Issue Description Hyperthermia, in its advanced state referred
to as heat stroke or sunstroke, is an acute condition which occurs
when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. It
is usually caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures. The
heat-regulating mechanisms of the body eventually become overwhelmed
and unable to effectively deal with the heat, causing the body
temperature to climb uncontrollably. Hyperthermia is a medical
emergency which requires immediate treatment. Other Names Hyperthermia, Sunstroke
Differences Between Hyperthermia And Fever A fever occurs when the body sets the core
temperature to a higher temperature, through the action of the
pre-optic region of the anterior hypothalamus. For example, in
response to a bacterial or viral infection, the body will raise its
temperature to allow the immune system to work better and to
deteriorate the condition of the invaders. In contrast, hyperthermia
occurs when the body temperature is raised without the consent of the
heat control centers.
Symptoms Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy panting,
hyperventilation (deep breathing), increased salivation early then dry
gums as the heat prostration progresses, weakness, confusion or
inattention, vomiting or diarrhea and sometimes bleeding. As the
condition progresses towards heat prostration or heat stroke there may
be obvious paleness or graying to the gums, shallowing of the
breathing efforts and eventually slowed or absent breathing efforts,
vomiting and diarrhea that may be bloody and finally seizures or coma.
Temperatures above 105 degrees Fahrenheit are dangerous.
Pinch a little skin between your thumb and forefinger on the dog's
back. If when released, the skin does not pop back into place like it
should, this usually indicates dehydration is occurring. (You should
have performed this test under normal conditions to have an idea how
this normally works because younger, fatter dogs will have more
elasticity than will older, skinnier dogs).
Immediately move the dog to a cool, shady
Wet or immerse the dog in cool (not ice cold) water.
Fan wet dog vigorously to promote evaporation to help cool the
dog's body temperature.
Do not apply ice as this constricts blood flow and will inhibit
the body's attempts to cool itself.
Allow the dog to have small drinks of water every few minutes,
lick ice, ice cream or a popsicle. Use broth in water to encourage
If recovery is slow, take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as
Prevention Dogs cannot cool themselves on hot days since
panting becomes less effective the hotter it gets. This is why it is
important not to leave your dog in the car in the summer, even with
the window cracked open. A good guideline is to cool your dog or give
your dog water when you feel the need for yourself.
to heatstroke is to recognize it as early as possible and to
immediately begin bringing your dog's body temperature down to 103F.