Understanding Heat Stroke and its Treatment

Understanding Heat Stroke and its Treatment

Heatstroke or hyperthermia is a common problem experienced by pets and animals during the summer season. Heat stroke is a condition where in the body temperature exceeds 39.4 degrees Celsius or 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

In animals, when their body temperature exceeds the average threshold, they are referred to as hyperthermic. In case your pet’s body temperature reaches 107 degrees to 109 degrees Fahrenheit, there is a possibility of multiple organ failure or death. If your pet has no signs of illness and still has elevated body temperature, you should rush him to Virginia Beach veterinary clinic.

Reasons for heat stroke

  • Most pets, commonly dogs, experience heatstroke if they are left in the car for too long. In a packed vehicle with no proper ventilation, a dog’s body temperature may elevate, causing heatstroke.
  • Unlike humans, pets don’t sweat to control their body temperature. Dogs pant to control their body temperature and regulate their body condition. Thus, when animals are exposed to extreme heat for an extended period, they tend to experience hyperthermia.
  • Excessive and vigorous outdoor exercise during the hot and dry season can also result in heat stroke in pets.
  • Sparsely ventilated rooms or kennels is another common reason for heatstroke in pets.
  • Dogs from brachycephalic breeds that have a flat face and restricted airway are more susceptible to heatstroke. These dogs can experience heat stroke if the weather has increased only moderately.
  • Similarly, dogs that wear muzzles can’t pant properly, and thus, they are at a higher risk of heatstroke.
  • Besides fluctuation in outside temperature, a medical condition like pyrexia can result in hyperthermia in animals.
  • Sometimes, muscle spasms, seizures, and extreme body pain can also lead to elevated body temperature.

Treatment for Heat Stroke

  • Hyperthermia or heat stroke can be fatal for your pet. Veterinarians and animal doctors consider it a medical emergency. It’s always advised to rush your pet to veterinary clinic Virginia Beach if you see any signs of heatstroke.
  • While treating heatstroke in pets, vets primarily focus on reducing body temperature safely. During initial treatment, the vet may give your cold pet compression with a cool cloth or pour fresh water over the stomach, head, or feet.
  • Most often, rubbing alcohol is applied to their paws. The rubbing alcohol dilated the pores on the footpads allowing the body to increase perspiration.
  • In extremely elevated body temperature, doctors may perform low-concentration oxygen therapy or give intravenous fluids to the pet.
  • Once your pet shows the sign of recovery or their body temperature has reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit, the treatment should be discontinued.

The prognosis for heat stroke

The diagnosis of heat stroke majorly depends upon the body temperature and duration of hyperthermia. If your pet’s body temperature has not reached the critical high level, they will have a quick recovery. However, some pets may experience permanent organ failure or die due to the complications of hyperthermia. Since hyperthermia damages the thermoregulatory center, if your pet has a history of heatstroke, it is at a higher risk of heatstroke.