In this episode of K9 Conservationists, Kayla speaks with Emily Hall and Ann Carter about heat injuries in dogs.
Links Mentioned in the Episode:
Kayla Fratt 00:09
Hello, and welcome to the K9Conservationists podcast where we’re positively obsessed with conservation protection dogs. Join us every week to discuss detection, training, canine welfare, conservation, biology and everything in between. I’m Kayla Fratt, one of the cofounders of K9Conservationists, where we train dogs to detect data for land managers, researchers, agencies and NGOs. But first, we do have a science highlight to go over. So this is a really quick and pretty straightforward paper that I read just yesterday titled “The effect of urine sample temperature on the efficacy of olfactory detection of prostate cancer in men by a specially trained dogs” This was published in July 2023, in the Journal of the University of Veterinary Sciences in the Czech Republic. And it was published by Lucie Urbanova and a whole bunch of other lovely sounding co-authors with all quite Czech sounding names, I’m not going to insult the Czech language by trying to pronounce. The question that they were trying to answer is whether or not urine sample temperature affects the efficacy of a cancer detection dog. They had one cancer detection dog in this study, a female German shepherd. And basically what they did is they had 218 samples, and they divided them into four groups. They had positive and negative samples, and then they had the samples stored either between two and 14 degrees Celsius and or 15 and 23 degrees Celsius. Long story short, they found that there was not a significant difference in the dog’s capability to distinguish positive from negative samples based on the urine temperature. As always, there’s quite a few limitations to this. Of course, this is just one dog, I also would be really interested to know what would have happened if they had had the temperature bands for storing quite a bit narrower. So maybe, I don’t know, would you have found a difference if the they had some samples stored between two and five degrees Celsius, another between, you know, 14 and 15 degrees Celsius, and then another couple between 21 and 23 degrees Celsius, you know, that would make the stats more challenging, you would need a larger sample size in order to get good p values. But I the the really large and almost overlapping temperature bands were something that I found really interesting and there wasn’t a chart that I could find that said kind of what number of samples were at each given temperature because again, like two to 14 degrees Celsius seems like a pretty wide range. But we’ll drop that link over into the shots if anyone wants to check it out. We still don’t have any new reviews on Apple podcasts, so if you haven’t yet, please do go ahead and drop us one over there. Our last review was in 2022, and it is almost September 2023 at this point. Today, I’m super excited to be talking to Drs. Anne Carter and Emily Hall again about heat injury. So if you enjoyed the episode with Janice from the Veterinary Tactical Group, this is going to be a follow-on. We’re expanding, we’re going into a couple different corners and reiterating some of the most important information out there about heat injury.
Heather Nootbaar 03:06
Are you ready to learn more about training and handling conservation detection dogs? I’m Heather, one of the cofounders of K9Conservationists. Starting in January 2024, I’ll be leading a live session of our online conservation dog handler course with the help of Kayla and Rachel. The course includes 18 sections of material covering topics like dog selection, alert training, sensitivity and specificity, odor dynamics, field safety, finding work, and more. Students in the live session will also have weekly zoom meetings to discuss the learning and go over homework. All students gain lifetime access to the course material in our online community of learners through WhatsApp and Facebook. For those looking to earn CEUs, the course is approved by CPDT, IABC and KPA. We can’t wait to join you on your journey – sign up for the waitlist today, linked in the show notes.
Kayla Fratt 03:59
So why don’t we go ahead and start out. Anne, why don’t you introduce yourself to our listeners, then Emily, same thing. Tell us about yourself your work and the animals you share your life with?
Anne Carter 04:09
Hi, I’m Anne Carter. I recently moved up to Scotland from the Midlands. I work at Scottish Royal Colleges, just over the border in Scotland, I would guess owned by three dogs. So I’ve got two German shorthaired pointers and a Pointer cross Bracco who’s the rescue and half a dozen chickens, and a very noisy cockerel. And I have been working in canine research for probably about the last 15 years or so. I pulled Emily into the fold about 10 or so years ago. We started looking at heat related illness in Canicross dogs because I’m an avid Canicross, so for those of you who aren’t sure what that is, if you think about sled dog sports, and instead of a sled, you run behind the dog. And if you’re feeling really full of adrenaline, then you can attach them to the front of a mountain bike and do something similar at speed. So started looking at, at my sports interest alongside my research interest and decided that if I was going to start looking at heat related illness, then I needed to find a team for that to work alongside and got to know Emily, in my previous role.
Emily Hall 04:22
I guess that’s where I come in. So yeah, I’m Emily Hall. And I currently work for the Royal Veterinary College in London in the United Kingdom. I started out as a small animal veterinary surgeon. So seeing people’s pets, spent about a decade in small animal GP practice, and then moved into teaching and yes, Anne collared me nearly 10 years ago, to start taking dog temperatures, all things. And once we started looking at heat stroke risk in Canicross dogs, it kind of uncovered a little bit of a gap in the evidence and literature base, that there really wasn’t very much about heatstroke in pet dogs in the UK, for one thing, but also really worldwide, except for the team in Israel who’ve been doing some incredible work for many, many years now. So I then met Dan O’Neill, who’s our other major co-author on most of our heat, treat papers at a conference and badgered him into letting us use that compass database to do our most recent research. And that database gives us access to the veterinary records of millions of UK dogs. So we can be can use big data to have a look at that the questions that we’re trying to answer through our research. And that’s where our heat stroke research really took off and came from.
