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August 9, 2012 (San Diego)--Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency that can cause brain damage, organ failure and ultimately death in pets as well as humans.  Recognizing signs of heat stroke can save your dog’s life. Emergency treatment is critical. Also, simply hosing the animal down is very important. By lowering the body temperature before transporting the dog to a vet, you can increase its chance for survival by as much as 30% says Dawn Danielson, RVT, director of Animal Services for San Diego County.
Below are more details: 
Heatstroke can be caused by internal or external factors. A dog may be predisposed to developing heatstroke as a result of any factor(s). In most cases there is a combination of factors at work.
Internal Factors:
1.    Short-muzzled dogs (due to airway abnormalities)
2.    Obesity
3.    Hair coat
4.    Heart disease
5.    Age (geriatric)
6.    Nervous system disease
7.    Hormonal disease
8.    Fever
9.    Seizures
10.  Prior heatstroke episode
11.  EXERCISE!!!!
External Factors:
1.    Lack of acclimatization to environment (i.e. dog is normally in air-conditioned    house all day)
2.    Medication
3.    Toxicity
4.    Confinement/poor ventilation
5.    Water deprivation
Heatstroke causes many problems throughout the body. It is important to recognize that a body temperature that rises to as little as 105.8 F may cause permanent brain damage. Problems that develop in an animal who has suffered a heatstroke episode include shock, brain damage, infection, liver damage, kidney damage, clotting problems, and anemia. (Many of these will be occurring in the same patient at the same time.) Obviously, the development of multiple severe conditions in one animal leads to a poor chance for the animal’s survival.
Dogs suffering from heat stroke will display some or all of the following symptoms: excessive panting, loss of consciousness or comatose, sudden blindness, seizures, tacky and/or darkened gums, off-balance/wobbly, paddling, yellowing of the whites of the eyes or gums, bloody diarrhea, or dark urine. If these symptoms are present in a dog that has been excessively exercised, confined outdoors without shelter and/or water on a hot day, or confined to a car on a hot day, then you need to be aware that the dog is likely suffering from heatstroke.
Unsocialized and fearful dogs will run away when being chased and often will not stop until they collapse.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Therefore, you should take immediate steps to COOL the animal. Before transporting the animal to the nearest veterinarian, hose the animal down with cool water. (Borrow a hose from a nearby home, if necessary.). Do not rely solely upon an air-conditioned vehicle to provide the critical first step in medical aid – hosing the animal down is very important. 

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