With three-digit temperatures currently impacting the area, your veterinarian in Phoenix, AZ unfortunately witnesses many instances of heat stroke in dogs. It results from the body’s cooling mechanisms not being adequate to address excessive external temperature. If you do not recognize heat stroke and act immediately, your dog may suffer organ dysfunction, which can lead to death. Here are four signs of heat stroke you should look out for in the warm months ahead:
- Excessive panting: Dogs pant when they are hot; that is one their cooling mechanisms. You can learn what is normal for your dog. However, if panting is relentless and your dog also drools excessively and remains dehydrated, she may be in the early stages of heat stroke. Take your dog to a cool air-conditioned place and see if the symptoms improve. If not, visit the veterinarian immediately.
- Reduced urinating: Your dog should urinate proportional to the amount of water she drinks. If her internal temperature reaches excessive levels, she will retain water and urinate less, or not at all. Watch your dog’s water intake on hot days, not just to avoid dehydration but to get a good idea of her overall physical condition. If you notice that your dog never stops to urinate despite drinking water constantly, heat stroke may be on the horizon.
- Reduced coordination: Heat stroke slows nerve impulses, and you will notice that in your dog’s gait and mental state. If she is walking in a wobbly, uncoordinated manner, it is likely she has heat stroke. When this happens with muscle spasms, seizure and a change of behavior, beware—not only may your dog bite you, but those are signs that you need to get her emergency vet treatment right now! Ignoring these symptoms will result in cardiac arrest and unconsciousness, which could lead to imminent death.
- Vomiting: Dogs suffering heat stroke will often vomit blood. This is an alarming symptom no matter the cause, but if it is a hot day and your dog starts throwing up, your outdoor time is over—even if there is no blood in the vomit. There may be blood in the stools, as the stomach and intestinal linings are compromised from your dog’s high body temperature. This can be a serious situation very quickly, so keep vomiting dogs inside on hot days.
Some breeds are more vulnerable to heat stroke than others, and very young and old dogs are more vulnerable. Short-nosed, flat-faced breeds like pugs are more likely to get heat stroke than breeds with defined facial features. Also, huskies and other thick-coated breeds do not do well with the hot summer days in Phoenix, and keeping them inside with air conditioning is your best course of action when it reaches the triple digits. You also want to be careful if your dog has a history of thyroid deficiency, lung and heart conditions or previous heat stroke.
Christown Animal Hospital is your local veterinarian in Phoenix, AZ. If your dog is having a tough time with this summer’s heat, call us today to schedule an appointment.
Categorised in: Veterinarian
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