Dr. John Anastasio dispenses a warning on warming incident report PET NAME: Bella DETAILS OF INCIDENT: It was a warm day in early May when Bella’s owner decided it was nice weather for a ride in the car. When they stopped at a store, Bella stayed behind — it was only for a few minutes, and the windows were cracked. Ordinarily, Bella would hop in the front to stick her nose out the windows for fresh air, but this day took a tragic turn. Bella’s collar got caught on a hinge in the back of the station wagon, and the windows were not open enough for cool air to circulate. In the twenty minutes it took for her owner to return, Bella became severely overheated and was found unresponsive. Bella’s owner rushed her to our ER and we went to work immediately to save her. Despite active cooling using a fan, a cold water bath and pumping her stomach with cold water, Bella’s 107˚F temperature had done too much harm. Sadly, Bella succumbed to heat stroke. BREED: Labrador Retriever CAUSE OF INJURY: overheated in a hot car COST OF TREATMENT: $800 — $5,000 lessons learned Some dogs are lucky enough to survive hyperthermia, but getting them back to good health takes a lot of treatment. Here’s how a veterinarian can address this emergency: • active cooling • IV fluids • oxygen therapy • lab work to detect shock, kidney failure, heart abnormalities and other complications • hospitalization and intensive inpatient care axing accidents The good news is hyperthermia can be easily avoided! Here’s how: NEVER leave your dog in the car unattended, not even for one minute! always provide plenty of shade and fresh water carry a spray bottle and mist your dog periodically to help him cool off beware of mild days! Most dogs naturally take it easy in sweltering heat, but too much play on a temperate day can be just as dangerous — so don’t let your guard down. Dr. John Anastasio is the Medical Director at VRC specialty hospital in Malvern, PA.
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