Every year we see animals that have become overheated. Some will recover once cooled off and rehydrated. Some do not recover and will die. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can happen when an animal cannot properly cool themselves. For this article we will focus mainly on dogs since they are the majority of heat related cases we see. However, owners of all types of pets should be aware of their pet’s needs when it comes to heat. For instance, rabbits are overly sensitive to heat and extreme care should be taken to make sure they have good ventilation and are not in direct sunlight during the heat of the day.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a heart condition where the heart muscle becomes flabby and stretched out and unable to properly contract. This leads to heart failure because the heart is not able to move blood through the body and the blood backs up. If you think of the heart as a pump and the vessels as pipes, basically the pump loses power and is no longer able to push blood through the pipes. There are some breeds that we know are predisposed to this. Boxers, Dobermans, Great Danes and Cocker Spaniels are the most common breeds to get this disease in the past. Within the last few years other breeds have started being diagnosed with this disease at an unusually high rate. Researchers have been trying to figure out why so many dogs were being diagnosed with a disease that has not affected their breed significantly in the past. This is where the story gets interesting (and scary). Researchers started noting a correlation between dogs getting DCM and dogs eating grain free food. In science, extreme caution is used to make sure there is actual causation (something causes something else to happen), not just correlation (a connection between 2 things).