Thursday, November 20, 2014

Frozen Kitten’s Brush With Death a Reminder to Protect Pets From Winter Weather

The plight of a tiny kitten revived from the dead after being left outside to freeze is a warning to pet owners to protect their animals from the cold now that winter weather has arrived in Ottawa.

Now recovering at the Ottawa Humane Society, the kitten, aptly named Lucky, was declared dead on arrival when a veterinarian first laid eyes on his lifeless body.

“This is an amazing story of survival and should really be a reminder to pet owners to be mindful of the risks of cold weather for their animals,” said Bruce Roney, OHS executive director. “Lucky was truly lucky this time. But he’s definitely used up eight of his nine lives.”

A Good Samaritan found the two-month-old kitten in a shed Sunday night suffering from severe hypothermia and rushed him for emergency care. The vet, who thought the kitten was dead, performed CPR in a final attempt to save his life. Astonishingly, Lucky’s tiny heart started beating again.

The vet gave Lucky medicine to keep his heart going and raised his body temperature with warmed IV fluids and heating pads. He’s presently in the critical care unit at the OHS.

Like Lucky, pets left outside too long risk frostbite and even death without shelter from the cold temperatures. Pet owners can protect their animals from the winter weather by taking a few precautions:
  • Cats should live indoors year-round and never be allowed to roam in the cold. 
  • Limit the time your dog spends outside. Take your dog for shorter, more frequent walks.
  • Consider a sweater or coat for your dog.
  • Be sure to wipe your dog’s paws after returning from a walk to remove salt, sand and other chemicals designed to melt ice and snow.
  • Dogs that live outside are required by law to have an insulated doghouse built from weather-proof material, facing away from prevailing winds. The shelter must be elevated from the ground with a door flap and bedding.
  • Keep an eye on outdoor water bowls. Make sure your pet’s water hasn’t frozen in the cold. 
  • Don’t leave your pet in a cold car for a long period of time.
  • Be mindful of animals that may have crawled under your car to keep warm. Bang on the hood a couple times to scare away cats and wildlife.

If you see an animal in distress, please call the OHS emergency line at 613-725-1532.

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