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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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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