Heat Stroke


Heat stroke is a very important condition to be aware of in Hong Kong in summer. Dogs do not cool their body temperature like humans by sweating and evaporating over the skin surface. Their tongue becomes the surface of evaporation. Body heat is thus lost by panting air rapidly over the tongues surface. When the ambient temperature is above 30 degrees with high humidity, the situation can become dangerous for a dog that is exercising as he may not be able to release enough body heat. There is also a higher risk or brachycephalic (short nosed) dogs for getting heat stroke.

Symptoms:
After exercise or even walking on a very hot humid day. Your dog may be breathing excessively, excessive salivation at first, weakness and disorientation, and collapse. The gums may appear very red at first and then go pale and dry as he goes into shock. There will be a very rapid heart rate. He may vomit or have diarrhoea. If you have a thermometer and know how to use it, check his body temp. temperatures above 40 degrees are becoming quite dangerous.

Treatment:
Cool his body temp down asap. Wet the hair over his body and put him in front of a fan. Give him water to drink. This can be an emergency situation and if your pet appears disorientated and weak or collapsed bring him to us ASAP. Furthermore, permanent and irreversible damage my happen to the brain and kidneys. The ability of the blood to coagulate may be altered that may set off and irreversible cascade of blood coagulation failure. As an emergency, he will go on iv fluids to treat the shock and maintain tissue perfusion. Especially the kidneys. We will monitor the factors that help the blood to coagulate. If we can treat the patient soon, the outcome is generally quite positive.

Please remember, your dog needs to pant to cool down his body temp. if you must use a muzzle please make sure it is the cage type that will allow your dog to pant normally.