Body temperatures above 106°F (41°C) without previous signs of illness are most commonly associated with exposure to excessive external or environmental heat and are often referred to as heat stroke.
The most common cause of heat stroke, or hyperthermia, is leaving a dog in a car with inadequate ventilation. The dog’s body temperature in this situation can elevate very rapidly, often within minutes.
It is important to remember that dogs cannot control their body temperature by sweating as humans do, since they only have a relatively small number of sweat glands located in their footpads. Their primary way of regulating body temperature is by panting.
Other common causes of heat stroke include being left in a yard without access to shade or water on a hot day, being exposed to a hair dryer for an extended period of time, and excessive or vigorous exercise during hot temperatures.
Flat faced dogs such as pugs, boxers and bulldogs are at greater risk and clinical signs of heat stroke can occur when the outside temperature and humidity are only moderately elevated.
Hyperthermia is an immediate medical emergency as multiple organ failure and death can happen rapidly. If your dog has been affected, seek veterinary care immediately.
Panoram Veterinary Services in Kelowna.