Long-term Effects of Heatstroke in Dogs

Heatstroke in dogs can happen when their body temperature reaches higher than 104 degrees. It is important to be aware of the signs of heatstroke. Keep an eye out for 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. So, we know what heatstroke is, and we know some of the signs. But, are there long-term effects of heatstroke in dogs? The answer is yes, learn more below about the different long-term effects of heatstroke in dogs.


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 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 in dogs is neurological damage and dysfunction. After a dog has experienced a heatstroke 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,  occurs when the kidneys stop working properly. This can range from sudden or acute kidney damage to a more mild condition that is clinically undetectable. 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 in dogs we will discuss is acute respiratory distress syndrome. Fatal heatstroke 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!

**All references and information has been sourced from the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. If you are having issues with your dog we recommend your first step is to consult your vet immediately! 

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