By Dr. Andrew Jones
The dogs were: Salty the border collie, Oscar the Rottweiler cross, Mia the pit bull, Teemo the poodle, Molly the blue heeler and Buddy the Boston terrier.
This resulted in extensive news coverage, and led to a large organized rescue.
But the story changed.
The dog walker admitted to leaving the dogs for 45 minutes, and during that time the outside temperature was excessively hot for May in Vancouver- similar to summer.
Upon returning to the vehicle she found that all of the six dogs had died of heatstroke.
She claims she panicked, and proceeded to dump all the six bodies in a nearby ditch.
Here is the statement from the Langley RCMP:
Sadly, Langley RCMP can now confirm the six dogs that went missing on Tuesday of last week are deceased.
The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been laid at this time. Police believe the six dogs perished in the back of the dog walker’s vehicle in the heat of the day.
The bodies of the dogs have been located and will be recovered by the SPCA.
This is a real tragedy.
First I can’t imagine how the owners feel- such a heartbreaking and unnecessary loss.
They entrusted their dog’s care to this women, and she makes a very poor decision that kills all of the dogs.
She then proceeds to callously dump all the bodies in a ditch, and then fabricate this story about all the dogs being stolen.
She should be formally charged, and clearly there should be some type of regulations that certify dog walkers.
Dangers of Heatstroke
At the same point we all need to be aware of the dangers of heatstroke.
Heatstroke or hyperthermia can occur rapidly- in a short as 10 minutes.
This table shows you just how quickly the temperature can rise in a parked car, with the windows down:
Signs of Heatstroke
The signs depend upon the extent of heat stroke. In the early stages, your pet will pant rapidly, have thick, ropey saliva, and have bright red gums.
His body temperature will be between 104-106°F.
As the body temperature climbs above 106°F, your pet will go into shock with subsequent organ shutdown.
He will have pale gums, be weak and dizzy, with vomiting and diarrhea.
The brain becomes affected and he may seizure or fall into a coma. In this case, he requires immediate, life-saving veterinary intervention.
The normal body temperature of a dog or cat ranges between 38 – 39°C or 103°F.
Our pets maintain this temperature through panting, however sometimes they are unable to lose enough heat.
Dogs and cats probably do suffer from heat cramps and heat exhaustion like us humans but the symptoms are mild and we don’t recognize them.
The condition that we see is heatstroke, and it may cause the death of a pet.
What to Do If It Happens
TO THE VET ASAP. If you suspect severe heatstroke and your pet has collapsed, get your pet immediate veterinary care. In this case, the organs may be shutting down and he needs specialized care to survive. While in transit it is important to continue to apply cool wet towels to the back of the neck and groin area.
COOL DOWN. Run cold water over the back of your pet’s head. Place cold packs wrapped in towels between the back legs, on the belly and in the armpits. Wet towels can be used instead. You can use a garden hose to run the water over the back of his head.
ALCOHOL SOLUTION. Rubbing alcohol will also speed up heat loss; it can be applied to the belly and groin, cooling as it evaporates. Liberally spread it on the skin; the most important thing is reducing the temperature in a controlled way.
DO NOT IMMERSE IN COLD WATER. This treatment does bring your pet’s temperature down, but tends to overcorrect it and then your pet may be seriously unwell, cold and wet.
RE-HYDRATE. Let your pet drink as much cold water as he can. If you have an electrolyte replacement, such as Gatorade, then add this to his water. If your pet drinks lots of water at once it is very likely to vomit. Once your pet is refusing water you can leave the bowl of water with it.
Heatstroke is an avoidable emergency. First be aware of the signs, taking rapid action if they appear.
Never leave your dog in a parked car, especially on sunny days.
Provide shade, and plenty of fresh drinking water.
Avoid exercising your dog during the peak of the hot days- make a point of exercise in the early morning or late evening.
My heart goes out to those families who have lost their loved ones,.
RIP Salty, Oscar, Mia, Teemo, Molly and Buddy.
Dr Andrew J
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