IVECCS Tip #2: First Aid For Heat Stroke

If your pet succumbs to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, the treatment you provide on the way to the clinic may mean the difference between life or death.  Apply copious amounts of tepid water to their entire body before transporting them.  Do not use cold water.  Cold water causes peripheral blood vessels to constrict which slows down heat exchange.  Drive to the hospital with all the windows open or the air conditioner on “max” to increase cooling through evaporation.  If possible take a rectal temperature every five minutes.  When the patient’s temperature drops to 104.0 F or below, stop cooling.  (The normal temperature range for dogs and cats is 100.0 to 102.5 F.)  Excessive cooling may induce hypothermia.      

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.