Long-term Effects of Heatstroke in Dogs

Heat Exhaustion Vs. Heatstroke

For starters, let’s point out the difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Heat exhaustion in dogs occurs when your pets temperature is below 104 degrees. Heatstroke can happen when their body temperature reaches higher than 104 degrees. 


When their temperature is above 104 dog heatstroke symptoms include excessively panting, drooling, or having mild confusion. When displaying these symptoms they may be at risk of having a heat stroke or already having one. If this is the case, it is time to take action for your dogs well being.

Take Action

To help bring your dogs temperature down start coating them in cool water not cold water. It is vital at this point to get your dog to a veterinary hospital. You cannot treat heatstroke at home. Read more about signs, symptoms and actions to take during a heatstroke episode here. It is vital at this point to get your dog to a veterinary hospital. You cannot treat heatstroke at home. Read more about signs, symptoms and actions to take during a heatstroke episode here.

With knowledge of what heatstroke is the question remains, are there long-term effects of heatstroke in dogs? The answer is yes, read below to learn more about the long term effects of heatstroke in dogs.

Corgi Drinking Water

Long Term Effects:


The first effect we are going to discuss is Rhabdomyolysis. When dogs have heatstroke episodes they can develop muscle damage throughout their body. As a result of this damage, sometimes dead muscle fibers release into the bloodstream. This is the process of Rhabdomyolysis, which can lead to serious issues like organ damage such as renal (kidney) failure. 

**Renal kidney failure means that the dog’s kidneys cannot remove waste and concentrated urine.**

Neurological Damage and Dysfunction

The second of many long-term effects of heatstroke is neurological damage and dysfunction. After a dog has experienced an episode some neurologic abnormalities can arise. Mild cases show symptoms such as disorientation or confusion. While more serious cases can result in coma, seizures, and stupor.

**It is still being debated whether the brain damage in heatstroke comes directly from a brain tissue thermal injury.**

Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)

This effect, no matter the cause and falling under organ damage, occurs when the kidneys stop working properly. This can range from sudden or acute kidney damage to a more mild condition that is clinically not detectable. When severe situations occur, dogs are susceptible to acute renal failure (ARF).

**Symptoms of ARF include decreased urinary output, swelling (due to fluid retention), nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath. **

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

The final long-term effect of heatstroke we will discuss is acute respiratory distress syndrome. Fatal cases in dogs can lead to ARDS. This condition is one where fluid collects in the lung’s air sacs, depriving organs of oxygen.

Other notable conditions from a heat stroke episode can also include Hepato-biliary damage, sepsis, acute pancreatitis, and DIC. More information on these can be found at the resource posted below!

If you are having issues with your dog we recommend your first step is to consult your vet immediately! 

Camelina Oil and Your Dog

Studies have yet to show a preventative correlation between hydration, heatstroke and camelina oil for dogs. That said, ExcelK9 offers polyphenols and omegas.

Polyphenols and omegas bring a level of support to your dog’s overall well being that cannot be ignored. Omegas offered in ExcelK9 support your dogs central nervous system, heart function and Immune/Inflammatory response systems. Additionally, the antioxidants present in the omegas and camelina polyphenols help neutralize and decrease oxidative stress damage. 

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