Summer is upon us...

With the warn humid weather upon us, we all need to take caution.  Back in 2011, we found how something that I never thought would happen can be so serious.  Several days ago, it was hot and steamy with a high humidity in the air.  Doc found his solace by finding a cool spot right in found the running fan.

Doc was really Hot...
In 2011, it started out with a little yard work with the dogs and I.   I was riding the 4 wheeler hauling stuff around the farm.  As usual, the dogs thought I was just doing it for them and they would run back and forth wherever I was.  It was a sunny day but not particularly hot or humid, about 82 degrees.  I rode over to the lake and I was so proud that Molly was getting into the water, "All The Way In" which she never does.   She even laid down in the water just to get her body all the way under the water.  I thought this was a little odd so I watched her a little closer.  She would attempt to move and walk but couldn't.  Now I was concerned......  She looked at me and I knew she was in trouble.  I thought I was going in the water to get her because she was so unsteady.   She was panting and breathing very heavy and looked disoriented and her eyes rolled back into her head.  Molly was having a "Heat Stroke".  I have read about this many times and knew the signs. This was serious, very serious.

The most common clinical signs of heat stroke are:
loss of balance
excessive panting
roaring breathing sounds
gums that turn bright red, then purple or blue
excessive salivation
a decrease in mental awareness
collapse and death

Take the dog’s temperature. One of the best ways to assess whether the dog’s internal temperature is elevated is to take his temperature rectally. A dog’s temperature is normally between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. A dog is overheated if his temperature is 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. A temperature of 109 °F (42.8 °C) is usually fatal.  I've asked several people if they would take the temperature of their dog and they were so squeamish, but this could save their life.  Get a thermometer and keep it apart of you human one and use it if in doubt.

I knew immediate attention was required, I just didn't know where she was on the list above list.  She had all the symptoms but the last one and that one didn't seem too far off.  I carried her into the house and laid her down and placed her on the floor and put a fan on her.  She would attempt to move but couldn't.  I got down on the floor with her and stroked her face, just to comfort her and to keep her still.  It seemed that she could not get "cool" fast enough.  

I knew that you didn't want to cool her any faster by using cold water, as it can actually be counterproductive. Cooling too quickly and especially allowing her body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions, so I just had to wait it out, which we did together.  Little by little she started to get better and would respond to me.  She got up and tried to get in her favorite chair and couldn't.  I lifted her up, and there we stayed for the rest of the day, me holding her paw and rubbing her head.   She seemed better now and seems to be getting back to normal.  If this does occur, and it can so quickly, seek professional help if you are unsure of what you are doing.  We were lucky.  Molly usually doesn't play as hard as the others, I'm just glad we caught it in time.....and she had the gumption to get in the water even if it was uncomfortable and I'm sure this saved her life.  

Nellie Getting wet after a day or work
Make sure you have access to water and shade if you play outside, don't play too long, shorter sessions.  Sometimes they will tell you that they are hot and tired, stop, listen and watch.  They know better than we do at times. 

Nellie drying off...

 Have a safe summer and stay cool.  Ken

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