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Archive for the ‘Dog First Aid and Veterinary Emergencies’

Summer Dangers for Pets — Dog Heat Stroke Symptoms and Treatment

July 03, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Dog Dehydration, Dog First Aid and Veterinary Emergencies, Dog Heat Stroke (Hyperthermia), Dog Safety Tips, Dog Symptoms, First Aid for Heat Stroke in Dogs, General Dog Health, Home Remedies for Dog Heat Stroke, Pale Gums in a Dog, Summer and Hot Weather Safety Tips for Pets, Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Dogs

Learn About Dog Heat Stroke Symptoms and Emergency First Aid Treatment for Overheated Dogs. (Bill Davenport Photo)

Learn About Dog Heat Stroke Symptoms and Emergency First Aid Treatment for Overheated Dogs. (Bill Davenport Photo)

Every summer, thousands of dogs and cats are injured or killed due to heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia.

In the hot weather, a dog can develop heat stroke during a walk or jog, while sitting in a hot car, or even while sitting outside in the sun. Some dog breeds are more prone to heat stroke, including Brachycephalic dogs like the Pug, Pekingese and Bulldog. Double-coated dogs — like the Siberian Husky and Pomeranian — are also prone to overheating.

My latest article on Suite101, titled Dog Heat Stroke Symptoms, Treatment — Signs of an Overheated Pet, explains how to recognize a dog’s symptoms of heat stroke and how to administer first aid for a pet who is overheated. Dr. Michael Levine, DVM, shares information on a dog’s heat stroke symptoms, emergency treatment for overheated dogs and he discusses hot weather dangers and situations that lead to heat stroke.

Dog Heat Stroke Symptoms — Red or Pale Gums, Stumbling, Seizure and More

As many pet owners know, a dog’s normal temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hyperthermia or “heat stroke” occurs when the animal’s core body temperature rises due to overheating from exercise and/or exposure to hot weather. In dogs, heat stroke (mild to moderate) is diagnosed if the dog’s body temperature reaches 103.0 to 106.0 degrees. In severe heat stroke, dog body temperature will rise to 106.0 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

In a case of heat stroke, dogs may exhibit symptoms like:

  • Discolored dog gums (brick red gums in a dog with mild or moderate heat stroke; white pale gums in dogs with severe heat stroke)
  • Stumbling, collapse, weakness, a lack of coordination or refusal to walk
  • Tremors or seizure
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Inability to drink water due to heavy panting
  • Loss of consciousness or coma

Dog Heat Stroke Treatment and First Aid

Dogs require immediate first aid treatment if hyperthermia (the oppose of “hypothermia” ) is suspected. In this article, you’ll learn how to help a dog with heat stroke with home treatment measures like:

  • Moving the dog out of the sun and heat; ideally, the dog should be taken indoors to an air conditioned location
  • Slowly cooling the dog with water and fans
  • Monitoring the dog’s core temperature

You’ll also find out how to help a dog with heat stroke after cooling has started. You’ll also find out why it’s important to avoid heat stroke treatments like ice water, pools and other methods that rapidly cool a hot dog’s core temperature.

In addition to discussing how to help a dog with heat stroke, Dr. Levine explains how to know when it’s time to transport the dog to an emergency veterinary clinic. Remember, cooling an overheated dog is the first step; once the dog’s body temperature has been lowered out of the danger zone, the pet owner can transport the dog to the veterinary clinic for further treatment.

Hyperthermia After Care — Why it’s Vital to Take an Overheated Dog to the Veterinary Clinic

It’s important to note that once an overheated dog has been cooled, he’s not out of the woods. In dogs, heat stroke triggers a series of changes inside the body — think of it like a domino effect. This downward spiral or “domino effect” will continue, even once the dog’s body temperature has been lowered. In cases of severe heat stroke, dogs require emergency veterinary treatment if they are to survive; dogs who are not treated can and will die from hyperthermia complications.

Dr. Levine also explains many of the health complications associated with heat stroke in dogs, along with why you should always bring a dog to the veterinary clinic after a heat stroke.

Common complications from overheating in dogs include:

  • Dehydration
  • Shock (symptoms include low blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, pale gums)
  • Organ failure, including heart failure and kidney failure
  • Blood clotting problems and bleeding
  • Breathing problems (particularly in dogs with asthma)

Very young animals, sick pets, elderly dogs and dogs with a pre-existing medical condition will likely see additional complications from heat stroke.

