Vets and Second Opinions, Heat Stroke in Dogs


I had been visiting another lady in a small town a couple of hours from my place. It was a terribly hot day and I was glad to get into my air conditioned car to head for home. I had just reached the town limits and was picking up speed when I saw the dog. It was a beautiful American Cocker Spaniel, staggering and falling down with its hind quarters on the edge of the road. I quickly pulled over and put on my flashers. It did not appear to see me, panting in great heaving gasps, its tongue hanging out was bright red. Approaching as slow as possible I checked its collar for tags. None. Scooping it up I laid it on the car seat and spun around to head for the local Vet office. I carried it in and quickly explained I had found it on the side of the road. The vet said to lay it on the examination table. I started to tell the Vet that I raised dogs and this dog had all the symptoms of Heat Stroke. Instead of listening to me, the Vet palpated its abdomen and pronounced that it had been hit by a car, was bleeding internally and probably could not be saved. Besides who was going to pay the bill for this stray dog with no tags? I couldn't answer that one and asked him what he could do for the dog. He said he would medicate it and put it in a kennel and hope the owner would show up looking for it before it died, not after. Realizing that the man was having a real doozy of a Bad Hair Day, I picked up the dog, carried it out to the car and headed the couple of blocks back to my friends place.
Without ringing her doorbell, I charged in scaring her half to death by hollering at her to fill her bathroom tub with the coldest water possible. I placed the now semi conscious dog in the tub, now demanding all the ice cubes from her fridge be dumped in to.

As the internal temperature of the dog came down to normal, it began to revive and was soon on its feet and wanting out of the tub. Its breathing slowed and its tongue returned to a nice shade of color instead of the bright red.
My friend took a closer look at the wet dog and exclaimed,"Why that's Mrs.______pregnant girl dog. I had not checked to see if it was a male or female, but the swelling of the advancing pregnancy now explained why the vet thought it was bleeding internally. It was a happy reunion between dog and mistress. Apparently her grandson had left the back yard gate open and her darling Cocker had wandered off. Once free she was known to keep going and going for miles. Travelling quickly on the hot paved streets, with the sun beating down had produced the potentially deadly Heat Stroke. This time I had not been able to get a second Vet and a second opinion. My second opinion had been enough.


Heat stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate recognition and prompt treatment. Several things can cause overheating or heat stroke in dogs. We should all know about the worst one and that is being left in a vehicle on a hot day. Many dogs die each year because of this, yet dog owners keep doing it. Other things are being confined in concrete runs or chained in the sun, both without shade and cool water. Being muzzled while put under a dryer in grooming parlors. They cannot open their mouths to pant and lower their temperature. Any short nosed breed that cannot draw in enough air to cool themselves. Any dog suffering from an airway disease or any condition that impairs breathing. And any excessive exercise (especially if a dog is not used to it) during the heat of a hot summer day.

Heat Stroke begins with rapid, frantic, noisy breathing. The tongue and mucus membranes are bright red, the saliva is thick and tenacious and the dog may vomit. Its rectal temperature is high, sometimes over 106 degrees F. If the condition goes unchecked, the dog becomes unsteady and staggers. As it becomes progressively weaker, bloody diarrhea is common. It goes into a coma and death follows shortly.

Emergency measures must begin at once. Mild cases will respond by moving the dog to an air conditioned building. If already unsteady on its feet. immerse it in a tub of cold water. If no tub is available, hose it continually with cold water. In severe cases with a rectal temperature over 106 degrees F or if the dog has already collapsed, give a cold water enema also. After recovery some dogs may experience swelling of the throat. Your vet will have to treat the swelling.

Posted ON Wed, February 1, 2023 at 11:06:59 am MST
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