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‘It breaks my heart:’ heat wave taking a toll on pets, Langley vet clinic staffer warns

In one shift on Saturday, there were 15 heat cases, 12 fatal
Kaneycia Bush-McLean, a Langley City resident who works as a registered veterinary technician seen here with, with Quila (L) and Koda (R) said pet owners need to understand the hazards of the current heat wave. The clinic she works at had 15 heat stroke cases in one eight-hour shift, 13 fatal. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

A Langley veterinary clinic staffer posted a plea on social media to pet owners to take the heat wave seriously after seeing 15 cases of heat stroke, 12 fatal, during one eight-hour shift, on the first full day of the heat wave on Saturday, June 27.

Kaneycia Bush-McLean, a Langley City resident who works as a registered veterinary technician at the Animal Emergency Clinic of the Fraser Valley in Langley, said the toll included six rabbits and three dogs that died at home from heat stroke, as well as one cat and two dogs that had to be euthanized for severe heat stroke, and two dogs and one rabbit admitted to hospital for heat stroke on Saturday, June 26.

One dog died in their owners car, as they were being transported to the clinic, Bush-McLean said.

“There will be more and it just breaks my heart,” Bush-McLean predicted.

All were from surrounding neighbourhoods where the clinic is located.

READ MORE: Heat wave sets new record for peak hourly demand: BC Hydro

”It’s unfortunately not new to us,” Bush-McLean said.

“I don’t know what it’s going to take for people to get the message.”

Pet owners need to know that pets can suffer heat stroke even inside a house when conditions are extremely hot, Bush-McLean told the Langley Advance-Times.

Young puppies or senior dogs are especially vulnerable, she added.

Bush-McLean suggests pet owners minimize bathroom breaks outside; keep pets in cooler rooms in the house, ideally with air conditioning, or with fans going on high.

“If your house is particularly warm keep them off of blankets and thick bedding if possible, – making them lay on cool tile or wood floors will help keep them cooler than carpet or blankets.

There are cooling products like bandanas and vests that can be found in stores, and while Bush-McLean expects places will start to run out of stock, getting a towel wet with cold water, wringing it out and laying it over them will provide the same benefits – however, it is important to remove the towel once it is no longer cold or it will start to heat up and trap the warmth in, she warned.

READ ALSO: Aldergrove shelter says pets stands for ‘please ensure their safety

If a pet is struggling with the heat, she suggests reaching out to friends or family with air conditioning to see if they might be willing to pet-sit during the day.

“I encourage people to take them to doggie day care.”

One online commenter got a thumbs-up from Bush-McLean for their tip:

They keep a stack of wet flat folded Frozen hand towels in Ziploc bags in their freezer and lay them out under a towel for the dog to lay on and keep their core temperature cool

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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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