Heat stroke is a common emergency caused by severe elevations in the body temperature. It frequently occurs in dogs in hot humid environments, such as pets left in cars during the summer months. However we do see it in late spring and the first weeks of summer when pets have not had time to acclimate to the heat. Predisposing factors include excess environmental humidity, water deprivation, obesity, and excessive exercise. In addition, brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds like pugs and bulldogs, and dogs with upper airway diseases like laryngeal paralysis are also more likely to develop problems.
Clinical signs seen with heat stroke include excessive panting, dark brick red gums, diarrhea, vomiting, wobbly gait, hypersalivation, and collapse. In severe cases, loss of consciousness or altered mental status, muscle tremors, listlessness and seizures have been seen. High rectal temperatures of 104.9 to 109.4 degrees can lead to severe problems (normal temperatures for dogs and cats range from 100 to 102.5) in multiple body systems and can cause organ failure.
If a pet is identified to be suffering from heat stroke, quick action should be taken. Continue Reading