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The Bulgarian office of FOUR PAWS are warning that the low temperatures are dangerous for the animals as well


The Bulgarian office of the international animal welfare organization FOUR PAWS warn that the low temperatures expected in the upcoming days involve risks for the animals. Most at risk are those that live permanently outside – stray and yard dogs. Often they become victims of hypothermia or freezing in which the body temperature drops below normal.  

© FOUR PAWS | Marcel Fens

“Any animal exposed for too long at a low temperature is predisposed to hypothermia. The most susceptible are the young, very old and sick,” explains the director of FOUR PAWS for Bulgaria Dr. Marina Ivanova. “The animal should immediately receive first aid and examination by doctor if first signs of hypothermia are noticed.”

There are three stages of hypothermia – light, wherein the body temperature of the dog is between 32 and 35 degrees; middle – between 28 and 32 and severe – less than 28 degrees. The light hypothermia is characterized by depression, lethargy, drowsiness, weakness, shivering, pale mucous membranes, uncoordinated movements and slow pulse. With middle hypothermia the symptoms observed are spasms of the muscles, slow heartbeat, slow pulse, slow and superficial breathing, abnormal movements and slow reflexes. Severe hypothermia can be recognized by pale mucous membranes, spasms of the muscles and joints, delayed and shallow breathing, pulmonary edema, reduction of heartbeat, lowering of blood pressure and cardiac arrest, loss of reflexes, dilated pupils, and coma.

FOUR PAWS veterinarians advise if there is any suspicion of hypothermia the animal to be put immediately in a warm room. Depending on the stage of freezing the first aid should include warming the animal slowly, covering it with a blanket, restriction of movements, light massage on the frosted parts, providing hot water and food and warming up with electric pillows or a bottle with hot water, which should not be put directly on the body and have to be wrapped in a protective fabric. If the animal’s condition involves severe freezing of the body, seek immediate help from a veterinarian. At FOUR PAWS clinic in Sofia are ready to provide first aid to the stray and yard animals with severe hypothermia, which will be put under fluid warming therapy. 

Experts from the organization advise if you are taking care of a yard or stray animal to provide him with access to warm area where the animal could spend the coldest parts of the day. 

© FOUR PAWS | Marcel Fens

FOUR PAWS are concerned about the conditions in some shelters in Bulgaria, in which the animals are exposed to low temperatures and do not receive adequate medical care. “Most of these shelters are either not registered at all or were registered by the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency in violation of current regulations. Although there are systematic violations, the agency allows their work to continue and not for the first time they are neglecting their duties as a supervisory body under the Animal Welfare Law” clearly states Dr. Marina Ivanova