Can you spot the signs of heat stroke?

Corgi swimming


What is heat stroke?

Heat stroke is a term commonly used for hyperthermia or elevated body temperature. Generally speaking, if a pet’s body temperature exceeds 103°F (39.4°C), it is considered abnormal or hyperthermic. Body temperatures above 106°F (41°F) without previous signs of illness are most commonly associated with exposure to excessive external or environmental heat. The critical temperature where multiple organ failure and impending death occurs is 109°F (42.7°C).

What causes heat stroke?

The most common cause of heat stroke or hyperthermia is leaving a dog in a car with inadequate ventilation. The dog’s body temperature in this situation can elevate very rapidly, often within minutes. It is important to remember that dogs cannot control their body temperature by sweating as humans do, since they only have a relatively small number of sweat glands located in their footpads. Their primary way of regulating body heat is by panting.

Other common causes of heat stroke include being left in a yard without access to shade or water on a hot day, being exposed to a hair dryer for an extended period of time, and excessive or vigorous exercise during hot temperatures. Excited or excessively exercised dogs are sometimes at risk even if the environmental temperature and humidity does not appear hot. This is particularly true if they are kept in a poorly ventilated environment or dog house.

Dogs with a restricted airway such as the brachycephalic breeds (flat faced dogs such as pugs, boxers and bulldogs) are at greater risk. In these breeds, clinical signs of heat stroke can occur when the outside temperature and humidity are only moderately elevated.

Dogs that are muzzled for any reason can be at greater risk since their ability to pant is restricted by the muzzle.

Any infection causing fever (pyrexia) can lead to hyperthermia. Seizures or severe muscle spasms can also elevate the body temperature due to the increase in muscular activity.


What is the treatment for heat stroke?

Hyperthermia is an immediate medical emergency.  You should contact your veterinarian immediately.  Safe, controlled reduction of body temperature is a priority. Cool water may be poured over the head, stomach, underarms and feet, or cool cloths may be applied to these areas. Rubbing alcohol may be applied to the footpads to dilate pores and increase perspiration. Ice may be placed around the mouth and anus.

The dog’s rectal temperature should be monitored and treatment discontinued once the pet shows signs of recovery or the temperature has fallen to 103ºF (39.4ºC).


What is the prognosis for heat stroke?

The prognosis depends on how high the body temperature elevated, how long the hyperthermia persisted and what the physical condition of the pet was prior to the heat stroke. If the body temperature did not become extremely high, most healthy pets will recover quickly if they are treated immediately. Some pets may experience permanent organ damage or may die at a later date from complications that developed secondarily to the hyperthermia. Pets that experience hyperthermia are at greater risk for subsequent heat stroke due to damage to the thermoregulatory center.

This client information sheet is based on material written by Ernest Ward, DVM. © Copyright 2005 Lifelearn Inc.

Key Points

  • provide adequate shade
  • provide water
  • provide adequate ventilation
  • exercise in the early morning or later in the evening when temperatures and humidity are lower

When to contact your veterinarian:

  • excessive panting
  • lethargic behavior
  • salivation
  • vomiting/diarrhea

For more information about heat stroke or heat related illnesses please visit with one of our veterinary team members.

We’re doing good deeds and we’d love for you to join us!

12963754_1115526158498859_2340397854344253131_n(1)                      What kind of supplies are useful at the SPCA?

  • paper towels
  • kitty litter
  • newspapers
  • dry kitten/puppy food
  • dish soap
  • bleach
  • liquid laundry soap
  • gently used pet carriers
  • towels
  • sturdy toys
  • Walmart gift cards
  • copier paper/colored paper
  • card stock
  • batteries
  • pens
  • permanent markers
  • highlighters
  • printing labels


How else can you show your support?

  • walk dogs
  • give baths
  • brush cats
  • become a foster
  • become a shelter volunteer


It is so important to give back to shelter pets.  Many of them have lived at the shelter for much longer than they should.  Your one on one time with a shelter pet may be just what they need to get them through one more day.  “A good deed brightens are dark world.”

Don’t forget to go like the SPCA of Brazoria County on Facebook!  Their page will keep you informed about all the exciting upcoming events and you can even share posts about shelter pets in need.

What is Canine Distemper? Is your pet at risk?

What is distemper?

Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic dogs and other animals such as ferrets, skunks and raccoons. It is a contagious, incurable, often fatal, multisystemic viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. Distemper is caused by the canine distemper virus (CDV).


How is the disease spread?

