Thursday, June 9, 2016

Heat Stroke in Pets a Medical Emergency!

When an animal is in a situation where it becomes overheated it is vital that it receive immediate medical intervention. 

Signs of Heat Stroke in Pets

  • Breathing difficulties as shown through:
    • Rapid breathing that appears frantic, noisy
    • Heavy panting
  • Tongue and mucous membranes will appear bright red
  • Saliva is thick and tenacious
  • Animal will often vomit
  • Taking a rectal temperature may confirm the diagnosis of heat stroke:
    • Normal temperature <102.5°
When left untreated, further heat stroke symptoms may show in ways such as:
  • Animal will appear unsteady and will stagger
  • Bloody diarrhea may occur
  • Lips and mucous membranes will change from bright red to pale blue or gray
  • Animal will:
    • Collapse
    • Have seizures
    • Fall into a coma
    • Die

Treatment for Heat Stroke in Animals

Pets suffering from heat stroke require immediate care. The longer an animal goes without treatment, the greater the chances are for the animal to suffer irreversible damage. Treating the animal requires:
  • Cooling its body down towards a normal temperature:
    • Move the animal out from the source of the heat
  • Using a rectal thermometer, begin monitoring the animal’s temperature every 10 minutes
  • In more severe cases, the following procedures may be taken:
    • Begin rapidly cooling the animal through methods such as:
      • Wetting the animal down with a hose
      • Immersing animal up to its neck in a tub of cool water, not ice water, for about 2 minutes
      • Placing wet animal in front of an electric fan
      • Applying cool packs or wet, cold towels to the armpits, groin, and on head
      • Wiping the paws and pads with cool water
    • Continue monitoring the rectal temperature until the temperature has lowered:
    • For both dogs and cats: temperature under 103° F
  • Once the animal’s temperature has been lowered, it is important to stop the cooling process and dry the animal off
    • Continuing with the cooling process after the temperature has been lowered may produce hypothermia and shock
Immediately bring pets in to see the veterinarian following an episode of heat stroke. Animals can experience delayed and secondary complications that occur within hours or up to days later, for example:
  • Kidney failure
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Seizures
  • Laryngeal edema
  • Spontaneous bleeding
If you suspect your pet may have suffered a heat stroke, take immediate steps to reduce the body temperature and call White House Animal Hospital for help.  Call 615-672-0357 to get your pet in immediately

White House Animal Hospital 615-672-0357
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Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, 4th ed., D.M. Eldredge, L.D. Carlson, D.G. Carlson, J.M. Giffin
Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, 3rd ed., D.M. Eldredge, D.G. Carlson, L.D. Carlson, J.M. Giffin

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