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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 7608
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
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My 9 year old female Yorkshire terrier had heatstroke 4 days

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My 9 year old female Yorkshire terrier had heatstroke 4 days ago (excessive noisy panting) after a short walk in hot weather. I called the vet who advised to cool her down with cold wet towels which I did and she seemed fine.This morning 4 days later - she vomited a large amount of mucosy blood.I took her to the vet who examined her and could not come to a reason why. He gave her an anti nausea injection and sent her home advising rice and chicken.She seems well in herself, but I am worried that she may have DIC caused by the heatstroke.Does this seem likely?

I'm Dr. Jo and I'm a licensed veterinarian with more than twenty years of experience. I'm here to help with your question about your yorkie. I'm so sorry you are having this problem, but glad you're looking for the information you need.

You may join the conversation at any time by typing in what you want to say then clicking REPLY or SEND. Then we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided. I'll do my best to earn your good rating, because that's the only way I receive any compensation for helping you.

In the meantime, in order to help me help you better, I'll need some more information. To start with, can you please tell me:

  • Has she shown any other symptoms?
  • Has she usually been healthy before this?
  • Is she on any other medications?

I'll be standing by and awaiting your reply. Thank you.

While I await your reply, I'll respond that my initial reaction is to say no. When heatstroke leads to DIC, it does so right away. Patients who are in DIC are critically ill and generally look like they're about to die.

While graphic, I do hope this helps you understand and have a little peace of mind.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No other symptoms apart from - her appetite not great last couple days but she has been eating small amountsShe has always been healthy and takes no medicationI have read that DIC can show a few days after heatstroke has occurredI’m worried that the heatstroke has permanently damaged her in some wayShe has never vomitted blood before - it was quite a lot of blood and fresh red blood

This means I think your vet prescribed appropriate treatment. The lining of the digestive tract is especially sensitive to overheating, and during the days following an event like this, some degree of vomiting and/or diarrhea is not unusual.

If anything, your vet could have been more aggressive on pursuing diagnostics like blood work and x-rays, but that isn't always necessary if the physical exam is otherwise pretty normal.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The blood was fresh and red - is that normal?

Yes, vomiting blood can be really alarming. It's possible, however, that today's vomiting didn't have anything at all to do with the episode of heat exhaustion. It could have been from something totally different.

No... if her heat exhaustion was mild enough for her to appear to recover with no treatment other than being cooled with wet towels, it was relatively mild.

This brings up a good point... if you are researching this under the term "heat stroke", you'll see all kinds of scary things. Based on what you've said, this sounds like it was only "heat exhaustion".

Of course it's alarming and not normal to see vomiting with fresh red blood and it certainly warrants a trip to the vet (which you did). The fact the blood was fresh and red lets us know it is coming from not very far down the GI tract because the blood was not as of yet getting digested.

Regardless, it *is* normal for your vet to start her treatment by giving a shot of something like Cerenia and asking you to feed a bland diet. In many cases, that will solve the problem. If it doesn't, then you know you need to get more aggressive with x-rays and blood work.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok that is reassuring.But if this is not due to the heat exhaustion what could it be?Is it a common occurrence and due to something minor and not serious ?

It is not as common as vomiting without blood, but it does occur with some frequency. Yes, sometimes it is a simple problem that will go away with a simple solution like this. Sometimes it's not.

If it's not associated with the heat exhaustion, it could be due to:

  • Swallowing something sharp and abrasive
  • A bleeding disorder that can cause unusual bleeding anywhere in the body
  • Some types of autoimmune diseases
  • Some types of bleeding ulcers when the blood simply happens to NOT mix with enough stomach acid to change the color.

If your yorkie is otherwise bright and energetic and doesn't continue to vomit, it's acceptable to continue on this conservative treatment course.

If she's not, or if you would simply like the peace of mind, I'd advise returning to the vet for some basic blood tests and a urinalysis to narrow this down a little more.

I do hope this information is helpful.

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