The disease is spread mainly by direct contact.  Coughing and sneezing can spread the virus over short distances.  A  susceptible dog that comes in contact with another symptomatic dog or wildlife could be at risk of contacting the virus.


What are the clinical signs?

As with all infectious diseases, clinical signs can vary. The main clinical signs are diarrhea, vomiting, a thick yellow discharge from the eyes and nose, cough and eventually seizures and neurological signs. Dogs that recover from the disease are often left with persistent nervous muscle twitches (chorea) and recurrent seizures.


Are there other diseases causing similar signs?

There are many diseases that cause diarrhea and vomiting, several that cause similar respiratory and neurological signs, but few diseases that cause all of these at the same time.


What is the treatment?

As with most viral infections, there is no specific treatment. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, but do help in controlling the secondary bacterial infections that often occur with distemper. The treatment for distemper is aimed at helping reduce the signs and symptoms. This is accomplished with hospitalization providing rest and intensive nursing care, intravenous fluid therapy and symptomatic treatment for the vomiting, diarrhea, cough, etc.


How can I prevent my dog from becoming infected?

Fortunately we have highly effective vaccines to use. These are given to puppies along with other routine vaccines. Although in the majority of dogs the protection from initial vaccination may last more than a year, annual vaccinations are recommended because some dogs may be at higher risk for contracting the disease.


How common is distemper?

Canine distemper is seen worldwide but because of the widespread use of successful vaccines, it is much less common than it was in the 1970’s. The virus may persist in recovered carrier dogs and in wildlife such as skunks and raccoons.  Recently, local officials have reported an increase in the number of potentially infected wildlife in our area.  For this reason it is essential to continue annual vaccinations to prevent the spread of the distemper virus.


For additional information or concerns regarding your pet and the distemper virus, please contact our veterinary hospital at 979-266-7080.

Spring has sprung!



Spring is finally here and summer is just around the corner! Warm sunny days and spring showers bring out fleas and mosquitos.   As we begin to spend more time outside it’s very important that we ensure our pets are protected from these pesky parasites.

Did you know that your pet doesn’t even have to enjoy the outdoors to be exposed to these parasites?

Fleas are able to come into our homes and find their way onto our pets simply by hitching a ride on our clothes.  Adult fleas are only part of the problem.  Immature fleas (eggs, larvae, and pupae) contribute to flea infestations too.  Fleas can cause serious illnesses like allergic dermatitis and anemia, and are even responsible for transmitting tapeworms to our pets.

Mosquitos can easily find their way into our homes, putting our pets at risk for heartworms.  For this reason Dr. Suazo recommends your pets be on year-round monthly heartworm and flea preventative medication.


Here are a few helpful tips from Dr. Suazo to help you manage fleas around your home:

  • Bathe your pets in Dawn dish washing detergent or baby shampoo.  You should avoid using over the counter flea shampoos as they tend to be pyrethrin based and could cause a toxicity reaction to your pet.
  • Choose a prescription flea preventative that can be purchased from a licensed veterinarian who has an established relationship with your pet.  Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best flea product for you and your pet’s needs.  Remember to follow prescription label instructions from your veterinarian to reduce the risk of life threatening illness or reaction.
  • If your pet is on prescription flea product and you still feel like you’re losing the flea battle, the product is most likely overwhelmed with the current flea population.  This means you should seek the support of a professional exterminator to treat your home and yard.  Please remember pets should not be in the home during treatment and should remain out of the home for at least 8 hours after treatment.
  • Outdoor areas should be treated every three to four weeks with an appropriate insecticide, paying special attention to shady areas.
  • Dr. Suazo prefers oral flea preventative products since fleas thrive in our warm humid climate.
  • Remember, for best results give your pet’s flea prevention year round.


Dr. Suazo’s recommendations for heartworm prevention:

  • Heartworms are transmitted by infected mosquitos that bite our pets.  It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to put our pets at risk for developing heartworms.  Monthly heartworm prevention helps to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Due to our potential to have mosquitos year round it is more beneficial to your pet to remain on heartworm prevention all year long.
  • Oral heartworm prevention reduces the margin of error during administration to your pet.
  • Heartworm prevention should only be purchased from a licensed veterinarian who has an established relationship with your pet.  There are several heartworm prevention products on the market, and your veterinarian is a great resource for helping you decide which product is best for your pet.
  • Though ticks are not as common in our area as others, they still have the ability to transmit serious diseases like Lyme disease.

To ensure that your pet stays healthy, Pecan Acres Pet Care can help with parasite testing, prevention, and treatment.

Please visit with one of our veterinary team members for more information.


