All posts by Amanda McGinty

Is Your Pet At Risk For Heat Stroke? Find Out Now…

Is Your Pet At Risk For Heat Stroke? Find Out Now…

Pets in Springfield are still at risk for heat stroke. Learn how to treat and prevent it.

Now-a-days there is enough media warning against Heat Stroke and leaving pets and children in a hot car that most people know by now not to do it. The following chart exemplifies the temperatures of a parked car that is turned off with all the windows up.

Outside Temperature10mins30mins60mins

Cited from Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University

Even a person who is “just going to grab one thing real quick” can see that after only 10mins the temperature differential is 19F! Please don’t leave pets or children in cars.

But there are other ways our pets are at risk for heat stroke: leaving them outside to go potty unattended on a hot day, forgetting to fill up their water bucket, lack of shade, going on a long walk in the peak of the day. Activities that all seem harmless and part of our daily routine can quickly turn into a life-threatening problem if we are not mindful.

Particular animals in Springfield who are most at risk for heat stroke include long haired animals, the very young or elderly pets, dogs who have smooshed faces (pugs, bostons, English bulldogs, etc), animals who are accustomed to AC, patients with underlying heart disease or other major organ disease, obesity and previous heat stroke history.

Normal body temperature for a happy healthy dog or cat is 101F – 102.5F taken rectally. At Deerfield Veterinary Hospital, Heat stress is considered when the body temperature is >103F. Other causes could include an infection, recent seizure, toxicities, or cancer so it is important to have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian if you suspect your pet’s temperature is abnormal. At this point, the animal can be easily brought back to normothermic temperatures with minimal intervention and no long term effects on the pet.

A diagnosis of heat stroke is made once the body temperature reaches 106F. Symptoms include panting, hypersalivation, bright red mucous membranes, turning blue, increased heart rate, shock, respiratory distress, changes in mentation and behavior, confusion, difficulty walking or unable to ambulate at all, and seizures.

Once a critical temperature of 109F is reached then coma, cardiac/respiratory arrest and death may occur.

As the body gets hotter the organs will become damaged and start to malfunction. If the heat stress continues permanent organ failure can ensue.

Immediate immersion in water and providing convection cooling with fans is the mainstay of treatment for heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. If water immersion is not possible then apply alcohol on the foot pads, axilla and groin. Stop the cooling procedure when the body temperature reaches 103F. Avoid ice as this vasoconstricts the peripheral blood vessels and can delay cooling. It can also create shivering which generates more heat.

Bloodwork may be warranted to determine the extent of organ damage and guide any supportive care measures that might be needed for the pet. Supportive care may include oxygen, IV fluids, anti-seizure meds, anti-nausea meds, antibiotics, etc. Antibiotics are needed to prevent bacterial translocation from the damaged intestines into the bloodstream. This could cause sepsis leading to life-threatening bacteremia and coagulation disorders such as DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation).

It is recommended that a pet needs a minimum of 24 hours hospitalization to monitor for any complications during the cooling down phase and recovery but depending on the severity of the case they may stay longer.

Prognosis is based on how hot the core body temperature became before the intervention was started, how quickly the animal was brought back to normothermic temperatures and if there is any permanent organ damage that remains. Possible outcomes: kidney failure, liver failure, heart failure, and neurological defects.

As any good vet or doctor will tell you…The best treatment for heat stroke is prevention.

Deerfield Tips and Tricks to keep our furry loved ones cool during the heat:

  • Provide adequate outdoor time during the early morning hours or evening hours and avoid the peak hot times of the mid-day.
  • Avoid hot pavement/asphalt as this can burn their paws.
  • Pets who are accustomed to indoor AC AND those specific breeds and categories mentioned above need to be monitored very carefully while outdoors on a hot day, even if they are only out for 5 minutes, do not leave them unattended because it does not take long to get heat stress and exhaustion.
  • Keep water with you just in case your pet gets thirsty or starts showing signs of heat exhaustion.
  • Carry an umbrella with you on a walk to provide adequate shade.

Deerfield Tips and Tricks for our outdoor family members:

  • Provide access to shade and fresh water to drink.
  • Kiddie pool with fresh water. Dogs who do not like the water can be enticed to get in by placing some of their favorite toys or treats in the middle of the pool.
  • Shave down heavy coated dogs. Leave an inch or two to protect their skin from the sun and a small hair coat can help keep them cool as well.
  • Freeze 2L bottles of water and put them on their dog bed outside or in the pool to keep the pool water cooler longer.
  • Fans (securely placed out of the reach of the pet) for air circulation on stagnant days.
  • On extremely hot days consider allowing the pet to have access to AC such as a laundry room, bathroom or day boarding them at a facility that offers doggy daycare.

