Thursday, October 15, 2009

Heat Stroke in Dogs - the Truth About Canine Heat Stroke


Heat stroke in dogs is a life-threatening situation. When your dog's body temperature rises too high, numerous organs can become damaged. The most important organs put at risk include the heart, liver, kidneys, and brain. Canine heat stroke usually affects older or overweight dogs. Those that are less than six months old are also at risk. Also, dogs that have a heavy or dark coat are more at risk.

Causes

Your dog's body temperature should be between 100 and 102.5 Fahrenheit. Various factors can cause it to rise. Heat stroke is normally brought about when dogs are locked in parked cars or other areas with little ventilation. In addition to heat and poor ventilation, excessive humidity or muscular activity can cause heat stroke in dogs. Other factors that increase your dog's risk are his weight and age.
Symptoms

Canine heat stroke can bring about a range of symptoms. In the early stages of the stroke, your dog will start to salivate excessively. As the condition gets worse, his gums will turn dry and turn dark pink. Most dogs also experience weakness, diarrhea, and vomiting. Your dog's heart rate will also rise which will cause him to pant much more than normal.

Treatment

It is very important to treat heat stroke in dogs as soon as possible. Failure to treat the condition promptly can cause chronic problems in the future or even death. Your dog's body temperature needs to be lowered quickly. If you choose to take him to a vet immediately, you should put some ice packs on your dog to help lower the temperature. At the very least, you should roll down the windows or use the air conditioner on the drive to the veterinarian's office.

Treatment involves administering fluids intravenously. As mentioned earlier, canine heat stroke can cause damage to various organs such as the liver and kidneys. Therefore, the veterinarian will monitor your dog's liver and kidney function for a few days after the stroke.

Prevention

There are a few important things you can do to prevent heat stroke in dogs. Most importantly, you should never lock your dog in the car on a hot, sunny day for too long. If you leave your dog in the car, make sure the windows are rolled down far enough to provide plenty of ventilation. Also, if your dog is outside on hot days, make sure he has plenty of water to drink so he doesn't become dehydrated.

By. D Swain

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