5- Hypothermia in dogs

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5- Hypothermia in dogs

Low Body Temperature in Dogs

Hypothermia in dogs is a veterinary emergency that significantly deteriorates bodily functions

? What are the ways to treat hypothermia in dogs

Low Body Temperature in Dogs can be a progressive condition, in which the body temperature continues to drop, with the body unable to return to normal temperatures. Learn about the causes and methods of treating hypothermia in dogs

?What is hypothermia in dogs

Hypothermia in dogs is a medical condition characterized by an abnormally low body temperature. It consists of three stages


Mild hypothermia is classified as a body temperature of 90-99°F (or 32-35°C, moderate hypothermia at 82-90°F (28-32°C), and severe hypothermia is any temperature Below 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius)

Hypothermia in dogs
Hypothermia in dogs

Hypothermia occurs when an animal’s body is no longer able to maintain its normal temperature, causing central nervous system (CNS) depression, and may also affect the heart, blood flow (cardiovascular system), breathing (respiratory system), and the immune system

This may result in

breathing difficulties
Loss of consciousness to the point of coma
The physiological and metabolic functions of the body decrease

Symptoms of low body temperature in dogs

Initial signs of mild hypothermia include

Seeking heat (such as hiding under blankets)

Other symptoms begin to appear as hypothermia progresses to an average level

shallow breathing
difficulty moving
Reduction of Blood pressure

A severe decrease in body temperature is manifested by the following signs

Breathing difficulty
Slow and weak heartbeat
Proof and expansion of the pupil of the eye
Loss of consciousness or coma
the death


.Hypothermia can be classified according to the cause

Primary hypothermia: In this case, the body’s ability to generate heat is normal, and hypothermia is caused by exposure to low temperatures in the environment
Secondary hypothermia: The body’s ability to generate heat is abnormal as a result of injury, disease, or drugs

The severity of hypothermia can be classified according to body temperature

Mild: Body temperature 90-99 degrees Fahrenheit (32-35 degrees Celsius)
Medium: Body temperature 82-90 degrees Fahrenheit (28-32 degrees Celsius)
Moderate: Body temperature below 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius)

Causes of low body temperature in dogs

Causes of hypothermia in dogs include

Exposure to external cold, humidity, or extreme air currents causes heat loss from the body
Small animals have a larger body surface compared to their mass and are therefore more susceptible to hypothermia
Injuries can impair the body’s ability to seek heat and/or thermoregulation
Some medications, such as surgical anesthetics, can suppress the body’s ability to regulate temperature

Newborn puppies are prone to hypothermia even at normal room temperatures
Elderly pets are more susceptible to hypothermia
Hypothalamus disease affects the brain’s regulation of body temperature, which contributes to heat loss
Hypothyroidism, and low thyroid hormone production, can lead to heat loss
The size and state of your dog’s health can also determine the temperatures the body can handle before it loses too much heat

Hypothermia in dogs
Hypothermia in dogs

Diagnosing hypothermia in dogs

Early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to quickly recover from hypothermia in dog

If your pet is showing symptoms of hypothermia such as looking for heat, weakness, lethargy, or other symptoms mentioned above, wrap him carefully and gently with a blanket and take him to the vet

The vet will use a thermometer to measure the pet’s body temperature. They will often ask you to provide them with a comprehensive health history of your pet to help determine possible causes of the observed symptoms. A physical examination will also help detect any abnormal heartbeat or breathing and whether the hypothermia is mild, moderate or severe

Blood tests can be done to identify possible factors that may have caused hypothermia, such as

Other physical disorders

Urinalysis may also reveal possible causes of abnormal thermoregulation, and your vet will also monitor your pet’s heartbeat using an electrocardiogram (EKG)

Treating hypothermia in dogs

Treatment aims to rewarm the patient and prevent further loss of body heat

The animal can be safely rewarmed by raising its body temperature at a rate of 0.5-1.5°C per hour. Three rewarming techniques are available and used according to the severity of the hypothermia

Passive external rewarming
In the case of a mild hypothermia, the animal’s metabolism will continue to generate heat, blankets or other insulating blankets will help prevent further heat loss, and normal bodily functions such as shivering will also contribute to rewarming

Active External Reheat
Moderate cases of hypothermia in dogs require the use of external heat sources such as hot water bottles, heaters, and radiant heaters

Active interior reheating
Severe cases of hypothermia require internal warming. Giving warm intravenous (IV) fluids can help bring body temperatures back to normal levels, and oxygen can also be used to promote recovery

What are the risks of treatment
Rewarming should be carried out carefully and body temperature constantly monitored to avoid complications

The body temperature may continue to drop during rewarming, because the reheated blood as it travels to the extremities pushes cold blood from the extremities into the essential organs

Rewarming shock can occur due to rapid heating leading to a sudden drop in blood pressure

duration of treatment
Rewarming therapy should be continued until normal body temperature is reached (usually 2-10 hours, depending on the severity of the condition), and the sick dog should be continued to be monitored for 24-72 hours



Recovery from hypothermia can be complete if the condition is diagnosed early and treated, and follow-up appointments are recommended within the week or two following treatment to monitor the patient for any complications

In moderate to severe cases, long-term damage to organs that are not supplied with adequate blood circulation can occur during hypothermia, and the extent of damage may not be detected for days or weeks after treatment


Therefore, your vet will suggest different follow-up appointments to monitor the physiological processes caused by hypothermia. Patients at high risk of hypothermia may require long-term care to maintain a stable temperature

Hypothermia in dogs can be prevented by avoiding prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, especially for high-risk dogs. Factors that increase an animal’s risk of hypothermia include

Young age or old age
Low body fat percentage
Hypothalamic disease or hypothyroidism
Anesthesia and previous surgery
Sick or newborn dogs with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) are at risk of hypothermia even in normal environments

Prevention of hypothermia in anesthetized animals requires keeping the animal warm with blankets and monitoring its body temperature after surgery

Make sure you memorize all signs of Low Body Temperature in Dogs, so you can spot them if your dog develops hypothermia

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