Heatstroke: Symptoms and Treatment

Heatstroke is a serious condition that can lead to rapid death. Symptoms of heatstroke must be recognized and treatment must be initiated rapidly.

Early symptoms of heatstroke are labored breathing, warm dry skin, an anxious attitude, and profuse salivation. As the condition progresses, the animal develops a glazed look, and is somewhat unresponsive to external stimulation. Looking inside the mouth, the tongue and gums have a bright red appearance. The heartbeat of the animal increases and if left untreated, he (she) becomes weak and eventually collapses.

 

 

Immediate emergency care is required for an animal suffering from heatstroke. The animal should be placed in a bathtub filled with lukewarm water. If a tub is not available, the animal should wrapped in lukewarm damp towels (If towels are not immediately available, the pet should be hosed down). The water used to cool down the animal should be lukewarm, not cold. If the pet is responsive, small amounts of cool water should be offered to drink.

When the animal is cooled down, he (she) must be taken to a veterinary hospital. Intravenous fluid therapy is often required for animals with heatstroke.

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