Our Blog

October 2018
19: Concerns regarding flea/tick medication side-effects, harmful grain-free diets and cannabis use in pets
15: Farley Foundation Fundraiser 2018
September 2018
17: Monthly Focus: Cancer Awareness - Lonestar's Story
August 2018
23: Bug bites and stings
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09: House-training your puppy
June 2018
21: Keeping Your Dog Safe This Summer
14: Happy 10th Anniversary, Westbridge Veterinary Hospital
April 2018
18: Congratulations friends of dogs and cats everywhere!
February 2018
28: Parasite Prevention
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11: Dental disease is a real and serious issue
November 2017
01: Thank you for your support in the 2017 October Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
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03: Prizes and pie for our annual Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
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13: Keetah's Story
11: September is Cancer Awareness Month
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10: What's that smell?!
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27: Clicker Training
24: Our Commitment to a Low Stress Environment
13: The threat of rabies in southwestern Ontario
07: Wildlife in the city
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21: Lyme Disease
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06: The Value Of Education
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17: 33 years of practice, the changes I have witnessed
November 2016
28: 2016's October Farley Foundation Fundraiser was a huge success!
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20: Cajun's story
01: September is Cancer Awareness Month
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21: Cat Carriers
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29: Dog Park Etiquette
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31: Heartworm Q & A
12: Tick Troubles
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10: Anticipated tick bloom
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22: Introduction to TCVM – Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
January 2016
14: The difference dental care can make
December 2015
30: Raccoon Rabies reported in Hamilton, Ontario
08: Understanding Aging
November 2015
25: Our new, state of the art, Ultrasound machine
October 2015
09: Fun and Delicious Fundraising for the Farley Foundation
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23: Cancer Awareness Month: Texas' Story
14: September is Cancer Awareness Month
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28: Exciting news for our hospital!
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11: Mosquito Prevention
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08: Heartworm cases
April 2015
24: Changing your pet's food
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01: Veterinary Technician Specialties in Dentistry!
January 2015
13: January and February are Dental Education Months!
December 2014
18: The Internet at its Best
November 2014
28: Westbridge's Change of Hours
October 2014
07: October is Farley Month - Spa Day's, Paw Prints and Pies!
September 2014
22: Cancer Awareness Month - Ruby's Story
20: September is Cancer Awareness Month!
02: Ways to a Happy, Healthier Pet
July 2014
03: A New Way to Save Your Pet's Teeth!
June 2014
26: Veterinary Dentistry in San Diego!
March 2014
20: Happy Smiles
January 2014
22: The 15 Steps to Your Pet's Dental Cleaning!
15: January and February are Dental Months, and We Have a Contest to Celebrate!
09: Baby Teeth in Puppies and Kittens
06: An Update on Dr. Hylands
December 2013
27: Dentistry in New Orleans!
17: Wishing Dr. Hylands a Safe and Uneventful Recovery
13: The Holidays are Here!
04: A Potential Mandible Fracture - A Tale on Missing Teeth
October 2013
10: Fundraising for Farley
July 2013
11: Tried and True, For Humans Too!
June 2013
20: Therapeutic Laser's Beneficial Effects on Arthritis
12: Pet Education Day and Open House a Huge Success!
May 2013
25: 5th Annual Pet Education Day and Open House!
April 2013
29: We've Brought 'Light' into our Clinic!
March 2013
10: We're Constantly Learning!
February 2013
21: Small Dogs Require Big Dental Care!
08: Missing Teeth in Your Pets - Should You Be Worried?
January 2013
13: Periodontal (Dental) Disease in our Pets
December 2012
19: Senior Month - It's Not Just Old Age!
04: Senior Month - A Focus on Kidney Disease
November 2012
15: Farley Month a Huge Success!
October 2012
27: Possessive Aggression in our Dogs
22: Thinking of Breeding Your Dog? Here Are Some Things To Consider First
03: October is Farley Month!
September 2012
20: Litter Boxes - Everyone's Favourite Task!
August 2012
14: Exercising Your Pets in the Summer - Heat Stroke
June 2012
28: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasound Case Study
21: A Heartfelt "Thank You" for Attending our Pet Education Carnival!
19: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasonography
May 2012
23: A Logical Approach to Unwanted Barking
07: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use in Companion Animals
April 2012
21: Wellness Examinations Help to Maintain Your Pets Health
10: OVC Pet Trust Animal Cancer Centre Needs Your Help!
01: Heartworm Disease in Ontario
March 2012
19: A Dedication to a Great Man and an Dedicated Veterinarian
February 2012
06: Why Anesthesia-Free Dental Care is Wrong, Cruel, and Medically Inappropriate
January 2012
16: The Why's and What's of Dental X-ray
09: Cats Are a Unique Species, with Unique Dental Disease
05: Six Easy Steps to Brushing your Pets Teeth!
02: Dental Awareness Months!
December 2011
21: Chocolate... Good for you?
November 2011
11: Farley Month was a Huge Success!

