Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Southern heat

The dog before me looked bad. He was laterally recumbent and poorly responsive. He would respond to his name by opening his eyes, but otherwise, he didn't move. Light brown diarrhea oozed from his rectum as a result of injury to his GI tract (mucosal sloughing). Bright red blooms of blood (petechia) were present all over his abdomen and gums. He was suffering a heat stroke.

His owners had recently moved here from cooler climes and had left him outside today. They found him, collapsed and barely responsive. They immediately began cooling him off with a hose, as well as trying to get him to drink water. By the time he got to us, his temperature was only 102 degrees.

My techs leapt into action. IV catheter, fluids (Normosol-R and Hetastarch), mannitol for suspected heat injury to the brain, fresh frozen plasma to stop the inevitable DIC, heparin to help ward it off, and antibiotics to combat bacterial translocation from his intestines. We placed nasal oxygen, as well as a urinary catheter. Often, dogs that suffer heat injury will develop renal failure as a result. Monitoring urine output is an important part of therapy.

For the first 2 hours, he looked like death on wheat toast. Then, he started to lift his head. It progressed to sitting sternal, then sitting up on his front legs. By 4 am, he was wagging his tail, giving kisses, and wiggling irrepressibly in his cage.

He's not out of the woods yet. His platelet count dropped this morning a bit, and he has extremely bloody urine, but he looks far better than any other heat stroke I've ever treated at this stage.

Keep your fingers crossed for him. So far, he's made a miraculous recovery.


Christian Kay said...

How is your patient doing today? Better, I hope!!

Kristen said...

No shade and no water? I live in Minnesota and I wouldn't leave a dog in the heat all day. Poor guy. I hope he's doing well and his owners are more responsible in the future.

Hermit Thrush said...

Hi Homeless Parrot,

I tried emailing but no response. Perhaps my message ended up in your junk box?