Heat Stroke

Signs of Heat Stroke:

Later Stages of Heat Stroke:

How to Treat Heat Stroke:

If your dog is Unresponsive, Unconscious, has Bloody Diarrhea, or is Seizuring -

Go to an Emergency Animal Hospital Immediately!

What is Heat Stroke:

Heat Stroke is a Non-Fever Increase in Core Body Temperature.

Heat Stroke is caused by an systemically intolerable Core Body Temperature that adversely effects multiple organs.

A dog’s normal core Body Temperature is 99 - 102 degrees Fahrenheit. As a dog’s Core Body Temperature increases, the Heart Rate & Respiratory Rates also increase. The normal Respiratory Rate for dogs is between 8 - 20 breaths per minute, and normal Heart rates for dogs are between 70 - 120 beats per minute. Large dogs are on the lower end, while smaller dogs are on the higher end.  

In order for a dog to involuntarily cool their Core Body temperature, they begin to pant, and often look for a Shadier spot, under a tree, dig in dirt, or sit in water. The more your dog’s tongue hangs out and the wider it is - the higher your dogs Core Body Temperature is reaching a Dangerous level. Dogs’ foot pads also release excessive heat, but not as fast as panting.

Brachycephalic Breeds have an increased chance of Heat Stroke because their snouts do not allow the air to be cool as sufficiently as long-nosed breeds.

The pathophysiology and consequences of Heat Stroke share many similarities to sepsis. Acute physiological alterations associated with Heat Stroke include increased metabolic demand (more oxygen required for life), hypoxia (oxygen deprived), circulatory failure, endothelial & tissue injuries (which transport oxygen), intravascular coagulation (blood clots), systemic inflammatory response syndrome, and multiple organ dysfunction.

As the dogs Core Body Temperature increases, so does the need for oxygen. Excessive panting decreases the amount of oxygen absorbed by the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs, and combined with hot air - the alveoli become inflamed and allow less oxygen to be absorbed. Without adequate Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) builds in the circulatory system. High levels of CO2 (over 60%) increase Blood Gasses, and cause Brain Damage.

Dangerous Core Body Temperatures are over 104 degrees Fahrenheit and at 105 degrees F - the brain hemorrhages, and the kidneys fail. Eventually, Multiple Organ Failure occurs.

For dogs with other health conditions: heart disease, liver or kidney disease, etc. Heat Stroke organ damage occurs more rapidly.

How to AVOID Heat Stroke:

Heat Stroke can be FATAL!


Go To: How to Treat Heat Stroke: