Well its summer again, and I just wanted to make sure everyone knew what to do in case one of your pets gets heat stroke! Here's a little information about heat stroke and what to do if your pet has it.
SIGNS OF HEAT STROKE
Signs of heat stroke are intense, rapid panting, wide eyes, salivating, staggering and weakness. Advanced heat stroke victims will collapse and become unconscious. The gums will appear pale and dry. If heat stroke is suspected and you can take the animal's temperature rectally, any temperature above 106 degrees is dangerous. The longer the temperature remains at or above 106 degrees the more serious the situation.
TREATMENT FOR HEAT STROKE
Take the pet's temperature rectally if possible. A body temperature of about 105 degrees or higher is probable evidence for heat stroke. Place your pet in a tub of cool running water or spray with a hose being sure the cool water contacts the skin and doesn't simply run off the coat. Thoroughly wet the belly and inside the legs. Run the cool water over the tongue and mouth. Take a rectal temperature if possible to know when to stop cooling. A safe temperature is about 103 degrees. A small dog will cool down much faster than a large dog. Once the temperature gets to 103 or 104 degrees do not cool the pet any further because the cooling effects will continue to bring the temperature down even further. Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.
WHAT DOES HEAT STROKE DO?
In severe cases, the elevated body temperature triggers chemical reactions in the cells of the body... highly active cells such as brain, intestinal and liver cells are at greatest risk for heat trauma. The metabolic disturbances brought on by excessive heat instigate the release of chemicals within the cells that cause the ultimate destruction a breakage of the cell. Most heat stroke victims are dehydrates, as well, and their blood thickens to the point that the heart has severe stresses placed on it in trying to pump the abnormally viscous blood through the blood vessels. The result is stagnation of blood, blood clotting and eventual death of tissues due to what is termed ischemic necrosis. Wherever a clot forms, the tissues nourished by that clogged vessel die from metabolic starvation. The dying cells give off chemicals that further damage surrounding tissues and a point is reached beyond which no recovery is possible. In some unfortunate situations where the heat stroke victim has experienced a dangerously high body temperature for a length of time such that too many brain and other body cells have been damaged, no matter what life saving measures are employed and bioprotective medications are administered, death will result.