Thank you for making our Cat & Kitten Adoption Day a Success!
learn more

The first warm days of the summer are officially upon us! After this past winter, we are all happy to have some better weather. During this recent early heat wave I noticed several dogs sitting in parked cars in parking lots as I ran errands around town.

Dog Panting in CarThis is common in early spring as most dogs love car trips, but gets unsafe as the summer heat arrives. This observation made me realize that it may be time to remind everyone of the dangers of leaving dogs in parked cars on warmer days any time of year.

Every year hundreds of pets are seen at veterinary hospitals as a result of heat stroke. Sadly many of these pets die from these catastrophic episodes. The worst part is that these events could be easily avoided. Cabin temperature in a car can increase by as much as 20 degrees in 10 minutes, and continues to increase as time elapses.

Leaving windows open a small amount does little to slow the rise in temperature. Dogs reduce body heat primarily by panting and perspiring through their foot pads. These are inefficient for cooling in a hot, enclosed environment. Once a dog's core body temperature increases above 105 (F), it is considered a medical emergency and veterinary care is needed.

Below is a chart that estimates a car's interior temperature increase over time:

You've just brought your healthy kitten to visit the veterinary office for her annual exam and vaccine updates. Now the vet is telling you she hears a heart murmur. How concerned should you be?

What Does That Murmur Mean?

Kitten with Muddy Creek Animal Care VeterinarianA murmur is simply a sound that tells the listener that something is causing turbulence of the blood flow as it travels through the heart.

Normally, the blood should move from chamber to chamber, and out of the heart valves, as smoothly as water running through a pipe. If something causes a partial blockage, if there's a leak in the system, or even if the liquid isn't being propelled efficiently, turbulence will result in the sloshing sounds we refer to as "murmurs" when we speak of heart function.

In kittens and young cats, congenital irregularities of the heart can cause these sloshing sounds. The majority of these are "innocent" murmurs that will resolve as the patient grows and its heart matures.

Persistent or loud murmurs, however, can be secondary to more severe defects and should be investigated if accompanied by any weakness, pallor, shortness of breath, failure to grow or thrive, or if they persist until the time the pet is due to be spayed or neutered.