If you have any questions regarding Heat Stroke in your pet, please contact us at 417-889-2727.  Deerfield Veterinary Hospital is a full-service pet hospital. We provide medical and surgical care as well as boarding and bathing services for your cat and dog. We have on-site lab diagnostics and blood testing, allowing presurgical and senior screenings in our pet hospital. We have both X-ray and ultrasound and the latest and safest anesthetics available for your pet during surgery.

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding your pet’s health or behavior, don’t hesitate to ask us. We are here to help!


Vets in Springfield Missouri look for ticks

Vets in Springfield know ticks are becoming an increasingly worrisome problem as average temperatures rise yearly and as white tail deer population increase. The lack of a really cold winter means that ticks do not die off completely as they otherwise would during prolonged freezing temperatures. Ticks are usually in wooded areas or un-kept grassy areas where wildlife live or frequent. Ticks are most active between April and July but this time frame is becoming longer each year.

Ticks will hang out over the edge of grass, leaves or brush and when they sense exhaled carbon dioxide, body odors, vibrations and light changes of passers-by they will extend their front pair of hook-like legs and catch on to their prey. This is called questing.

Tick eggs hatch into 6-legged larvae called seed ticks. After it has its first meal, which is usually a small rodent, it drops off and molts into an 8-legged nymph. It then attaches and feeds from a second host and then drops again and transforms into an 8-legged adult. After that they feed and mate then die. When the female dies thousands of eggs are released into the environment.
Ticks transmit diseases to dogs, cats and humans. They do not discriminate. A tick on your dog is a health threat to your entire family.

The most common ticks in Springfield Missouri.


The American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis)

Description: Newly hatched larvae are yellow, adults are brown and blood engorged females are grey
Vector of: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and tularemia (Rabbit fever). Less likely is Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichia. They can also cause tick paralysis. This is when a neurotoxin transmitted from the tick as it feeds enters the blood stream and can cause muscle weakness and paralysis.




The Black legged tick/Deer tick (Ixodes scapularis)

Description: Legs and upper body are all black/dark brown. It loves to parasitize white tail deer, lizards, mice, birds, etc. as well as humans, dogs and cats.
Vector of: Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, Powassan virus.





The Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum)
Description:  Females have a white dot in the center of the back. Males have white dots or white streaks along the edge of their bodies
Vector of: Ehrilichia/Sennetsue Fever, Tularemia, southern tick-associated rash illness, in rare cases Lyme disease, tick fever, heartland virus, meat allergy. Cat specific disease called Cytauxzoon felis (Bobcat fever)



Tick Related Illnesses
If you or a family member or your pet has known tick exposure and you experience any of the following symptoms then call a doctor to seek immediate treatment. Early intervention tickborne illness cases can make a difference in the prognosis.

 Table of Tick Borne Illnesses



Kennel Cough



What is Kennel Cough?
Bordetella Bronchiseptica virus is a mild self-limiting upper respiratory infection that involves the trachea and bronchi of dogs of any age. It causes coughing that is commonly described as a “honking goose sound”, sneezing and nasal discharge. Severe cases may have a sore throat thus causing inappetence.
How does my dog get kennel cough?
It is an airborne pathogen that enters the nasal and oral passageways and reacts in the pharyngeal region. It is rapidly spread in kennels, hospitals, pet stores, grooming facilities and dog parks. Anywhere there is close confinement of many dogs.
How can I protect my dog from kennel cough?
There are vaccines against bordetella bronchiseptica. There are 3 different kinds: intra-nasal, oral and injectable. Depending on your dog’s age, immune status, previous vaccine history and availability of vaccines denotes which vaccine is chosen for your dog. Any dog showing symptoms of kennel cough should not be vaccinated until they are recovered. The vaccine immunity lasts for 1 year but some kennels may require it more frequently.
I think my dog has kennel cough, what should I do?
Call the veterinarian and schedule an appointment for the dog to be evaluated. Since kennel cough can be confused with many other respiratory illnesses, it is important for the heart and lungs to be auscultated and a thorough exam to be performed.
My dog has been vaccinated against kennel cough so he can’t get it, right?
Unfortunately no vaccine is 100% protective. It is still possible for your dog to contract kennel cough. Luckily the severity and duration of the disease is much less than if no vaccine was on board. There are also many other respiratory illness that mimic kennel cough that have no vaccine. Your dog can still get those. If you think your dog has a respiratory illness then contact your veterinarian.