Heat stroke in dogs: A retrospective study of 54 cases (1999-2004) and analysis of risk factors for death

Yaron Bruchim*, Eyal Klement, Joseph Saragusty, Efrat Finkeilstein, Philip Kass, Itamar Aroch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


The medical records of 54 dogs presented to the Hebrew University Veterinary Teaching Hospital and diagnosed with heat stroke were retrospectively reviewed. Data abstracted included history, clinical and clinicopathological signs at admission, treatment, disease progression, and outcome. Exertional and environmental heat stroke were present in 63% (34 of 54) and 37% (20 of 54) of the dogs, respectively, and 78% (42 of 54) were examined between June and August. The mean temperature and heat discomfort index in the particular days of heat stroke were significantly increased (P < .001, P < .001, respectively) compared with their corresponding average daily values. In 27 dogs the body temperature was ≥41°C (105.8°F). Belgian Malinois (15%, odds ratio [OR] = 24, 95% confidence interval [CI95%] 8.2-64.5), Golden and Labrador Retrievers (21%, OR = 2.08, CI95% 0.95-4.2), and brachycephalic breeds (25%, OR = 1.7, CI95% 0.81-3.21) were overrepresented, whereas small breeds (<8 kg) were underrepresented (2%, OR = 0.08, CI95% 0.002-0.48). Thrombocytopenia (45 of 54 dogs) and prolongation of the prothrombin (PT) and activated thromboplastin (aPTT) times (27 of 47 dogs) were recorded during hospitalization. Disseminated intravascular coagulation (P = .013) and acute renal failure (P = .008), diagnosed in 28 of 54 and 18 of 54 of the cases, respectively, were risk factors for death. The overall mortality rate was 50%. Hypoglycemia (<47 mg/dL, P = .003), prolonged PT (>18 seconds, P = .05), and aPTT (>30 sec, P < .001) at admission were associated with death. Serum creatinine >1.5 mg/dL (P = .003) after 24 hours, delayed admission (>90 minutes, P = .032), seizures (P = .02), and obesity (P = .04) were also risk factors for death. Heat stroke in dogs results in serious complications and high fatality rate despite appropriate treatment.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Canine
  • Discomfort index
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation
  • Heat stress
  • Rhabdomyolysis


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