As summer heats up, so do our pets.  Please remember that heatstroke can be seen in all ages and breeds. Let’s review what heatstroke is, and how to recognize and prevent it.

What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke is a state of hyperthermia resulting in damage to tissue. It occurs when the body’s ability to generate heat outpaces its ability to dissipate it. Our brain controls body temperature.  When an animal’s core temperature starts to rise, they pant, sweat through their feet, and dilate blood vessels (vasodilation) to cool down.  Excessive vasodilation (blood pooling) leads to low blood pressure, and low circulating blood volume. Normal methods of heat loss fail, and heatstroke begins. Direct thermal damage causes kidney failure, death of digestive tissue, brain swelling, and death of liver and heart tissue. Low blood pressure causes additional organ damage and cell death. The final complication is DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation).  DIC is a process that causes bleeding and clotting in different parts of the body at the same time. It is difficult to reverse and is usually fatal.

corgi-14858_640How do you know if your pet is suffering from heatstroke?

What can you do if you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke?

How can you prevent heatstroke?

You can prevent heatstroke by keeping pets inside on hot summer days, and only exercising them in the early morning or late evening.  When outside, make sure they have plenty of water.  And of course, never leave pets in cars unattended, as temperatures quickly become dangerous.

Thank you for stopping by our blog, if you have additional questions about heatstroke in animals, please contact Midlothian Animal Clinic.