What is Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke (hyperthermia) is a severe form of heat illness. It is caused by the loss of water and electrolytes through panting and sweating and is a medical emergency.
Signs of Heat Stroke include:
– Vigorous Panting
– Dark red gums
– Thick Saliva
– Tacky or dry mucous membranes
– Increased body temperature
– Dizziness or disorientation
– Laying down and unwilling or unable to get up
– Collapse and/or lack of consciousness
What to do if you suspect your pet has heat stroke:
– Move your pet out of the heat and sun, into a cool shaded area
– Begin cooling your pet with cool water by placing wet washcloths and towels over their foot pads and around the head (avoid covering the body as this may trap heat in) and change the wet towels frequently
– DO NOT use ice or ice water! This can cause blood vessels to constrict causing the body temperature to rise instead of cool
– Offer your pet cool water but do not force them to drink and do not let them drink excessive amounts at a time
– Call your veterinarian or local emergency clinic right away!
As always prevention is the best medicine! Use these tips to prevent Heat Stroke in your pet:
– Never leave your pet alone in the car on a warm or hot day, even with the windows open. The car acts like an oven and temperatures can become dangerously high in a matter of minutes
– Avoid vigorous exercise on warm days
– Always have fresh cool water available
– Exercise extreme caution with brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds, puppies, seniors and obeses dogs as they are at higher risk for developing heat stroke