Orchid’s Emergency



It was hot a couple of days ago. The weather doesn’t change my routine at home. I still do my barn chores and scoop the poop in the dog yard. It was the same as any other day. I went through the dog yard and walked with my six year old Labrador, Orchid, out to the barn. While I clean up, etc. she wanders around the yard a bit, sometimes getting in the stream. When I am done in the barn, she meets me at the dog yard gate to go back with the other dogs. All were panting while they followed me around scooping.

When the task was completed, I brought all three dogs in the house with me, deciding it was a bit too hot for them to stay outside. My dogs are used to spending time outside. They have a play yard with lots of shade, resting cots and a kiddie pool. But, on that day, I had them come inside. Once inside, Orchid’s panting seemed to escalate. She seemed anxious and then started stumbling while walking around the room. The first two things that came to mind were toxin ingestion or heat exhaustion. She looked more like a dog with heat stroke, but, of course, I couldn’t find a thermometer, so I put a fan on her and wet a towel with cold water for her. I gave it a few minutes, but it didn’t seem to be helping. I put her in my car and sped to my hospital. On arrival, an IV catheter was placed to start fluids and again a fan was directed at her. At that time, I was able to take her temperature and determine that yes, it was heat stroke.

She recovered rapidly at the hospital. The statistics are that about 50% of dogs die when affected by the heat. She spent the afternoon in the hospital, able to go home with me that night. She seemed back to her old self. I know I was lucky. I was home, recognized the symptoms and started immediate care. I could have lost my dog. I am still a bit shaken up by the reality. I’m not sure what I would have done differently. There didn’t seem to be anything unlike any other day.  She is laying here on the floor as I write this. Her forearm is shaved from her IV, but otherwise, all seems normal. I take a deep breath and take a moment for appreciation.