Heat Stroke in Dogs

Heat stroke and hot car safety are major concerns in south Texas, especially this time of year. The pets are not yet acclimated to the higher temperatures we are experiencing and when combined with high humidity, this can cause an emergent illness called heat stroke.

Heatstroke is an important and surprisingly common problem here in south Texas. You may be surprised to know your pets are at highest risk of developing heatstroke in the early summer. This is an emergency that can cause permanent damage to the intestines, liver, and kidneys resulting in organ failure. When the body overheats, some of the cells die causing death of liver cells, shedding of the lining of the intestines, and release of toxins. This stress on the kidneys causes kidney failure without veterinary intervention.

Signs of heatstroke include collapse, severe panting, seizures, and elevated temperature. If you suspect heatstroke, you can take your pet’s temperature rectally. If their temperature exceeds 105.0 degrees, they should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

DO NOT COVER YOUR PET IN ICE IF YOU SUSPECT HEATSTROKE. Pouring cool water or rubbing alcohol on your pet is best for them until you get to the veterinarian. Most pets with heatstroke are hospitalized on IV fluids and antibiotics for several days until the kidney and liver damage can be assessed with blood values. Heat stroke is an emergency that should not wait overnight or through the weekend. If you suspect heat stroke in your pet, he or she needs immediate emergency care.

Many people are often concerned with hot car pet safety in our area.

Hot Car Safety:

It is not safe to leave your pet in the car even for 10 minutes in the hot south Texas summers! Here are some comparison temperatures even if the windows are cracked. Contact the local authorities for directions on what to do if you find a pet that is in distress locked in a hot care.

Outside Temperature Inside the Car
75 118
77 123
81 138
90 143
95 145