Heat Stroke

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an article describing the hazardous effect of heat stroke on companion animals
  HEAT STROKE IN DOGSDr. Umesh. C. G.Centre of Advanced studies in Clinical Medicine and Therapeutics,Madras Veterinary College, TANUVAS,Chennai – 600 007. So here the summer came in to action, where the globe is getting hotter and hotter in eachand every second, the mercury column keep on jumping in an antigravity fasion, all of us areovercautious in defeating the heat and hydrating the body. Whenever a question arises askingthat whether we are prepared to protect our companion animals and pets against that ferociousflames of the sun, the answer might be or obviously a big “NO”.Since the present day community offers a great care and love to our pets, especially dogs,it is of prime importance to give the information about the care and protection of them insummer months and with what this article deals with. Here it stresses more on heat stroke in dogswhich is a very frequent and brutal condition affecting the dogs in summer.Heat stroke is a condition characterized by inadequate heat dissipation, where exposure toa high ambient temperature increase the heat load of the body faster than it can dissipate heat tooutside. In both humans and animals the controlling and commanding center of bodytemperature, otherwise called as thermoregulatory centre, is in anterior hypothalamus of thebrain. If the ambient temperature is high nervous system senses that one through peripheral andcentral thermoreceptors and the stimulated hypothalamus give commands to the body to start themechanisms to dissipate the heat. That’s how the dogs and cats maintain the safe coretemperature in wide range of environmental conditions.We all know that, in humans sweating plays a major role in dissipation of heat from thebody. Unfortunately our pets do not have a diffused system of sweat glands like humans,although very few are present in their food pad, that underneath the paws and on nose. Thereforea dog dissipates heat on a warm environmentprimarily by panting,a method of breathing outexcess heatand sweating through the foot pads and nose.The reduced efficiency of panting inheat dissipation when compared to sweating and a constant, thick fur coat still worsens thecondition.  Coming to the medical part, the normal temperature of dogs ranges from 101.5 ºF to102.5 ºF (In warm climates, clinicians used to give slight allowances of increase intemperature).A dog is said to be in mild heat stroke when the temperature reaches up to 104 ºFwhich will mostly less harmful. A moderate heat stroke is having the dog’s temperature in therange of 104 ºF to 106 ºF can be reverted to a normal body temperature within an hour, providedadequate first aid and veterinary care be supplied. Once the internal core temperature crossesabove 106 ºF, the condition can be deadly and it is an absolute medical emergency.Let us see some of more common factors which precipitating increased risk of heat strokein dogs. Breed characteristics. Some breeds are much more susceptible to the heat than others. Dogs with thick, double-coats have a harder time beating the heat. Also dogs with pushed back faces, such as Bulldogs,Pugs and Boxers, have smaller airways, and therefore have less of an ability to blow out hot air.So special attention should be given to these types of breeds as they are very prone for heatstroke. Exercise in hot environment Mild to moderate exercise in hot condition again causes an increase in core temperatureand heat dissipation become inadequate to expel the heat load and eventually leads to heat stroke.It is advisable that if needed restrict outdoor exercise to the early morning and late evening whentemperatures are cooler. Lack of adequate water and shade in dog surroundings It is of great risk if we release our pet unattended in a place with scanty shade and littlewater in a hot climate. Both water and shade are prime components of maintainingthermoregulation and hydration status of body. Never, never, never leave your pet unattended in a parked car  The above condition is merely brutal even in moderately hot days. The condition worsensif the windows are closed. It is a classical example of heat stroke in closed environments with  poor ventilation. Environmental temperature inside a car with windows closed, exposed to directsunlight may exceed to 120 ºF (48 ºC) in less than 20 minutes, even when the outsidetemperature is only 75 ºF (24 ºC).Death may occur within an hour.As told earlier dogs with a thick coat are very prone for heat stroke and require special attention.Beyond that obese dogs, puppies, older dogs, dogs suffering from a heart or lung disease thatinterferes with efficient breathing and dogs suffering from a high fever or seizure are also verymuch susceptible for this condition in a degree more than the normal ones. Signs of heat stroke The most prominent signs that you can look after for the detection of heat stroke condition includes ã   Rapid heavy panting ã   Drooling of saliva ã   Petechiae (pinpoint, deep-red hemorrhages on gums/ skin) ã   Bright red mucous membranes on the gums and conjunctiva of the eyes ã   Hyperventilation (gasping for air) ã   Hypersalivation early then dry gums as heat prostration sets in ã   Anxious expression ã   Refusal to obey commands ã   Warm, dry skin ã   Fever and r apid heartbeat ã   Vomiting and diarrhea in some cases ã   Weakness and c ollapse ã   Seizures followed by coma First aid measures for heat stroke  Whenever you find your pet with signs of heat suggestive of stroke as described above, don’t bepanic. Bear in mind that severe heat stroke is a condition requires an emergency care and medicalattention. Before run towards a Veterinarian, a lot that you can do by yourselves as a first aid thatwill save the life of your pet by alleviating the signs.Removing from the hot environment and cooling your dog's body temperature down quickly arevery important and are the first and foremost steps. The fastest way to cool the body is by usingcool water. Do not use ice water, as a dramatic change in temperature can be dangerous. You canput your dog in a bathtub, sink or kiddie pool filled with cool water. A very good way to cool downa dog is to put water on their chest. Also a lot of heat exits the dog's body through his feet, sohaving the dog stand in cool water will also help. Another way is to put cool wet towels aroundyour dog's body, while he is standing in something cool.It is important to cool off the chest and feet. Be sure to refresh the towels in cool water every fewminutes, as the towels will quickly reach the same temperature as your dog's body. Spraying yourdog with the hose, dumping buckets of water on your dog, or placing your dog directly in front of an air conditioner are a few more ways you can cool down your dog's body temperature. If possible offer your dog a drink.If possible be have a rectal thermometer and check the rectal temperature in every 5 minutes. Oncethe body temperature is 103ºF, the cooling measures should be stopped and the dog should be driedthoroughly and covered so he does not continue to lose heat.Even if your dog seems better, it is always better to call or visit your vet without losing anytimemore. Internal damage might not be obvious to the naked eye, so an exam is necessary after anepisode of heat stroke to make sure there is no permanent damage caused by the heat stroke. Prevention of heat stroke It is always remember that your dog is not left alone in a parked car on hot days ,and especiallywhen wind shields are closed. Parking in the shade will help a little, but on hot days, even parkingin the shade is not enough. It is best to leave your dog home whenever you plan for an outing onhot summer.
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