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Help your pet beat the heat this summer


By Kristen Parker, DVM
Wayside Animal Hospital

    It’s getting hot! This is the time of year when we really have to be careful about taking pets in the car and even leaving pets outside. Heat stroke can be deadly and burns can be severe. Make sure you are taking the proper precautions to keep your pet cool.
    A dog’s normal temperature is around 101 to 102 degrees. They dissipate heat through their skin. In addition, panting allows evaporation of water from the respiratory tract which helps with cooling. When these normal mechanisms of heat dissipation are overwhelmed, heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke can occur.
    High environmental temperatures are the main cause of heat related illness. The most common cause of heat stroke is being left in a car on a warm day.

    A good rule of thumb is: never leave your dog in the car, even with the windows down, if it is over 70 degrees. Some dogs are more sensitive to heat than others, especially if they have not had time to acclimate to the hot weather. The following list includes animals at greater risk and also circumstances that may cause increased risk:
    • puppies (less than 6 months old) and older dogs (large breeds over 7 years and small breeds over 14 years)
    • overweight dogs;
    • dogs who are very active and very excitable;
    • dogs that have medical conditions and/or are on medications, especially those with fever, airway disease, dehydration, heart disease or seizures;
    • brachycephalic breeds (short nosed dogs such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers);
    • very humid days (water can’t evaporate as well from panting, so it is less effective for cooling).
    Extra precautions should be taken for high risk pets and on very hot/humid days. Keeping your pet indoors with air conditioning is best, especially during the hottest part of the day (from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.). Walking or exercising should be done in the morning or evening. Plenty of fresh water and shade should always be available. If your dog can swim and is large enough to get in and out of a kiddie pool easily, he or she might enjoy having one available. Some dogs might enjoy having some ice available too. You may have noticed Uga lying on a bag of ice during some of the Georgia games when it is hot. Some dogs enjoy frozen treats too, such as water with some low sodium chicken broth in it.
    Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, bright red gums and eyes, weakness, collapse, coma, altered mentation and petechiae (pinpoint hemorrhages on the gums or skin). Heat stroke is life threatening and should be treated as an emergency. If you suspect heat stroke in your dog, take a temperature rectally. If it is 105 or higher, immediately remove your dog from the heat source. Place a cool, wet towel around your dog or soak him or her with lukewarm water. Avoid using ice as this actually causes constriction of the blood vessels in the skin and less heat dissipation. As soon as you have done this, take your pet to your veterinarian for medical treatment. If your pet’s temperature is less than 105 but higher than normal, wet him or her as described above, provide water to drink, and place a fan near him or her. Call your veterinary office and describe any symptoms. They can let you know if more treatment may be needed.
    In addition to heat illness, burns are more common this time of year. If your pet has been shaved for surgery or has had his or her hair cut very short, apply sunscreen before sun exposure. A sunscreen that is safe for babies with an SPF of 30 should help avoid sunburn. The sun also heats up surfaces, such as asphalt. At 77 degrees, asphalt can reach a temperature of 125. At 87 degrees, it can be 143. Skin can be burned in 60 seconds at 125 degrees and an egg can fry in 5 minutes at 131 degrees. If you can’t comfortably place the back of your hand on asphalt for 7 seconds, it is too hot for your dog to walk on it. If your dog does get a sunburn or burns on the paw pads call or visit your veterinarian.

Superintendent Desper discusses sudden retirement



     Below is an interview conducted via e-mail with Superintendent Ben Desper over the weekend. Click here for previous coverage of his retirement announcemet.

    Obviously your announcement came quickly and after your contract had been extended. What prompted the change of direction?
    I began to think about retirement in October of last year when the state offered a retirement incentive to those state employees who had over thirty years of work experience. The board of education was very generous to make contract changes to provide me an incentive to stay, however, now is really a good time in our family for me to make this change.  I am very excited about beginning a new chapter of my life.
    The demands and the rewards of this job are great, but your family must always come first. Along with spending more time with my family, I want to have the time and freedom to pursue some interests that I have had to put on the back burner for a few years. 

    The budget process has been somewhat contentious, but it appeared that you were near the end of it. Did issues that arose during it play any part in your announcement?

For Dr. Desper's answer to this and several other questions regarding the Pickens County School System, see this week's print or online edition.

Woodbridge Inn owner seeks investors for major upgrades



The Woodbridge Inn and Restaurant owner, Hans Rueffert, stands in the lawn of his Jasper business. 

    Hoping to maintain the legacy of The Woodbridge Inn, which his family has owned and operated for decades, Chef Hans Rueffert has some large-scale plans to transform the historic venue with kitchen upgrades and areas for special events and entertainment.


County pool now open for summer


By Laiken Owens,
Intern Reporter
    The Pickens County Community Pool is now open to the public for summer fun.
    The pool located at Roper Park opened Saturday June 1st, and will be open all summer. The pool hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11a.m. to 5p.m., Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., and the pool is closed on Mondays for cleaning.

Dr. Lula Mae Perry hired as superintendent



     The Pickens school board announced Tuesday afternoon they had hired a superintendent on a six-month contract to replace Dr. Ben Desper who announced his retirement last week. 

     The board hired Dr. Lula Mae Perry, who served as superintendent of the Jeff Davis County schools from 2000 through 2012. Perry will work on a consulting basis for the month of June while Desper completes his final month and will begin full time in July.

     Perry retired in 2012. School board attorney Phil Landrum said she came with an excellent statewide reputation and is familiar with the work of a superintendent in a system the size of Pickens.

     Landrum said the board feels she will be effective from day one.

     See complete story in today's print or e-editions.