Bristle Up Home » Vet Check/Dog Health » COMPLETE OVERHEATING GUIDE
COMPLETE OVERHEATING GUIDE
  • BRISTLE UP_TAGS - #overheating
    • Last updated Feb 1
    • 0 comments, 1,159 views, 6 likes

More from uhunt

More in Politics

Related Blogs

Archives

Social Share

COMPLETE OVERHEATING GUIDE

BRISTLE UP_POSTED_BY uhunt     Feb 1    

Body

ARTICLE FROM ISSUE 23 OF BRISTLE UP MAGAZINE - GET THE LATEST ISSUE OF BRISTLE UP FOR THE LATEST PHOTOS, STORIES AND ARTICLES

SUGGESTIONS ONLY, USE INFORMATION AT YOUR OWN RISK. COOK TOWN VET APPROVED.
This article is based on my real life experience, after hunting all my life in different climates, with different breeds of dogs and observing other people's dogs and hunting styles. I have sourced this information from personal experience and expert veterinarians. It would be great if all hunters no matter your age or experience take the time to read this article it may save your dog’s life one day. In this article we will be focusing on not only how to treat a dog that's overheating but more importantly how to prevent it from happening in the first place. There's a lot of myths and misinformation out there about overheating. Your goal should be not to have your dog overheat in the first place as every time a dog gets very hot there is almost always some level of permanent damage. Never overheating your dog should be your number one goal.  Dogs are not as effective as humans at shedding excess heat, so if you are feeling hot in the bush it is certain that your dogs are suffering.  
---------------------------------
Heat Exhaustion Vs Overheating
There is a difference between heat exhaustion and overheating (heat stroke), learning to identify heat exhaustion is very important. Spotting it early can give you a head start to cool the dog before it enters into dangerous overheating levels. Heat exhaustion begins when the body’s temperature increases above 39 degrees, devastating overheating sets in above 41 degrees. A rectal thermometer can be a quick indicator as to how serious the dogs condition is and to monitor improvements. Early signs of heat exhaustion might include uncontrollable panting and the dog ignoring your commands and seeking cool areas. Dogs that are heat exhausted will often still drink fluids, if they refuse fluids the condition is likely entering into the stages of serious overheating. If heat exhaustion is suspected, begin cooling the dog immediately. If the dog has a breast plate remove it and if you have cool water, wet the dog and allow the dog to rest in a cool area. If you catch it early, dangerous overheating can be avoided. If symptoms worsen, more extreme measures are required.  
---------------------------------
Spotting the signs of overheating (heat stroke)
The dog will start panting uncontrollably. He will ignore you and what you ask him to do, often seeking shade. Often dogs refuse water even though they clearly are hot. Your dog will start to lose control of its limbs usually the back legs give in first and they start staggering. This is when you know the dog is becoming seriously overheated. Any overheated dog needs to be cooled immediately and taken to a vet. If your dog can't stand up or move very well, this means the dog has entered very dangerous overheating levels and needs to be cooled immediately. Other symptoms can be thick, sticky saliva, vomiting and diarrhea, shock, bright red tongue and red gums, and when the condition has progressed the gums will likely become pale in colour.
---------------------------------
TREATING OVERHEATING
If your dog overheats, your first priority is to cool the dog and then start heading to a vet while monitoring the dog’s temperature.  Everyone should have a thermometer in their first aid kit.  They can be bought from pharmacies, vets or online.  Ask your vet to demonstrate how to use it if you are unsure.  Overheating (Heat Stroke) is a very serious, time-critical condition and there is almost always some damage done to organs and cells which, long term, lead to a shorter life and potential health issues down the track, even if the dog survives and appears to be fine. If a dog is overheating it needs to be cooled down and maintained at a normal temperature as close to 38.3 - 39.2 degrees Celsius as possible, use a rectal thermometer to monitor the dog’s temperature. If possible, immerse the dog in water, a stream, river or trough for 10 -15 minutes. The dog may not drink, but you should be able to splash or use a water bottle to run cool water over the tongue and gums. DO NOT force the dog to drink as this can lead to water going down the trachea into the lungs. Don’t overdo this cooling phase, stop when the body temp is 39 degrees or below, it is easy to make the dog hypothermic. Hypothermic is when the dogs body temperature drops below normal this is just as bad as overheating. As the dog is not stable, it’s body can’t adapt to changes in temperature very well, meaning you have to make sure the dog’s temperature remains in the normal range. A recently overheated dog that has appeared to have stabilised can quickly overheat again if left unattended in harsh temperatures. If immersing the dog isn’t an option, then try to wet down the mouth and tongue, as well as the ear flaps (be careful to not get water in the ear), paws and between the back legs with whatever water you have available.  If possible, do this on the back of the ute and try to make your way to a known water source. 
