Hyperthermia is a condition that can afflict dogs that involves them being exposed to high temperatures for too long and is more commonly referred to as heatstroke. This same condition can affect humans and many animals such as horses and birds as well. Heatstroke symptoms in dogs include panting and dizziness, but in severe cases the dog may lose consciousness, have convulsions, or go into a coma. In some cases the dog will even die. Treatment should be aimed at getting the dog’s temperature back to normal quickly and then treating the symptoms such as rehydrating them if they lost fluids.
Temperature regulation is one of the fundamental functions of life and human beings have developed various solutions that add to that functionality. They can use fans and have air conditioned homes, offices, and cars, and do simple things like taking off clothes or wearing sun hats. But animals don’t have this level of control and pet animals are in many ways dependent on their owners to ensure that they remain at a comfortable temperature. Dogs will often suffer from heatstroke because they have been left in a hot car or a hot room.
There are quite a few symptoms of heatstroke in dogs to look out for. To begin with the dog is likely to be very uncomfortable. It will be anxious and start panting rapidly. As things get worse excretions such as vomit and diarrhoea may start to appear and the dog may become weak and dizzy. Eventually, if the condition is still unchecked, serious symptoms such as convulsions, losing consciousness, and going into a coma can be the result. Ultimately death is a possibility.
Getting the dog’s temperature back down to normal levels is the key aspect of any treatment for the condition. This could involve applying cool water to the dog and removing it from the hot area and into somewhere cooler. The sooner the symptoms the symptoms are recognised and the sooner the appropriate actions are taken the more likely the dog will be to make a full recovery.
After examination by a vet it maybe that the dog will require extra treatment such as being provided with oxygen or replacement fluids. But there are also common sense things that can be done to prevent heatstroke in the first place such as not leaving the dog in a hot car or room and not allowing them to exercise too much in very hot conditions.