February is National Pet Dental Health Month


Don’t turn your nose to your pet’s bad breath! That odor might signify a serious health risk, with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but internal organs as well.

To address the significance of oral health care for pets, Pecan Acres Pet Care will be participating in National Pet Dental Health Month in February.   Please visit with one of our veterinary medical team members for more information on how to care for your pet’s oral health.   Schedule a professional dental cleaning in February and receive a special dental gift from our team.

For your convenience we would also be happy to schedule a professional dental cleaning during your pet’s stay at Pecan Acres Pet Resort.

Practice Manager and Certified Veterinary Assistant, Mary Moritz, completes a professional dental cleaning under the close supervision of KC, our resident cat.

Practice Manager and Certified Veterinary Assistant, Mary Moritz, completes a professional dental cleaning under the close supervision of KC, our resident cat.

The Best Way to Fight Pet Cancer is to Prevent It

The PAPC Animal Hospital Team promotes pet cancer awareness in their purple and pink t-shirts.

While there is no way to guarantee that your pet won’t develop cancer at some point in his or her life, you can follow these steps to reduce your pet’s risk:

  • Make sure your pet gets twice yearly veterinary wellness exams to help identify early warning signs and risk factors.
  • Keep your pet at a healthy weight. Just like people, pets who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing many diseases, including cancer.
  • Spay or Neuter your pet early. Some types of cancer are almost 100% preventable when your pet is spayed or neutered while he or she is young.
  • Good nutrition and regular exercise are key to a healthy immune system. Feed your pet a high-quality diet, and insure both dogs and cats get daily exercise.
  • Reduce your pet’s exposure to noxious chemicals such as lawn fertilizers and pesticides, vehicle exhaust, over-the-counter flea and tick treatments, and cigarette smoke.
  • Limit your pet’s UV exposure by keeping him or her inside during the times of day when the sun is most intense.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s vaccination schedule and eliminate unnecessary vaccinations. However, prevention of feline leukemia decreases the risks of cats developing lymphoma.

For more information on how to prevent cancer in your pet, contact us at 979.266.7080.

25% of all dogs and 12% of all cats will develop cancer.

Spot the Early Warning Signs of Pet Cancer

The PAPC Hospital Team is promoting pet cancer awareness this month with their purple and pink t-shirts. Clockwise from left: Orey Fails, Mark Hoffmann, Dr. Suazo, Mary Moritz, Brittaney Pate.

It may surprise you to know that cancer is the #1 disease-related killer of pets. Protect your pet with regular veterinary examinations and by being on the lookout for any early warning signs of this disease.

  • Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow 
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  • Offensive odor
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

 If you notice any of these signs in your dog or cat, give us a call today! 


Early detection is critical in the fight against pet cancer.

Pet cancer early warning signs from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Consider pet insurance to help pay for unexpected veterinary expenses.

My Guardian Protector

~by Stacey Suazo
Quasimodo, or Modo for short, came into my life when I needed him most. Jason had just finished his first year at LSU vet school, and I was just about to begin my first year of law school. We had just lost our black pug, Reggie, a few months before, and I swore I would never love another dog again. It just hurts too much to lose one.
We lived in Port Allen, Louisiana, in an old plantation store–the two large porches on either side had been converted into apartments with a giant storage area in the center, and the strange little store turned dwelling was situated right in the middle of a working sugar cane farm. LSU was an easy commute accross the Mississippi River, and we enjoyed living among the giant sugar cane stalks. Our home was mostly hidden from sight, accessible by a long, narrow gravel drive; only the rooftop was visible from the lonely street.
As much as I loved our life in Louisiana, I’ve always been a Mama’s girl, so I came back home to the Texas Gulf Coast as often as possible. It was the summer of 1995, and I was just arriving back at our plantation house after one of my trips home. Jason greeted me outside as I pulled up, “I have a surprise for you. . . I hope you’re not mad.”

I was instantly suspicious, “you didn’t get a dog while I was gone, did you?” Feelings of anger brewed–he knew I didn’t want another dog.

“Just come see.” He grabbed my hand and pulled me up the steps to the front door, and as I looked in through the large glass door, I saw the saddest little pitiful lump of puppyness sitting in the middle of my living room. The poor little thing tried to get up to come greet us, but his head was so large and his legs were so short, each time he tried to steady himself, he would topple over, head first. His fur was a strange mottled color, his tail was stubby and curved under, and one ear hung down while the other stood straight up. He was the ugliest thing I had ever seen, and I knew at that moment that I was in love.

