Heat stroke or hyperthermia is common in the summer months, especially with the kind of temperatures we’ve had so far this season! It is very important to protect your pet from this potentially fatal condition.
Common causes of heat stroke are, pets being left in hot cars, being left outdoors with no source of shade/water, or excessive exercise in hot/humid temperatures. It is even more common that your pet may become hyperthermic if they are a brachycephalic breed (flat faced) such as pugs, bulldogs etc.
Dogs and cats cannot regulate their body temperature like us. Dogs rely on panting as their main source of regulating body temperature. Both dogs and cats only sweat a small amount through the pads of their feet, which allows for very little relief from excess body heat.
Signs your pet may be experiencing heat stroke include, lethargy, laboured breathing, dark red/purple gums and tongue, vomiting and diarrhea, seizures, etc. Hyperthermia is considered a medical emergency, and your pet should be taken for treatment immediately. Treatment of this condition includes cool compress and IV fluids.
Prognosis of heat stroke is good if caught early enough. Unfortunately, if left untreated for too long, permanent organ damage may occur, which can ultimately lead to death. Please keep your pets safe this hot summer season and ensure plenty of shade and water are available for them, when outdoors. If you have any questions/concerns, please contact us, and we would be happy to discuss this more with you!
Resource: Life-Learn “Heat Stroke in Dogs”
Written by Briarwood Animal Hospital