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My dog, Lilly (Great-Dane mix, 75lb, 7 years old), is having trouble in hot weather.
First, she seems to be exhausted, then she starts stumbling and then she faints. She comes back immediately but is so exhausted (and panicking at the same time!) that she is unable to get up by herself. It is scary! :eek:

Her body temperature is lower than normal then (98.6 degrees F); thus, it cannot be due to overheating. It also happens while my woolly black Lab-mix is still very relaxed, and Lilly is short-haired and tan-colored.

Lilly got checked by several vets, but none of them has an idea what she might have. Thus, I’m desperately looking for any ideas or experiences that might help us…

The results from the vets in short:
It’s not epilepsy (my Lab mix has epilepsy—this looks very different!)
Ultrasound of her heart (and her intestines) was good.
X-ray of her lungs: her lungs don’t look perfect yet not bad enough. Bronchodilators (theophylline) didn’t make a difference; thus, it’s unlikely that her lungs cause her fainting.
Cushing’s syndrome: negative.
She got metamizole to check whether she might be in pain: no difference.
No parasites (no heart worms, lung worms,…).

She is doing absolutely great as long as it’s chilly outside. But as soon as it gets warmer, she is gradually doing worse!

Any ideas? I would highly appreciate ANY thought!!!
 

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Wow, that must be so scary!
Just brainstorming here but has an ECG been performed? Maybe her heart is not performing well under stress (exercise, heat)?
I am also wondering if perhaps there is something going on either inside her brain or with the circulatory system of the brain. So when the body needs to have more blood going to the muscles like during exercise, there isn't enough going into the brain causing your dog to collapse.

Has there been blood work to check for hemoglobin or anemia? Perhaps your dog is anemic which also could cause your dog to collapse during exercise and heat. (I know that from personal experience!!!)
 

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Thanks for your thoughts, Littlefox!

I forgot to mention that Lilly got all blood works done one could imagine. The results were all PERFECT!

An ECG, or a stress ECG has not been performed, no. I didn't even know that they do it on dogs! :D But Lilly seems to have no problems exercising when it's cold outside, so I'm not quite sure. Or maybe I haven't noticed anything because it wasn't that dramatic during colder times? I will ask the vet!

You also mentioned that it could be a neurological problem, and that seems to be a good idea. I think I'll get an appointment with my Labrador's neurologist! Meanwhile the whole family needs one! ;)

thanks again, Littlefox! I feels good to know that you're not alone! :)
 

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Thanks for your thoughts, Littlefox!

I forgot to mention that Lilly got all blood works done one could imagine. The results were all PERFECT!

An ECG, or a stress ECG has not been performed, no. I didn't even know that they do it on dogs! :D But Lilly seems to have no problems exercising when it's cold outside, so I'm not quite sure. Or maybe I haven't noticed anything because it wasn't that dramatic during colder times? I will ask the vet!

You also mentioned that it could be a neurological problem, and that seems to be a good idea. I think I'll get an appointment with my Labrador's neurologist! Meanwhile the whole family needs one! ;)

thanks again, Littlefox! I feels good to know that you're not alone! :)
I was actually more thinking along the lines of an aneurysm which is circulatory, however there are links to neurological damage/issues that can cause heat-intolerance. A visit with your neurologist is not a bad idea.
I hope the issue can be identified and treated! Keep us updated, yes? :huddle:
 

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It can be due to overheating

My dog, Lilly (Great-Dane mix, 75lb, 7 years old), is having trouble in hot weather.
First, she seems to be exhausted, then she starts stumbling and then she faints. She comes back immediately but is so exhausted (and panicking at the same time!) that she is unable to get up by herself. It is scary! :eek:

Her body temperature is lower than normal then (98.6 degrees F); thus, it cannot be due to overheating. It also happens while my woolly black Lab-mix is still very relaxed, and Lilly is short-haired and tan-colored.

She is doing absolutely great as long as it’s chilly outside. But as soon as it gets warmer, she is gradually doing worse!

Any ideas? I would highly appreciate ANY thought!!!
I think it can absolutely be due to overheating. Just because her temperature is lower than average doesn't make it easier for her when it's hot. It may actually make her MORE sensitive to heat. My son's temperature is lower than average and the heat gets to him more than most people. It's an involved history and not something to get into here, but I promise you that a lower temperature doesn't make it so she can't overheat. In my son's case he is MORE sensitive to heat, not less so. That might actually be part of the problem for Lily. If you think she can't overheat then maybe you're not helping her stay cool as you otherwise would. Being that she only faints when it's hot out, that's a pretty clear indicator that she is indeed more affected by heat.

It is scary that she's fainting. Some dogs have a low tolerance for heat. My dog is like that. She pants more than other dogs that she's around. She relishes being in snow and she seeks out water every chance she gets. She always chooses to rest in the shade vs being exposed to sun.