“He’s an ‘Imposs-i-Bull,'” Jason explained. He had found a sign in the elevator at the vet school. One of the school’s vet techs bred champion French bulldogs and champion bullmastiffs. She had over twenty years of success with each breed. Because of the size difference, she didn’t think that it was physically possible for them to mate. She was wrong. Modo was the offspring of a 23-pound French bulldog mother and a 126-pound bullmastiff father. He was the last puppy she still had, the ugly little runt of a litter of four. Of course Jason would bring him home.

It didn’t take long to come up with a name for this strange, freakish puppy. Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, known for his physical deformities, yet proven to be kind at heart, was named Quasimodo–which in Latin translates to “almost the standard measure.” Modo’s stange appearance frightened many, yet he had a sweet and gentle nature. He was too large and looming for a French bulldog, but not quite big enough to be a bullmastiff. He grew to become a 60-pound dog, but never reached over about two feet tall at the shoulders, short and squat with an enormous chest and head. Jason told me while he was still a puppy, that because of his physical deformities, he probably would not live as long as most other dogs–eight or so years at the most. But everyone who met him, even people who professed to not like dogs, loved this odd creature.

As Modo began to grow into his giant head, he was a constant source of amusement for us. Always adapting to his strange body, he learned to walk sideways down stairs, to keep his heavy skull from getting him off-balance and causing him to tumble down head first. He frequently fell face-first into his food and water bowls, then would awkwardly regain his balance to come over and give us a sloppy wet kiss as we laughed at his expense. He loved to bask in the sun in our front yard, not moving for hours, greatly resembling a giant gargoyle lawn ornament. He was the pleasant host at all of our crawfish boils, attended vet school and law school parties, and befriended people and dogs of all breeds and sizes. One year he indulged in too many appetizers before our Christmas party. He would clear the room with his gassy emissions, and we would put him outside in the back yard. He would circle around the house and re-enter with the next group of guests before the next emission would unpleasantly remind us of his presence.

Always gentle and patient, Modo was the perfect babysitter when Claudia was born. She learned to crawl by trying to keep up with him, and he would indulge her for hours as she sat on his back and pulled on his ears as reigns. When our parents would come to visit, they would stay with Claudia while Jason and I were at school. Modo would shadow them closely to be sure his baby was safe. When Claudia was about a year old, her Uncle Matt was tossing her in the air. She would squeal in delight and laughter. Modo was not sure this was safe. He gently, but firmly grabbed Matt’s arm in his mouth and guided him to the floor. No horseplay was allowed on Modo’s watch.

However, it was a few months later when Modo proved to be my true Guardian Protector. It was December, and I was just finishing with my second year of law school semester exams. Claudia was about 18-months-old, and I was about 8-months pregnant with Isabella. Jason was doing a preceptorship at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, and he only came home on the weekends. I was home alone with Claudia during the week. It was about midnight, and I was asleep in my bed with Claudia by my side. Modo was asleep on the floor next to my bed. I awoke to a strange, electric feeling in the room, and looked down at Modo. He was crouched, but his posture was erect, ready to spring. His hair was on end, hackles raised, and a deep rumbling growl pressed from his chest. He was staring through the bedroom door at our glass front door. I slowly and quietly shifted positions so that I could see what he could see, and I was instantly gripped in fear. Silhouetted by a full moon behind him, a man was on our front porch, quietly trying to pry our lock open. I was trapped. Pregnant, with my young child asleep at my side, the only phone was in direct view of the door. The old lock surely would not be hard to pry open, and it would only be moments before this man was in my house. Before I had time to think, Modo slowly moved from his crouching position and crept toward the door. When he was about three body lengths from the door, he sprang–leaping at the door and crashing his enormous chest against the frame as monstrous snarls roared from his throat. The man fell backward over the porch railing and scrambled up to run for safety. I grabbed Claudia, and ran to the phone to call for help, as I watched the man through the window running away, disappearing in the sugar cane. Modo returned to my side, continuing to watch and growl, protecting us with his love.

Modo stayed with us a lot longer than we expected. His life expectation of eight years stretched into thirteen. The dog I didn’t want became the dog I loved the most, my hero and my Guardian Protector. He was my truest friend when I needed him the most.

As he grew older, his days became increasingly painful and confusing for him. Jason and I delayed the decision as long as we could, but it became evident that it was time to release this gargoyle from his awkward and pain-ridden body. Jason gave him morphine for his pain, and he fell into a deep, restful sleep, snoring loudly. True to his spirit, his loud snores made us smile through our tears as we ushered him out of this world and on to the next. I believe he continues to protect me with his love, and he will be waiting for me when it is my time to join him.