---------------------------------
Soaking the whole dog and trying to get some evaporative cooling may help as well but that is less effective than immersion. If the dog will drink you can let them drink 500ml of room temperature or cool water but do not let them over drink. To avoid too much “local cooling”, your main goal should be to cool the whole dog to a normal level while getting to the vet. The first 30 minutes after the overheating is critical, prioritise cooling the dog by whatever means available, getting to the vet is important but not at the expense of not cooling your dog first. Once the dog has reached a body temperature of below 39 degrees make your way to the vet clinic as quickly as possible. Remember to keep things safe and sensible especially if you are heat stressed and tired yourself. Affected dogs can travel inside in air-conditioning or on the back of a truck.  You may need to carry your dog to the vehicle, remember carrying a 30-40kg dog for even a few hundred meters is hard yakka. Your vet will assess your dog and likely stabilise them on IV fluids and then test the kidney functions and the degree of muscle damage that may have occurred.  Dogs that have overheated can have trouble with maintaining a stable body temperature for quite some time and stays of 3-4 days in the vet clinic are normal to allow close monitoring and fluid therapy while trying to clear toxins from the body and limit permanent damage. Even though your dog may appear to be recovering without vet help, permanent damage still occurs due to toxin build up so please attend a vet no matter what. Without IV fluids and testing, permanent organ and cell damage will be much higher.
---------------------------------
Overheating myths 
Cutting a small slit in the dog’s ear or cutting off the tips of the ears.  This has long been an old wives’ tale and unfortunately many hunters swear by it. It doesn't actually do anything and the dog likely stabilised for other reasons. The toxins would still have built up causing permanent damage to cells and organs which may take years to show. The theory behind the myth is “cutting the dogs ear will release blood pressure and help the dog cool down”. There is no scientific evidence to suggest this helps, in fact it slows down blood circulation and makes the dog’s body work harder to circulate blood and to cool. Don’t waste time on this method, as time is the most important factor, every second counts and you don’t want to waste it on methods that do not help.
---------------------------------
Sticking ice cubes into the dogs’ rectum. This is not a good idea as ice and cold water causes veins and arteries to shrink and slows down blood circulation, this will only create localised cooling and will limit the dog’s ability to cool itself. The theory behind it is “the digestive system absorbs the water the fastest and also is where the dog’s temperature is the highest”. The idea is by using ice cubes it cools and hydrates the dog’s digestive system assisting with cooling the dog down. There is no scientific evidence to support this theory and in fact causes more damage than good, plus you end up wasting more time leading to more damage. This time could have been used to get the dog to the vet. 
---------------------------------
Sticking a hose into the dog’s rectum. Same as the ice cube theory. If the dog won't drink the theory is “by forcing water into the intestines is the fastest way to get the dog to absorb moisture and cool the dog down”. There is some truth to this as the intestines will absorb moisture. However, when a dog is overheating their body is not functioning properly meaning it will likely absorb very little moisture into the body in any meaningful period of time. Additionally, dehydration and heat stroke (although often going hand in hand) are NOT the same thing. And there is a risk too much water forced into the intestines will cause a rupture. If you have a hose available, use it to continually wet down the whole dog and/or fill a tub of water to immerse the dog.
---------------------------------
Making the dog stand in or lay in ice. The theory is dogs cool down through their feet and making them stand in ice will cool them quicker. Putting ice on any part of the dog’s body will cause veins to shrink and slow circulation and slow the cooling process. Rapid cooling in localised areas isn’t the aim, we want to shed heat over large areas of the dog.  If you have large quantities of ice (you like your beer or fishing) use it to create cool water for flushing your dog’s mouth and tongue or creating a cool water bath to immerse the dog. Likewise using ice cold water or ice packs in the arm pits and other areas to assist in cooling tends to be counterproductive. 
---------------------------------
Don’t fall for any myths, they could cost you your dog’s life

