Preventing Dogs From Suffering Heat Stroke and Hyperthermia
In the heat of summer and early fall, a dog can be susceptible to heat stroke and/or hyperthermia, so it is important for dog owners to have a good understanding of what these conditions are and what to do about them if symptoms start to reveal themselves.
This guide will help you learn more about heat stroke and hyperthermia in dogs so you can best protect your dog from developing these conditions this summer.
What Are Heat Stroke and Hyperthermia?
Heat stroke and hyperthermia are two conditions where a dog suffers an increase in body temperature, but they do have their differences. Hyperthermia is best described as a condition in which a dog’s body temperature rises above the accepted normal range. This involves temperatures over 103 degrees. Hyperthermia can be categorized as either fever or non-fever related.
Non-fever related hyperthermia can be caused by a variety of factors, including excessive exercise, a reaction to anesthesia, poisoning, upper airway diseases, lesions in the hypothalamus, and high thyroid hormone levels. This type of hyperthermia can affect any breed of dog at any time but is most commonly seen in short-nose, flat-face breeds and those with long hair.
Heat stroke, on the other hand, is associated with temperatures of 106 degrees or higher. This differs from hyperthermia in that heat stroke is not caused by a fever but rather the body’s inability to deal with the excessive external heat.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke and Hyperthermia
Heat stroke and both fever and non-fever hyperthermia share similar signs and symptoms, the most common of which include:
- Excessive panting
- Elevated body temperature
- Red gums
- Little to no urine production
- Black, tarry stools
- Vomiting up blood
- Excessive drooling
- Muscle tremors
- Difficulty breathing
Some of the symptoms that can only be identified by a veterinarian include:
- Blood clotting disorders
- Irregular heartbeat
- Elevated heart rate
- Acute kidney failure
- Death of liver cells
What to Do If You Think Your Dog Has Hyperthermia or Heat Stroke
Hyperthermia and heat stroke can be extremely dangerous for a dog, and the longer you wait to seek treatment, the worse the prognosis will be. Both of these conditions can cause significant damage to the body’s internal organs, specifically the kidneys, liver, lung, and heart, so early detection and treatment is crucial.
If you think your dog is suffering heat stroke due to the high environmental temperature, then the first thing you should do is remove her from the area and take her to an air-conditioned space.
Additional tips for cooling your pet down include spraying her with cool (not cold) water, wrapping her in wet, cool towels, rubbing isopropyl alcohol on her foot pads, under the forelegs, and around the groin. Once her temperature drops to 103 degrees, stop the cooling procedures.
Regardless of whether you were or weren’t able to cool your dog down, you should take her to the vet immediately so she can be evaluated because if damage to one or more organs did occur, she will require immediate clinical care. You can expect the veterinarian to perform a blood clotting test, a urinalysis, and in some cases, an electrocardiogram.
If hyperthermia was caused by an underlying medical condition, then the veterinarian will treat the condition and/or provide you with advice on what lifestyle changes you may need to make for your pet.
If your veterinarian prescribes any medications or supplements for your pet to help her recover or reduce her risk of heat stroke and hyperthermia, then you can receive a free quote for the medications from Diamondback Drugs. We can help you save money on all of your pet medications.
Author: Giano Panzarella