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Heat Stroke And Heat Stress In Greyhounds
by Carol Macherey, DVM
Heat stroke is an avoidable tragedy but it still kills some of our greyhounds every year. With warmer weather, we walk our hounds more, jog with them, travel in the car, attend fun runs, leave them in their yard longer, and each outing carries the risk of overheating. Greyhounds are sprinters, not long distance runners. Few are conditioned for strenuous exercise and few can cope with high humidity and heat. Heat stress is an overheated dog that can quickly become a heat stroke victim. Dogs release excess body heat by panting, and minor sweating from their paws. On a hot and humid day, this simply can't cool them. While their normal body temperature is between 101° and 102°, during a heat stroke it can quickly spike above 105° and rise as high as 110° or more.
Recognize Heat Stress And A Heat Stroke
· Hard panting
· Rapid heart rate - normal is 60-90 beats per minute at rest
· Salivation and/or diarrhea
· Mental confusion, staring, seizures
· Rectal temperature above 104° indicates heat stress, and above 105° is approaching a heat stroke
First Aid For Heat Stroke
· Move the dog to air conditioning - preferably a car that can transport to the vet
· Begin cooling with cold towels placed all over the body, including the head and ears. As the towels heat up, soak them again in cold water and replace.
· Apply ice to the pads. Rubbing alcohol is also an effective coolant on the pads.
· Take the rectal temperature every 5-10 minutes.
Stop Cooling The Dog When It Reaches 102.5°. In the aftermath of a heat stroke, the brain loses the ability to regulate temperature (hopefully temporarily) and you can quickly drop the temperature well below normal.
· Get the greyhound to the vet as quickly as possible, even if s/he seems to be "ok". At the vet, most heat stroke victims will receive emergency care - IV fluids, temperature regulation, and assessment of organ damage. Internal organs are not tolerant of heat stroke temperatures and serious organ damage can occur. Kidneys can fail, the brain can swell, an often-fatal blood clotting disease called DIC can occur. Heat strokes damage every area of the body. Death from a heat stroke can occur days later, not just at the time of the event. Your vet will continue to monitor for these complications.
How Can You Avoid A Heat Stroke Tragedy?
· Always have cool or cold water available, both for drinking and for cooling
· Walk or exercise early in the morning, before the pavement heats up, and before the temperatures start to climb. Even when the sun sets, it can be very hot in the evening.
· Avoid any exercise in high humidity
· Use a "cooling coat" - usually terrycloth kept wet with cold water - available online or you can make one
· Keep your hound's outings brief and be aware of what they're doing
· Never leave your greyhound in a car
· Avoid obesity, a predisposing cause of heat stroke
· Don't trust your greyhound to stop running when their temperature rises. A greyhound's spirit keeps them running in heat, when they're in pain, in sickness, and even with broken legs.
You Must Control Their Activity.
Thank you to the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas for sharing this with us.
Gale Needs A Special Home
What a doll-baby this girl is! She is a beautiful 4-year old fawn who weighs in at 65 pounds. She was an "A" racer in Montgomery, Alabama, but was retired due to nail and nose health issues. She may have SLO and discoid lupus, but both are now under control. She should be able to live a long and happy life, which this girl definitely deserves.
Please help us help her with your donations.
Greyt Friends, Inc is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation. In order to continue to be able to allow this wonderful breed to become a family member we need donations to feed and house them as well as help cover the costs of any medical expenses beyond the norm. Our adoption fees only help to cover the basic medical care: Exam, vaccinations, spay/neuter, dental cleaning, and worming, etc. Please considering helping our effort your donation will be a tremendous help to our adoption effort.
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