---------------------------------
Prevention is better than a cure
Prevention is better than a cure, this is true for so many things in life and it applies to overheating. There are many factors that can rapidly increase the risks of a dog overheating and the speed at which they overheat. Firstly, we need to understand how a dog’s body manages its temperature. They cool themselves by panting and the heat leaves their body through their lungs, nose and tongue, panting speeds this heat transfer, they also have sweat glands on their feet which help to cool them down but this has only a minor effect. Dogs can’t cool themselves as efficiently as humans. If you are very hot your dog is much hotter. 
---------------------------------
Breeding and fitness: some dog breeds are more prone to overheating due to the shape of their head, nose and body structure. Dogs with shorter noses are more prone to overheating as they can't pant as effectively. 
---------------------------------
Hot Surfaces: A dog working on a burning hot tray, quad back, or hot ground will have an impact on the dog’s ability to cool itself, the dog will heat up quicker with less exercise than it would normally need to heat up. Keeping this in mind while hunting can help. You can help this by having a cool rubber matt or anything that is cooler than what they are standing on. Putting cool water on the floor also will help cool the material they are standing on and their feet as well. 
---------------------------------
Humidity: One of the most significant factors of overheating is humidity. You can have a 30-degree night with 25% humidity and hunt with caution, but if that humidity jumps to 80%-90% the dogs will be at a very high risk of overheating. High humidity disrupts the dog’s ability to cool itself; all the body’s natural cooling mechanisms are reduced to a crawl, causing body heat to build up quicker and take much longer to cool down. Panting no longer effectively cools the dog and glands on the feet don’t work well. Every hunter should have a heat index monitor that shows temperature and humidity levels in their ute.
---------------------------------
Holding dogs are at the highest risk, holding dogs need to be fit and healthy to hunt in even moderate heat. Especially if they are finder holders. As the dog’s number one cooling mechanism is panting, when a holding dog has a pig their cooling mechanism is lowered to a standstill and every second they are holding a pig their body temperature is increasing, especially if the dog has already run a long way. If you’re going to hunt your finder holder in higher temperatures, you need to be fast and prepared. Carry plenty of water and make sure your dog is well hydrated at all times.
---------------------------------
Allow the dog to spell after each pig and monitor their temperature and condition regularly. Under no circumstances should an unfit finder holder be used in hot conditions this will certainly be a death sentence.
---------------------------------
Don't feed your dog before hunting and don't take them hunting for at least 3 hours after eating; especially in hot conditions. Do not feed them large portions and don’t feed them meat before a hunt. Meat takes a longer time to digest than dry food and can build heat in the stomach. If a dog has a gut full of food before hunting it will increase their risk of overheating as well as intestinal torsions and bloat.
---------------------------------
Bailers perform better in hot conditions not just because of breeding but mainly due to the fact they can still pant which helps maintain a stable body temperature. This is why bailers are much better suited to hunting in high temperature and high humidity conditions. Though fitness is still important It's much easier to keep them fit and the likelihood of the dog over heating is far less; but certainly not impossible. Bailers often remove the urgency to get to them as once they have pulled up a pig they can remain there for long periods of time without dangerously increasing their body temperature. Bailing breeds are often smarter as well and know their limits a bit better.
---------------------------------
If your dog has long hair, shave him to help keep him cool, we recommend WAHL Arco rechargeable dog clippers these are good not only for trimming your dog’s hair but assisting with wound care and first aid. We have found these to be affordable but very good quality and work very well on large breed and hairy hunting dogs. This can make a world changing difference to some dogs, it is certainly worthwhile.
---------------------------------
Fat dogs are at a much higher risk of overheating, you should aim for your dog to be lean and fit. It is advised not to hunt overweight or unfit dogs in high heat index temperatures. However, an underweight, malnourished dog comes with its own risks. Knowing what an appropriate body condition score is for your breed of dog is important.
---------------------------------
Don't put too many dogs in your dog box and ensure they are getting enough airflow and shade. This will help assist in keeping them cool and reduce the risk of the heat building up inside the dog box.
---------------------------------
