Heatstrokes are a condition known clinically as “extreme hipertermia”. It is characterized by a body temperature over 41º C, and it can cause important damage to organs and tissue, or even death.
It is basic to avoid if possible situations of risk.
Causes of heatstrokes
Dogs are in general more sensitive to heat that human beings because, unlike us, they do not have sweat glands all over the body. That is to say that they can only regulate their body temperature by panting, and by way of the little perspiration they eliminate through the pads in their paws.
Besides, some types of dogs have a greater predisposition to suffer heatstrokes:
- races with flat snouts such as bulldogs, Pekingese, carlinos, or boxers
- obese dogs
- dogs with respiratory pathologies
In addition to these factors, heatstrokes can happen as a consequence of a variety of situations:
- very high environmental temperatures
- committal to places with little ventilation
- prolonged exposition to dryers, or other heat sources
- excessive exercise
A dog inside a car can die in a matter of minutes.
Symptoms of heatstroke
In case of a heatstroke the first symptoms to appear are:
- muscular quivers
- hurried and difficult respiration
- increase of the cardiac rhythm
If left untreated, heatstroke can lead quickly to:
- renal failure
- hepatic failure
- neurological symptoms, such as convulsions
Consequences of heatstrokes
Heatstrokes can cause:
- loss of glucose and essential minerals
- red spots in the skin (petequias)
- gastrointestinal hemorrhage
- renal insufficiency
- cerebral edema
- multiorgan failure
Treatment of heatstrokes
In face of the first symptoms of heatstroke, we must refresh the dog to lower its body temperature. The water must not be too cold, since the body temperature should always go down little by little.
It is of the utmost importance not to cover the dog with towels, since they would not let the heat out.
Secondly, we must go quickly to the veterinarian, to have the temperature stabilized, give the dog oxygen, rehidrate it with intravenous fluids, and to subject it to tests in order to determine whether there has been any damage to organs and tissue.