Heat Stroke in Dogs


Increased Body Temperature and Heat Exhaustion in Dogs

Hyperthermia is an elevation in body temperature that is above the typically accepted normal range. Although normal worths for dogs differ a little, it generally is accepted that body temperatures above 103°F( 39°C) are abnormal. Heat stroke, meanwhile, is a type of non-fever hyperthermia that happens when heat-dissipating mechanisms of the body can not accommodate excessive external heat. Typically related to temperature of 106°F( 41°C) or greater without signs of inflammation, a heat stroke can cause several organ dysfunction.

This condition can cause several organ dysfunction. Temperatures are suggestive of non-fever hyperthermia. Another type, malignant hyperthermia, is an uncommon familial non-fever hyperthermia that can take place secondary to some anesthetic agents.

Hyperthermia can be classified as either fever or non-fever hyperthermias. Fever hyperthermia results from inflammation in the body (such as the type that happens secondary to a bacterial infection). Non-fever hyperthermia arises from all other causes of increased body temperature.

Other causes of non-fever hyperthermia consist of extreme workout, excessive levels of thyroid hormonal agents in the body, and sores in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that manages body temperature.

Non-fever hyperthermia happens most typically in dogs (as opposed to felines). It can affect any breed, but is more regular in long-haired dogs and short-nosed, flat-faced dogs, likewise called brachycephalic types. It can happen at any age but tends to impact young dogs more than old dogs.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Dogs

Hyperthermia can be categorized as either fever or non-fever hyperthermias; heat stroke is a common form of the latter. Symptoms of both types include:

  • Increased body temperature – above 103°F( 39°C). Reddened gums and damp tissues of the body.
  • Quick heart rate.
  • Modifications in psychological status.
  • Stoppage of the heart and breathing (cardiopulmonary arrest).
  • Muscle tremblings.
  • Small, determine areas of bleeding.
  • Panting
  • Unsteady, incoordinated or intoxicated gait or motion (ataxia).
  • Shock.
  • Unexpected (severe) kidney failure.
  • Fluid accumulation in the lungs; abrupt breathing distress (tachypnea).
  • Production of just small amounts of urine or no urine.
  • Generalized (systemic) inflammatory reaction syndrome.
  • Blood-clotting disorder(s).
  • Seizures.
  • Irregular heart beats.
  • Dehydration
  • Unconsciousness where the dog can not be stimulated to be awakened.
  • Passage of blood in the bowel movement or stool.
  • Disease identified by the breakdown of red-muscle tissue.
  • Vomiting blood (hematemesis).
  • Death of liver cells.
  • Black, tarry stools.
  • Extreme drooling (ptyalism).

Causes of Heat Stroke in Dogs

  • Extreme environmental heat and humidity (might be due to climate condition, such as a hot day, or to being enclosed in an unventilated room, car, or grooming clothes dryer cage).
  • Upper air passage disease that inhibits breathing; the upper airway (also referred to as the upper respiratory tract) includes the nose, nasal passages, throat (vocal cords), and windpipe (trachea).
  • Underlying disease that increases probability of developing hyperthermia, such as paralysis of the voice box or throat; heart and/or blood vessel disease; nervous system and/or muscular disease; previous history of heat-related disease.
  • Poisoning; some poisonous compounds, such as strychnine and slug and snail bait, can cause seizures, which can cause an abnormal increase in body temperature.
  • Anesthesia complications.
  • Excessive workout.

Risk Factors

  • Age extremes (really young, older).
  • Obesity.
  • Short-nosed, flat-faced (brachycephalic) types.
  • Heat intolerance due to poor acclimatization to the environment (such as a heavy covered dog in a hot geographical area).
  • Poor heart/lung conditioning.
  • Previous history of heat-related disease.
  • Hidden heart/lung disease.
  • Dehydration, inadequate water consumption, restricted access to water.
  • Increased levels of thyroid hormonal agent (hyperthyroidism).
  • Thick hair coat.

Treatment for Heat Stroke in Dogs

Early recognition of the symptoms of heat stroke is key to a prompt recovery. If your dog’s increased body temperature can be connected to environmental temperature, such as weather condition, an enclosed space, grooming cage or workout, the first instant step will be to attempt to lower the body temperature.

Some external cooling methods include spraying the dog down with cool water, or immersing the dog’s entire body in cool– not cold– water; covering the dog in cool, damp towels; convection cooling with fans; and/or evaporative cooling (such as isopropyl alcohol on foot pads, groin, and under the forelegs). Stop cooling procedures when temperature reaches 103°F (using a rectal thermometer) to avoid dropping listed below regular body temperature.

It is crucial to prevent ice or very cold water, as this might cause blood vessels near the surface area of the body to restrict and might reduce heat dissipation. A shivering response also is undesirable, as it develops internal heat. Reducing the temperature too rapidly can result in other health problems, a gradual lowering is best. The very same guideline applies to drinking water. Enable your dog to drink cool, not cold, water easily. However, do not force your dog to drink.

You will have to have your dog analyzed by a vet to make sure that a typical temperature has been reach and has actually stabilized, which no long-term damage has occurred within the organs or brain. Complications, such as a blood-clotting disorder, kidney failure, or fluid build-up in the brain will have to be instantly and thoroughly dealt with. Your doctor will check your dog’s blood clot times, and kidney function will be analyzed in part by urinalysis. An electrocardiogram may also be used to observe your dog’s heart capabilities and any irregularities that may have resulted as an outcome of the hyperthermic condition.

In a lot of cases patients have to be hospitalized until their temperature is supported, and may even require intensive look after several days if organ failure has actually taken place. Oxygen supplementation through mask, cage, or nasal catheter may be used for severe breathing issues, or a surgical opening into the windpipe or trachea may be needed if upper air passage obstruction is a hidden cause or a contributing factor. Intravenous feeding or an unique diet might need to be recommended till your dog’s organs have actually recovered to handle a regular diet once again.

Hidden disease conditions or aspects that increase the likelihood of establishing hyperthermia will likewise need to be remedied and dealt with if possible (e.g., obesity, heart/lung disease, grooming with respect to ecological temperature levels, restricting activity with respect to age).


Dogs that have actually suffered an episode of hyperthermia are vulnerable to experiencing it once again. Know the medical signs of heat stroke so you might respond quickly to an episode. Know how to cool your dog properly, and talk to your vet about the proper procedures for maintaining correct body temperature and decreasing it in the most safe way possible.

If your dog is older, or is a brachycephalic breed that is vulnerable to overheating, avoid taking your dog out during the most popular times of day, or leaving the dog in locations that can end up being too hot for your dog, like a garage, bright space, bright backyard, or car. Never leave your dog in a parked car, even for only a few minutes, as a closed car becomes precariously hot really quickly. Always have water available to your dog; on hot days you may even include ice blocks for your dog to lick.

If you have actually refrained from doing so currently, you might want to invest in an animal CPR class. It can imply the difference in between your dog living or passing away ought to an episode of heat stroke happen.


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