In harsh conditions, use light flexible plates that don't sit tight on the dog’s skin. Use plates that separate from the dog’s shoulders and body while they move and run. This will allow air to pass between the plate and the dogs skin. Plates designed like this reduce coverage and open up the dog to an increased risk of getting hurt but they are a good middle ground when hunting in hot climates. I see a lot of people claiming their plates breathe, none of the current material used by Australian collar manufacturers breathe. Seat belt webbing is woven very tightly and even a 2-layer plate will not breathe.  Firehose does not breathe either, it is rubber coated and often 2 or more layers are used which means there is no breathability. Shade cloth offers some breathability if you only use a layer or 2 and don't use any other materials but it is limited, and once you use a few layers to create strength; breathability disappears. Weight has little effect on heat reduction but can help a little bit. The only thing that has any noticeable reduction on heat is the design of the plate and how it sits and rides on the dog. A light collar with reduced coverage, that allows air to pass between the collar and the dogs skin as they run are the best collars for hunting hot and humid climates. But you will sacrifice some coverage and strength to achieve it. Now it's time to talk about the most important device you will ever own while hunting pigs, its simple and I can't believe it's not already a number one must-have for hunters around the country. I’m talking about a device that monitors both humidity and temperature to give you a more realistic temperature which is the heat index. This is the most important reading and should be known by all hunters at all times. Temperatures and humidity can change from hour to hour and even minute to minute. It could be cool and dry one minute and hot and humid the next. There are many devices that do this but not many that give you a warning with it. For years I've used a wind mate, it's a small but expensive device; it's basically a weather station in your hand. It measures all sorts of readings but most importantly the temperature, humidity and heat index or comfort index it is sometimes called. The problem is that knowing what the heat index temperature is, is only part of the solution. Knowing how to read and react to that index reading is the hardest thing to remember. This is why we have started using a heat index monitor that is designed specifically to predict heat stroke or over heating in humans but it can be used for dogs as well. It shows all the important information on one screen and has an arrow that either doesn't appear at all if it is a safe heat index temperature or it will show on one of 4 levels. Caution, extreme caution, danger or extreme danger. By monitoring the level, you can react and hunt accordingly limiting your dog’s risk of overheating. We will go through our recommendations for each level shortly. The device runs constantly and takes 2 x AAA batteries. It can also be set to make a loud beeping noise when it changes from one level to another level. For example, if it changes from caution to extreme caution it can be set to go off like an alarm. I'm sure there are other devices that have similarly features but this is the best we have found so far that is the most practical, easy to use and best value for money. It’s cheap enough for all hunters to own. Let's take a look at our recommendations. These are purely recommendations and we take no responsibility for your use or interpretation of this information. Use at your own risk. 
---------------------------------
CAUTION – HEAT INDEX 26-32 DEGREES
Caution is advised. Prolonged exposure and strenuous activity can result in overheating. Dogs with short noses, unfit dogs, fat dogs and finder holders are at the highest risk and with prolonged exposure overheating is possible. Hunting with bailers, holders and finder holders is acceptable in this heat but discretion is advised and plenty of water and rest between pigs is advised. Keep a close eye on the dogs that are at the highest risk or don’t hunt them.
---------------------------------
EXTREME CAUTION – HEAT INDEX 32-40 DEGREES
Unfit dogs, fat dogs and unfit finder holders are at very high risk of overheating with average to strenuous physical activity, these dogs should not be allowed to run long distances and allowing them to find is not advised. Using them as site hounds is acceptable with extreme caution but is not advised. Unfit bailers will manage but caution and discretion is advised and plenty of water and rest between pigs. Fit finder holders are at a high risk of overheating and if used should be watched very closely. They should not be allowed to find long distances and if you are hunting high pressure country where pigs are known to take dogs kilometers it is advised not to allow your finder holders to find. Fit finder bailers will manage with caution and discretion.
---------------------------------
DANGER – HEAT INDEX 40-54 DEGREES
Unfit dogs, fat dogs and unfit finder holders will overheat with little to no activity and it is advised they should not be hunted at all and left at home or in a cool shady area with plenty of water.
Fit holders with extreme caution could be used as drop dogs but it is highly advised against and plenty of water should be supplied, shade, breeze and they should not be allowed to stand on hot surfaces. The tray of the ute should be cooled with water and rubber matting. Cool running, light breast plates are advised. Fit holders should only be used to catch a pig that is bailed up at close range or is on water and is not planning on running anywhere.
---------------------------------
Very fit finder holders should not be used at all as the risk of them going off on scent instead of catching the pigs you see is too high, being finding dogs they will likely put their nose to the ground and overheat themselves very fast and die with little chance of saving them.
Very fit finder bailers will struggle but with extreme caution could possibly be used for short range finding at night or to bail pigs up within eyesight, plenty of water and rest in the shade is advised at regular intervals for all dogs.
Hunting in this heat range is very risky and highly advised against. You should just stay home.
---------------------------------
EXTREME DANGER – HEAT INDEX OVER 54 DEGREES
DO NOT HUNT, DEATH IS LIKLEY. All dogs are at very high risk of overheating just sitting in the dog box. It is advised you and your dogs stay home and take precautions to remain cool.
---------------------------------
SUGGESTIONS ONLY, USE INFORMATION AT YOUR OWN RISK

Comments

0 comments