Vet Services Hawkes Bay Ltd

Opening Hours: Find Your Clinic

Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke

Annelise Enslin

With summer just around the corner we thought it appropriate to give our clients some information on heat stroke, what to look out for and what to do should it happen.

Heat stroke occurs when your pet’s internal temperature rises abnormally high above 39⁰C, because he/she is unable to lose excess heat through normal processes: mainly panting and radiation of heat into the surrounding environment.


  • Excessive environmental heat and humidity (due to weather such as a hot day, or being enclosed in an unventilated room, car or cage)
  • Conformation as with the “flat” nose breeds (Bulldogs, Pugs etc.) that have excessive tissue in their upper respiratory system, which makes them more likely to suffer from heat stroke
  • Leaving animals tied up in the sun, unable to get into the shade
  • Hard work/exercise on a hot day


  • Panting                                                                
  • Excessive salivation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Reddened gums
  • Increased body temperature above 39⁰C
  • Vomiting (possibly bloody)
  • Seizures
  • Un-coordination
  • Unconsciousness

Treatment before going to the vet

  • Run cool water over your pet and make use of fans or air conditioning.  Dot not use cold water or leave wet towels wrapped around your pet.
  • Offer small amounts of cool water to drink, not cold water

Treatment by the vet may include the following

  • Further cooling by means of cool water enemas and intravenous fluids
  • Securing the airway if needed
  • Continuous monitoring
  • Evaluate for kidney failure and possibly other organ failure too
  • Sedation if seizuring

This is a life threatening condition and early recognition of the symptoms will increase your pet’s chances of making a full recovery.

Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the symptoms and situations which can cause your pet to suffer from this condition.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact one of our veterinarians.



Back to Articles