To learn more about the symptoms and signs of heat stroke in dogs, along with Dr. Levine’s recommendations on how to treat heat stroke in dogs, read Dog Heat Stroke Symptoms, Treatment — Signs of an Overheated Pet.

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Fire Ant Bite Treatment for Dogs – How to Treat a Dog’s Fire Ant Stings

March 25, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Allergic Reaction Symptoms in Dogs, Dog Allergies to Stings and Bites, Dog First Aid and Veterinary Emergencies, Dog Injuries, Fire Ant Bites in Dogs, First Aid for Stings and Bites, General Dog Health, Insect Bites and Stings, Symptoms of Anaphylaxis in Dogs, Treating Fire Ant Bites and Stings

Learn How to Treat Fire Ant Bites and Stings in Dogs and Learn the Symptoms of Allergic Reactions in Dogs With a Fire Ant Allergy. (Jithin K.U. Photo)

Pet owners living in the southeastern United States and South America — locations where fire ants are present — may be interested in my latest article, titled How to Treat Fire Ant Bites in a Dog – Insect Sting Treatment in Dogs, Allergic Reaction Symptoms in Pets.

This article discusses how to remove fire ants from a dog’s body (there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this – the wrong way will result in many more fire ant stings!), how to treat fire ant bites in dogs, along with how to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis due to a fire ant allergy.

Treating Fire Ant Stings in a Dog Who’s Allergic to Fire Ant Venom

Unfortunately, this latest pet care article was inspired by experience. On Tuesday, March 23, 2010, I was out for a game of fetch with my pit bull, Sasha-Simöne, when she stepped in a fire ant nest. (Fire ants are very uncommon in southwest Florida.) Just a few fire ant bites triggered an acute response in my robust, peppy and healthy pit bull.

This dog’s fire ant stings caused a near-instantaneous reaction – white gums,  low blood pressure, vomiting, a refusal to walk and swelling to the leg that sustained the fire ant stings. Fortunately, Sasha-Simone has recovered and she’s now doing well, although we are still caring for her fire ant bites and the veterinarian recommended a course of Benadryl. Benadryl is safe for dogs; it’s given to treat minor allergic reactions, therefore, it’s an effective way to treat itching from fire ant bites in a dog.

(Please note that not all over-the-counter medications are safe for dogs; pet owners should never give Benadryl or any other over-the-counter medication to a dog or cat before consulting a veterinarian. Some OTC medications —like Tylenol and Ibuprofen — are deadly for dogs and cats and even “safe” medications can elicit a deadly reaction in a dog who has certain medical conditions or in a dog who takes other medications. And some over-the-counter drugs are safe for dogs, but deadly to cats, and vice versa. So always consult a veterinarian before giving over-the-counter medication to a dog or cat. Okay, that’s the end of the OTC medication and pets spiel! )



How to Treat a Dog’s Fire Ant Bites and Prevent Infection

This pet care article also discusses how to treat a dog’s fire ant stings in the days following the attack. Fire ant bite pustules will form within 12 to 36 hours after the stings occur (note: fire ant bites are actually a bite and sting in one – these little red ants bite away a little chunk of skin, while simultaneously injecting venom). If the pet’s ant bites are not treated properly, an infection will occur.

Fire ant bites are itchy – very itchy! In response, dogs bite and scratch at the fire ant bites frequently and intensely.  This makes a dog’s fire ant bites more prone to infection, since they’re apt to break open the pustules and the act of scratching introduces bacteria from the dog’s mouth and feet, thereby contaminating the fire ant bites. This article explains how to clean fire ant bites in a way that reduces the chance of infection, and it provides information on how to recognize the symptoms of infected insect stings in a dog.

Pet owners will also learn how to treat the dog’s itching from fire ant stings, which can be extremely itchy, yet painful. Swelling from the ant bites will also require treatment.

To learn more, read How to Treat Fire Ant Bites in a Dog – Insect Sting Treatment in Dogs, Allergic Reaction Symptoms in Pets.

Pet owners may also want to learn more about how to treat fire ant bites in humans, as there’s a good chance the owner will sustain at least a few stings and bites while trying to help the dog.

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