Heat Stroke In Pets

Hi Everyone! One of the biggest interests of mine is providing education to pet parents to help theirs pets stay away from the vet!

I know that the hot season has died down, but check out this article I wrote on heat stroke, one of the most heart breaking emergencies I see.

Heat stroke is a killer. But yet a completely preventable condition. In the midst of the summer heatwaves, countless animals are flooding into veterinary hospitals with temperatures of 105 degrees and above, or even deceased on arrival.

Heat stroke is caused by extended exposure to high temperatures, such as unsupervised time outside, confined in a hot space without ventilation, over-exercise, or inability to keep cool. There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of your pet getting heat stroke. Dogs are more likely to suffer from hyperthermia than cats and certain breeds are more susceptible. Brachycephalics, or short-faced breeds like pugs, French bulldogs, English bulldogs, etc., have a decreased ability to cool themselves due to their shortened airway making them more at risk to overheat. Obese animals and dark coated animals especially in direct sunlight also have an increased risk.

Heat stroke can be identified by changes in a pet’s behavior associated with being too hot. This includes panting excessively, dulled mentation, or shock signs like vomiting, diarrhea, bright red gums, and red or purple splotches on skin or gums known as petechiae which is a sign of bleeding disorder.

This heartbreaking emergency can easily be prevented by taking the necessary precautions this hot season.
- Only allow supervised outside time that is limited to 5-10 minutes
- Give shade and plenty of water
- Allow pets the ability to escape heat
- Never leave a pet in car alone
- Take extra precautions with at risk animals with other conditions – Those that are overweight, have short face, have other medical conditions, and those with a dark coat
- On hot days, take short walks, and test the ground for heat to prevent paw pad burns
If your animal does overheat, begin cooling with cool water, not ice water and bring to your nearest emergency veterinary facility.

They will need evaluation and hospitalization to prevent life-threatening consequences, such as seizures, multiple organ failure, or the bleeding disorder, called disseminated intravascular coagulation.
Let’s continue to make summer a fun season, not one of tragedy.
Heatstroke in pets