Hyperthermia and Heat Stroke

As summer sizzles in Southern California, we have to be extra vigilant about preventing our dogs from becoming over-heated. Hyperthermia, or abnormally elevated body temperature, occurs when a dog's body temperature reaches 103 degrees F, or higher. Heath stroke, a potentially lethal condition, occurs when dogs body temperature reaches 106 degrees.

Prevention

  • Don't EVER leave your dog in a hot care. Even if it is 74 degrees outside, a car can reach 120 degrees within minutes.
  • Keep your dog in a cool place. Make sure your dog has access to shade. Avoid garages, and keep a fan or the air conditioning going inside.
  • Dogs that have had hyperthermia before, are at increased risk for it to happen again.
  • The best prevention is not to expose your dog to high temps, and to be aware of the signs of hyperthermia and heat stroke.


Signs of Hyperthermia

  • Panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling (ptyalism)
  • Increased body temperature - above 103° F (39° C)
  • Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
  • Production of only small amounts of urine or no urine
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Irregular heart beats
  • Shock
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, incoordinated or drunken gait or movement (ataxia)
  • Changes in mental status

Other Serious Consequences

  • Stoppage of the heart and breathing (cardiopulmonary arrest)
  • Fluid build-up in the lungs; sudden breathing distress (tachypnea)
  • Blood-clotting disorder(s)
  • Vomiting blood (hematemesis)
  • Passage of blood in the bowel movement or stool
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Small, pinpoint areas of bleeding
  • Generalized (systemic) inflammatory response syndrome
  • Disease characterized by the breakdown of red-muscle tissue
  • Death of liver cells
  • Unconsciousness in which the dog cannot be stimulated to be awakened


Treatment:

  • Cool your dog down by applying cold damp towels to the armpits, groion, ear area.
  • Don't put your dog in ice or offer ice. This can excessively lower body temperature and cause shock.
  • Offer water, but do not force water, as it can go into the lungs.
  • Get your dog to the vet ASAP, and call ahead, letting them know you are on the way.

Click here for more information about hyperthermia.



German Wirehaired  Pointer Club of Southern California​

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