I was working at a veterinary emergency hospital over Fourth of July weekend. I can’t remember now of it was the fourth or fifth but it was hot as usual. It was a nice day when I started my shift. There were many dogs and cats there for aftercare from their traumas or surgeries. But they all became second to the heat related emergencies. A 15 month old yellow lab came in. He was bright, alert and responsive. You’d never know anything was wrong with him. Until we took his temp and looked at his gums. His temp was so high, it didn’t register and his gums were bright red. We immediately placed an IV catheter and began fluid therapy, laid him in a crate with ice packs to cool him and the vet went to speak with the owner. He came back and told us that the dog was only outside for 15 minutes but began vomiting when he came in. Apparently, this baby was in a run, with shade and water on one end but he rolled his tennis ball to the other side and it rolled outside the area. It was concrete. He was digging to try to get to his ball. He was in the hot sun, stressing his body out to get his ball and it took his life. He went into cardiac arrest within the hour and then he was gone. I’ll always remember his scraped paws and his sweet face.
The second dog was a beautiful big Rottweiler. He had been left outside all day. He dug himself a nice cool hole in the dirt to lay in. But that day was too much for his older body. He came in with petechia and lethargy. His heart rate was elevated and he was severely dehydrated. He was in full DIC within hours. I remember thinking, as I was squeezing the bag after we intubation him for CPR, this could’ve been prevented. Why was he outside all day alone? They forgot to leave him water? I just don’t get it.
I saw many others over the years before and after. I remember a husky that lived through her heat stroke (she was left out on a deck in the heat) and DIC! She was hospitalized with us for weeks. We had to flip her over to prevent bed sores and change her bedding several times a day until she could walk again. Her skin then began to slough off. I went through many mental struggles trying to justify in my head why they were keeping her alive in that condition. But she eventually was showing progress and we kept her going for a while. I honestly can’t remember how long she lived after that. I think she may have started to have seizures. But I know her name was Zoey!
I just saw the village police break a window to get a dog out of a car a few weeks ago. What would possess these people to leave their dogs in a car in the hot sun in the first place and without the windows open!!??!!