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How to avoid Hyperthermia (Heatstroke)

As the current hot weather seems to be with us for a while we thought it would be helpful to share with you some information on Heatstroke specifically what it is, how to avoid it and what to do if your dog is affected. 

Heatstroke is caused by the inability of the body to maintain its normal temperature because of the environmental temperature around the body. It is often caused by keeping a dog in a locked car parked in the sun, by keeping him in any hot area without adequate ventilation, over exertion in hot temperatures or just simply over heating due to the external environment conditions. 

As with anything prevention is better than cure and you can follow these guidelines to help reduce the risk:

1. Keep your dog indoors in excessive heat or in shaded areas outside

2. Ensure they have plenty of clean cool water to drink and where possible, to lie in

3. Walk early morning or late afternoon/evening to avoid the hottest part of the day

4. Reduce the length of the walks to avoid over exertion

5. NEVER leave in a car even for “just a minute”

6. Walk near water where possible

7. Invest in a cool blanket or other cooling device 

Even with the best prevention methods there is always a risk so how do you spot the signs?

1. Excessive drooling

2. Vomiting

3. Lack of coordination

4. Rapid breathing

5. High temperature, and a top of the head that is hot to the touch

6. Glazed eyes

7. Lethargy

8. Excessive thirst

9. Excessive panting 

Rapid treatment is vital. Body temperatures can get as high as 41.5 degrees Celsius, and without quick cooling, severe brain damage and death will occur. 

So what can you do?

1. Remove the dog from the hot environment and place in a shaded area

2. Immerse him in a lukewarm water bath or continuously running water if available

3. If you do not have access to lukewarm water use a slow running garden hose to trickle water over the body (especially between the hind legs and over the abdomen); continue either treatment for at least 30 minutes

4. Apply an ice pack to the top of the back of the head and neck and try to keep it there while transporting the patient to the veterinary surgeon immediately after performing the above-mentioned treatment


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