Handling the Heat This Summer: Car Edition

Handling the Heat This Summer: Car Edition

Summer fun has arrived and while we plan our picnics and pool parties, we must keep our pet’s safety in mind.  High temperatures lead to hot cars and scorching pavement which can have dire consequences for our fur family if left unchecked.

To lead things off, please take the time to view this video on a dogs perspective of hot car under the summer rays:

Did you know?: Canines can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads.

On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

Special circumstanceDogs with a restricted airway such as the brachycephalic breeds (flat faced dogs such as pugs, boxers and bulldogs) are at greater risk.  In these breeds, clinical signs of heat stroke can occur when the outside temperature and humidity are only moderately elevated.

So what signs does a dog in distress show during heat stroke?

 

Restlessness

Excessive Thirst

Thick Saliva

Heavy Panting

Lethargy

Lack of Appetite

Dark Tongue

Rapid Heartbeat

Fever

Vomiting

Bloody Diarrhea

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What is the treatment for heat stroke?

Hyperthermia is an immediate medical emergency. Safe, controlled reduction of body temperature is a priority. Cool water (not cold) may be poured over the head, stomach, armpits and feet, or cool cloths may be applied to these areas.  Rubbing alcohol may be applied to the footpads to dilate pores and increase perspiration. Ice may be placed around the mouth and anus. Intravenous fluids, mild sedation and low-concentration oxygen therapy are also commonly used to treat heat stroke.

The dog’s rectal temperature should be monitored and treatment discontinued once the pet shows signs of recovery or the temperature has fallen to 103ºF (39.4ºC).

What is the prognosis for heat stroke?

“The prognosis depends on how high the body temperature elevated, how long the hyperthermia persisted and what the physical condition of the pet was prior to the heat stroke.”

The prognosis depends on how high the body temperature elevated, how long the hyperthermia persisted and what the physical condition of the pet was prior to the heat stroke. If the body temperature did not become extremely high, most healthy pets will recover quickly if they are treated immediately. Some pets may experience permanent organ damage or may die at a later date from complications that developed secondarily to the hyperthermia. Pets that experience hyperthermia are at greater risk for subsequent heat stroke due to damage to the thermoregulatory center.

If you think your canine may be suffering from heat stroke, do not hesitate to contact any of our locations (Dunlap, Peoria, Chillicothe)

Our veterinary clinics can offer assistance to ensure your pet receives the attention he/she needs.