My sister's dog died last September on a hot day. He had only been alone for about an hour when she came home and found him in distress. He died before she could get him to the vet.

I asked her if he seemed more sensitive to heat than other dogs and she said he was. That woke me up to being aware of my own dog's reaction to heat.

I think it would be worth trying some of the things with Lily that I do for my Ayla. I have a small kiddie pool that I fill with water every few days. She absolutely loves it. As soon as it's filled with fresh cool water she walks right into it and lays down. The other two dogs in the house have almost no interest in the pool. I also spray her with the hose most days. Today she got wet from the hose 3 or 4 times. When I notice her panting heavily I'll even take her into the shower to get her cooled down. The other day she seemed uncomfortable and was panting. I put her in the shower, she went out in the backyard with the zoomies then came in and took a nap and was no longer panting. I worry about her getting overheated. I keep the back door open so she can come and go in the house when she wants. I don't take her on walks or to the dog park unless it's in the morning or evening.

Does Lily have a cool place to hang out? A cool bed to sleep on?

Lily may have something medically going on, but taking extra steps during the day to keep her cool is also worth trying. Along with that I'd also take her to a specialist that may have more insight into what's going on.
 

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Dogs, like people, are all different and react to environmental conditions differently. Our dog, for example, absolutely does not tolerate heat well. even if its only in the 70's, if the sun is on her for any period of time, she starts panting, and will move slower and slower, until she will virtually refuse to walk. In really cool weather, or if the sun is not on her, she is fine. When we walk at this time of the year, summer, its always early in the morning, before the sun is up, or while its very low in the sky, so there is lots of shade for her. She has not actually passed out, but I would never push her, knowing how poorly she tolerates heat. Once we walk in the morning, she is happy to spend the rest of her day, in the house with the air conditioning running, only going just outside the door to do what she needs to during the day.
 

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I had 4 dogs a while back, and we always went on daily walks. One time we went on our normal walk and 5 minutes in one of the dogs kept stopping, panting, just acting weird, like she was over heated yet we just started our walk. I took her to the hospital, I don’t remember what tests she got but she ended up have auto immune hemolytic anemia. She was fine after treatment but ever since was sensitive to hot weather. I met someone asks who’s dog had the same thing and was also sensitive to hot weather. It could be anything really but it have you done any blood work yet? If not I would suggest doing that and see what it says. Good luck ❤
 

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Something akin to collie collapse?
Thank you all so much for your comments!

@DogFaming, I'm sorry for your sister and your sister's dog! I actually do a lot of the stuff for Lilly that you do for your Ayla--including a cooling vest when we go on walks. It doesn't do much, though... Unfortunately! :(

@Chas: THAT sounds very interesting! I just checked videos and articles on Border Collie collapse (BCC) online and it looks exactly like that--except that Lilly is not swaying and staggering for that long but collapses after just a few seconds (and I must admit that I grab and carry her to a shady spot immediately and never wait until she really collapses!). She also recovers relatively quickly--after 10 minutes or so she is doing fine again. I have another appointment with our family vet soon and will talk about that disorder with her. Thank you so much, Chas!!! :)

Just FYI, I thought it might be helpful for some to copy and paste what the College of veterinary Medicine of the University of Minnesota wrote about the distinction of heat exhaustion/heat stroke and BCC. Maybe someone might profit from that information?! :)


"How can I tell BCC from heat exhaustion / heat stroke?

A commonly asked question is how to differentiate BCC episodes from recurrent heat exhaustion or heat stroke. For years, dogs with episodes of BCC have been labeled as “heat intolerant” because collapse is most likely to occur in hot weather. Dogs with BCC certainly are hot after exercise but their body temperatures are not higher than normal dogs performing the same exercise so it is not simply overheating causing collapse. Also it is important to recognize that the collapse episodes we see in dogs with BCC are very different from those associated with actual heat stroke. Heat stroke severe enough to cause mentation changes, gait abnormalities and collapse in a dog will be life-threatening and often fatal. Recovery, if it does occur, is slow and prolonged (hours to days) even with intensive treatment. Laboratory evaluation reveals a dramatic increase in the muscle enzyme CK and many affected dogs develop acute kidney failure. More than 80% of dogs collapsed due to heat stroke exhibit mentation changes that are severe, progressive and persistent (for hours to days). Damage to blood vessel walls leads to widespread clot formation, damage to multiple organs, low platelet numbers and often widespread bleeding. In contrast, dogs with BCC-related collapse episodes show no laboratory abnormalities and recover quickly – returning to normal within 5 to 30 minutes. Besides the severity of collapse episodes, the recurrent nature of BCC-related episodes and the fact that collapse can occur even on days with moderate or cool ambient temperatures helps to distinguish BCC from heat-related illness."

https://vetmed.umn.edu/research/labs/canine-genetics-lab/genetic-research/border-collie-collapse
 
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