Animals and elderly hit hardest by Jozi heatwave

Lizeka Tandwa

Johannesburg - As the heatwave continues to grip most Gauteng, old age homes and animal shelters will have to take extra precautions.

While old age homes say they have not had any casualties as a result of the scorching heat, many have raised concerns over their residents.

The Nation Council of SPCAs has also raised concerns about the welfare of animals.

According to Manette Walters, the matron at Johannesburg’s Queen Alexandra old age home, they have doubled their residents' fluid intake for the week.

"No one has fallen ill, but we have been very vigilant, making sure that they take their fluids every hour. We also instructed our caregivers to ensure that the elderly wear cool clothing and stay out of the sun," added Walters.

Another home for the elderly, the Frail Care Centre, said they were ensuring that most of their residents received extra glucose and fluids as they were suffering from dehydration. "This heat is terrible and in order for our residents to survive this week, we are keeping them in our hall where it's cool and they are also hydrated at all times," said Frail Care Centre head Maureen Wilson.
News 24 spoke to four other old age homes which were also exercising caution.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the NSPCA said working animals such as security dogs or donkeys used for transport needed to be monitored carefully to avoid dehydration, fatigue and heatstroke.

Christine Kuch of the NSPCA said: "Chained or confined animals are especially at risk."

She said animal owners should avoid walking or exercising their dogs in the heat of the day as heat retained in tarred roads and hot pavements could damage the animals’ paws.

"Rather wait until temperatures drop towards the end of the day or take a break from exercising your animals while temperatures soar," she said.