Caught on cam: Vets save heat stroke dog

Medics and veterinarians at the Mt. Airy Animal Hospital work to save Princess, a pitbull who suffered heat stroke on July 6, 2010.

July 6, 2010 4:21:10 PM PDT
It doesn't take long for an animal to get sick from the heat. In fact, dogs or cats left outside in this weather could suffer life-threatening illness in a matter of minutes.

Action News' Tamala Edwards found a very dramatic example Tuesday during Philadelphia's record-setting heat.

The Mt. Airy Animal Hospital went from calm to frantic action within seconds of the arrival of Princess the Pitbull.

Her owners say Princess, outside for just minutes, was clearly in distress.

"A very unfortunate example of heat stroke," said Dr. Cystal Lautenbach, "where a dog who was outside in the heat for 20 mins, according to the owner, and came in with a raging temp of 106.8°. In a few more minutes he could have been seizing."

After ice packs, medicines, and a hose down, Princess will survive. But she is an example of why animals usually kept outdoors need to be brought indoors on days with extreme heat like today. Even a quick bathroom break needs to be more thought out than just opening the back door. "If they must make a bathroom run, they're out and back in immediately in a matter of minutes. But preferably they stay inside during the heat of midday and they're out early morning and late evening."

If your dog has to be outside, make sure there's lots of water. The PSPCA suggests putting out a kiddie pool for splash time, spritzing your dog with the hose and keeping ice cubes in his bowl.

Plus, you should know the signs of distress so you can get your pet immediate care.

"Any evidence of labored breathing, disorientation, if they seem lethargic, if you feel that they feel extremely hot to you, if they're panting a great deal,"

It's not enough to keep an eye out for your animal. If you see any animal that's been left outside in the hot sun for too long, please call the PSPCA Animal Cruelty Hotline at 1-866-601-SPCA or you can send an e-mail to

For senior citizens or other people with medical concerns, staff at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging's Heatline are available. Operators are answering the phones until midnight. The number is (215) 765-9040.