Saturday, 20 July 2013

Heatstroke in Dogs

Hyperthermia is an elevation of body temperature out with the normal range.
Heatstroke is a form of hyperthermia (non-fever) that usually occurs in the hotter weather but it can happen at any time.

There are some predispositions to heatstroke:

  • Brachycephalic (short nosed, flat faced) breeds like pugs, shih tzus, bulldogs, boston terriers etc. are more at risk than other dogs purely due to the shape of their face making breathing more difficult
  • Very young or very old dogs
  • Obesity
  • Heart and lung disease
  • Dogs with a thick, heavy coat
  • Dehydration
All of the above have an increased risk of developing heatstroke.

Things that can cause heatstroke:
  • Excessive heat - may be due to weather conditions or being shut in an unventilated area
  • Being left outdoors in hot weather without adequate shade and/or water source
Symptoms of heatstroke:
  • Panting
  • Excessive salivation
  • Red gums
  • Thick saliva
  • Muscle tremors
  • Weakness
  • Ataxia (uncoordinated gait)
  • Vomiting
  • Shock
  • Coma
What to do if you suspect your dog has heatstroke:
  • Contact your Vet ASAP, your dog will need to be seen
  • Cool your dog down in transit, don't use ice or ice cold water.  Wet some towels and cover your dog with them, put a fan on them
  • Don't force water into their mouth but have drinking water available in case they want a drink
Prevention is better than cure:
  • Don't leave your dog in a car - doesn't matter what time of year it is, dogs pant and they can cause a car to heat up real quick
  • Don't exercise your dog when it's warm outside.  My own gets walked in the morning when it's cool and then she doesn't get walked again until later in the evening - toilet breaks only during the day
  • Make sure your dog has plenty of drinking water
  • If your dog is in your garden, make sure they have the ability to get back inside or some form of shelter
This is just some basic info I wanted to put out there as we usually see a lot of dogs in work with Heatstroke at this time of year.