Exercising Your Pets in the Summer - Heat Stroke

Posted: 2012-08-14

Bulldog panting.The summer months are for most undoubtedly the period where our pets, particularly dogs, get the most outdoor exercise. And who could blame us – after months of cold and snow, we all want to get out for some sunshine! Dog parks, hikes and trails, and other outdoor activities provide our pets with much needed exercise, socialization and mental stimulation, all equally important to their health and well-being. With that said, we must use caution in over exerting our pets during days where temperatures are in excess of 30°C (or sometimes less – more on that later), as heat stroke (or hyperthermia) is a potential consequence.

Hyperthermia may be a life-threatening condition, and does require immediate veterinary treatment. A dog’s normal body temperature is 101.5°F plus or minus 1 degree Fahrenheit, and any time the body temperature is higher than 104°F, a true emergency exists. Heatstroke predominantly occurs in hot summer weather when dogs are left with inadequate ventilation in hot vehicles. However, heatstroke may also occur in other conditions, including:

  1. When an animal is left outdoors in hot and humid coniditions, without access to adequate shade or protection from the sun.
  2. When exercised in hot/humid weather – this is particular true of dogs who ordinarily have a tendency to over-exert themselves (e.g. ball obsessed dogs who would continue chasing or fetching their ball with a broken leg).
  3. When left in a car on a relatively cool day (21°C or 70°F) day – a recent study from Stanford University revealed the temperature within a vehicle may increase by an average of 40 degrees Fahrenheit within 1 hour even in absence of extreme outdoor temperatures!

Certain breeds are at an increased risk for heat stroke, namely brachycephalic breeds (or in English, breeds with a short nose or ‘squished’ face such as in dogs the Bulldog, Pug, Boston Terrier, Pekingnese, Boxer, etc. and in the cat the Himalayan, Persian, etc.). This is because they suffer from ineffectual panter syndrome, in that due to their conformation including stenotic nares (‘pinched’ nostrils) and elongated soft pallate, panting does not significantly cool them as in other breeds, and often leads to exacerbated respiratory difficulty even under normal circumstances. These breeds should therefore be particularly protected from excessive exercise and temperatures. Other at-risk animals include those suffering from obesity, and with concurrent respiratory disease.

What do you if your pet is suffering from hyperthermia (heat stroke)?

It is important to note that the below steps should be taken while in transit to the closest veterinarian.

  1. Remove your pet from the environment where the hyperthermia occurred.
  2. Move your pet to shaded and cool environment, and direct a fan on her.
  3. If possible, determine your pets temperature and record it.
  4. Begin to cool the body by placing cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin region. You may also wet the ear flaps and paws with cool water. Directing a fan on these wetted areas will help to speed evaporative cooling, as will air conditioning in the vehicle.
  5. Transport to the closest veterinary facility immediately.

What NOT do you if your pet is suffering from hyperthermia.

  1. Do not use very cold water or ice for cooling. While ice or cold water may seem logical, its use is not advised. Cooling the innermost structures of the body will actually be delayed, as ice or cold water will cause superficial blood vessels to constrict and shrink, effectively forming an insulating layer of tissue to hold the heat inside. Tap water is more suitable for effective cooling.
  2. Do not attempt to force water into your pet’s mouth. You may however provide fresh cool water to offer should your pet be alert and show an interest in drinking.
  3. Do not leave your pet unattended for any length of time.

In conclusion, severe hyperthermia is a disease that affects nearly every system in the body. Simply lowering the body temperature is not always sufficient and may fail to address the potentially catastrophic events that often accompany this disorder. A pet suffering from hyperthermia should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.


This blog entry was written by Westbridge Veterinary Hospital, an animal clinic in Mississauga dedicated to providing high quality, modern veterinary care to our beloved pets and their families.

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