cool room and wet your cat's fur with cool water, then place ice packs gently on your cat's feet.
While transporting your cat to the vet keep the vehicle's air conditioning on full or open windows to allow airflow to help cool your cat down.
How Your Vet Will Treat Your Cat's Heatstroke
Your veterinarian will take necessary measures to lower your cat's body temperature back to a normal level. This may involve using cool water and/or ice packs to provide relief.
Intravenous fluids may be administered by your vet to help lower your cat's temperature, counteract shock, and minimize the risk of organ damage. In certain situations, oxygen therapy might also be necessary.
The veterinary team will closely monitor your cat's body temperature at frequent intervals until it returns to a normal range. If heatstroke is detected early and prompt treatment is initiated, cats have the potential to recover swiftly.
However, it is crucial to recognize that heatstroke poses a significant health risk to cats and dogs. Before allowing your pet to return home, your vet will thoroughly examine your cat for any signs of organ damage or other serious complications. In some cases, the manifestation of organ damage may not become apparent until several days after the heatstroke incident. Therefore, it is important to diligently observe your cat for any signs of illness, especially if they have recently experienced heatstroke.
Preventing Heatstroke in Cats
To prevent your cat from getting heatstroke, always provide your cat with access to a cool, shady space to relax in on hot days, make sure that your feline friend has access to plenty of fresh clean water to drink, and never leave your pet trapped in a vehicle or hot room.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.