July 1, 2008 "Ask Seth"

This summer is not hotter than any other, yet my dog has been panting excessively and I am concerned about heat stoke.

Dear Seth,

This summer is not hotter than any other, yet my dog has been panting excessively and I am concerned about heat stoke. I have heard about heat stroke on the news and want to know if my pug “Bentley” is at risk.

Lois


Lois,

This is a great question! Heat Stroke is a potentially fatal condition which occurs when an animal is in an environment with increased temperature, high humidity and very little ventilation. Since dogs and cats do not sweat like people, they cannot benefit from water evaporation from the skin. They reduce their temperature through panting and radiation of heat from the skin. When the combination of high heat, high humidity, and low ventilation occurs, these processes cannot adequately remove the heat from the pet and this increases the body temperature dramatically. Without a change in those conditions, collapse and severe shock is inevitable. If the animal is not treated immediately, death is possible. Dogs with a pushed-in noses like Bentley, are more susceptible to heat stoke due to the decrease volume of air flow for rapid heat loss. To prevent heat stroke, try to keep the animal cool by eliminating direct sunshine, keep them inside where it is cool, have a baby pool with small amount of water if outside, and always have fresh water readily available

Thank you,

Seth Mayersohn, CVT

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