Monday, June 25, 2012

Lives Saved: Tucker Klopp by Megan Klopp

Age: 4 years
Breed: Newfoundland
Diagnosis: Heatstroke 

On September 15, 2010 Tucker and I set out for Starbucks -- a common and often visited destination of ours. It was a warm day, but not unusually hot -- he has walked in much hotter conditions many times before so I did not think the weather was a problem when I checked the temperature. 

Upon returning home, Tucker was drooling and panting as he always does, but he was walking abnormally and was non responsive when I talked to him. I feared heatstroke as I had just read about it the day before at our vet's office. We immediately hosed him down to cool him off as much as possible and lifted our unresponsive 140 lb dog (this was so difficult emotionally and physically) into the car and rushed him to our vet's office, Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center. When we got there, they were waiting for us in the parking lot with a stretcher! His temperature was at least 110 degrees – the thermometer only goes to 110 so it may have been higher! Dr. Michele Dodd and her team were very concerned and honest in telling us that they have never seen a dog survive this condition with this high of a temperature -- the situation was grave and his survival did not look promising -- but they would do everything they could to save him! 

Over the next two days he was in critical condition as his organs/system had shut down and he was bleeding internally – unable to clot. He was on numerous machines, getting IV's and Plasma units around the clock; it was serious and very frightening. 

The entire hospital staff could not have been more kind, sensitive, thorough, patient and concerned for Tucker. We received frequent phone calls with updates from the doctors and nurses and there was always someone available to talk to in the middle of the night when I would call unable to sleep. They let us visit him whenever we wanted and we would stay with him as long as we liked. Dr. Dodd was incredibly professional -- going the extra mile -- she even consulted with holistic doctors for other healing options. I know Tucker was not her only patient but she sure made us feel like he was! 

By the third day, we were so thankful to learn that Tucker was going to survive -- only time would tell if he would have any long-term health concerns. He remained at the hospital for another three days until his vitals were consistent and he was healthy enough to come home. 

We are truly so thankful and blessed that Tucker had the care he received as he would likely not be with us today if he had been elsewhere. Thanks to everyone at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center, we still have our sweet beast! Tucker enjoys going to the hospital and seeing all his friends and fans! Each time he does he reminds them that because of their efforts and care, he is a "survivor"! 
Tucker is keepin' cool!


  1. Thanks goodness he is doing great now!! Scary, but good that you reacted so quick!

    1. Megan's quick thinking and fast action definitely helped save Tucker's life. Every moment counts when a pet has heatstroke.

  2. What I do not understand is what was different about this walk that led to heatstroke whereas similar walks at about the same temp did not have the same result? I am concerned as I have a mini who does not like heat and will often do I know when hot is too hot?

  3. Heatstroke is unpredictable and can happen to a pet who has handled the heat just fine in the past. It is best to play it on the safe side and avoid excessive heat exposure for your dog - if you are hot and sweating then your dog is definitely too hot. It is like going out for a walk with a fur coat on. Panting is the way a dog cools down since they do not sweat. Signs that your dog is too hot and may have heatstroke are rapid panting, drooling, vomiting, weakness, stupor, excessive heart rate, and possible collapse. Any or all of these symptoms combined could indicate heatstroke.

    If you think your pet may be suffering from heatstroke, get them to a vet immediately. In the interim you can try to cool them off by dousing them with cool (but not COLD water) especially on the groin, arm pits, and paws. You do not want to soak them completely with cold water. This can cause shock and can also cause the blood vessels to constrict, thereby trapping heat inside the body.

  4. A couple of things that you can also do if you need to take the dog out in the heat.
    (1) hose your dog down before going out in the heat
    (2) buy a cooling coat for the dog and keep it wet
    (3) if dog is stationary e.g. sitting with you outside, wet dog down and use a fan e.g. I love the Ryobi ones
    (4) Hydrate your dog well the day before extensive exercise in the heat e.g. put water in their food, put milk in some water which will encourage them to drink more

    1. Thanks for the tips Angela!Our veterinarian's general rule is that if it is hot enough that your dog needs to be hosed down in order to stay cool then they should not go outside. Here are so more tips for keeping your pet cool:

      If possible, keep your pets indoors with the shades drawn and the air conditioning or an oscillating fan on.

      If your pet has to stay outside make sure they have access to cool and shaded areas.

      Whether they are indoors or outside, make sure your pet has access to plenty of cool, fresh water. You can even try putting ice cubes in their bowls to keep the water extra cool.

      Keep long, thick fur trimmed in a lightweight summer cut.

      Only take your dog on a walk early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperature is cooler. Not only can exercise in extreme heat cause heatstoke but the hot asphalt can burn sensitive paw pads.

      Avoid strenuous exercise or play in general in the hot weather; don't go on long hikes or lengthy walks.

      NEVER leave your pet in the car! Even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a car can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.

  5. kathie from CaliforniaJuly 3, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Your vet really is a great place. You all took such wonderful care of my sweet chocolate lab in his last years. I am so greatful to you and also Dr. Williams.

  6. Thanks for publishing this story. I'm glad Tucker is still with you, and I hope he made a full recovery in every way. When I see people riding their bicycles with their dog(s) trotting alongside, I worry about the canines and whether their owners have a clue about the exertion on the dog vs. the human sitting on the bike. :(