Kayla Fratt 06:48
Wow, that sounds like an amazing database to get to work with. And yeah, and I, you know, I’m excited to get to talk a little bit about the Canaan cross side of things as well, just because I haven’t done a lot of Cana cross competing myself, but I’ve done a fair bit of ski shoring. Wow. It’s always it’s always fascinating from the heat side of things to watch, you know, the dogs, you know, it’s four, four degrees Fahrenheit out. So I don’t know what that is in Celsius negative something. And in both of my dogs have mastered as they’re at a dead sprint, still, like managing to drop a shoulder and like grind this side of their face and shoulder into the snow to cool themselves off. And you know, usually, we try to stop that. And let them cool off a little bit. But it’s always crazy to, to see just how hot they can get no matter how cold it is outside. So go ahead.
Anne Carter 07:42
Definitely it’s it is one of those things, and that’s one of the things we started to notice when we were taking temperatures is I think the assumption is always because these are a winter sports and even Canicross and bite your through the winter, that actually the dogs get very, very hot. And even though we would expect them to be cooler in those winter periods, so that started to kind of pique our interest from the outset. Oh, yeah,
Kayla Fratt 08:08
I mean, I used to be a competitive cross country skier again, and like, I mean, I would finish races when it was 10 degrees Fahrenheit out pouring sweat. And then you know, and it’s interesting, actually, we were just talking before we hit record about, you know, this really persistent myth of don’t cool down too fast after a heat injury, but you know, what I saw in cross country skiing as well. And it’s different because we’re covered in sweat. So if I was covered in sweat at the end of a race, and then didn’t get that those clothes off, and then into dry, you know, dry Parker right away, then I would swing from sweating to hypothermia very, very, very quickly. But that’s actually a really different situation. And I wonder how much of the persistence of this myth actually comes from the misunderstanding of like, you know, I was never in true heat stress, I was sweating. But I wasn’t, you know, I wasn’t actually getting heat exhaustion or a heat stroke, nowhere near it. And it was the sweat. That was really the problem that like the sweat freezing was what cooled me down too fast and swung me over into hypothermia. And I don’t know if I’ve ever kind of made that sort of connection before. And I don’t know how many other people really have the, the misfortune of having had that sort of experience. The way cross country ski racers tend to
Emily Hall 09:27
it’s one of the challenges, I think, with researching heatstroke. And especially with researching how to cool people and dogs and horses, who’ve got heatstroke because ethically we obviously can’t go out of dog seat straight because that would just be horrendous. Back in the 70s and 80s. That’s around, but yeah, so a lot of the studies are using athletes with hypothermia, so they’re too hot, but they don’t have heat related illness. And yeah, that is one of the key limitations we have with much of the research that we have available at the moment. So, yes,
Kayla Fratt 10:07
yeah, well, and even, you know, one of the things I learned from talking to Janice is that even if you wanted to, and could get ethical permission to it probably would be harder to control this than we’d like to believe anyway. Because, you know, it’s I don’t think I had fully realized how individualized you know, that point of heatstroke actually, is for the dogs and how, you know, how varied their capability and tolerating that heat is.
Anne Carter 10:36
Definitely, and I think there is, you know, the temperatures that we were taking at the end of Canicross races, if you just took those temperatures, aside from anything else, as a, as a vet, Emily would be looking at those going, we have a problem here, these dogs need treatment, when actually these are dogs that have just finished a sprint race. And as Emily mentioned that they are hypothermic, but they’re not hitting that heat related illness, and they’re cooling down naturally, sort of with appropriate cooling methods, but we’re not seeing them hit that level that that we have a problem in a veterinary sense. It does make it more challenging in terms of what we’re looking at. But then the capacity for dogs a bit like people to cope with different temperatures, different conditions, is very varied. And their capacity also to acclimatized to those different conditions as well. You put me in hot weather, and one of the reasons I come across is I don’t do heat, I don’t cope well, in the heat, I don’t seem to adapt particularly well to the heat. So I’m a winter runner. And in the same sense, we see that in our dogs is there is a huge amount of variability in the way they respond to those different conditions. So it’s very difficult to get a sort of consistent response in the way we’d like. And we also know that that the baseline temperature of the dog is a temperature range, it’s not a single value. So even within that you’ve got dogs that naturally run cold as it were, and dogs that naturally will run warm. And so you can see that individual variation between them to be able to make that comparison. But by comparing those two individuals, a dog that is naturally cooler, it is baseline may never reach the temperatures that we see in a dog that is naturally warmer in its baseline.
Kayla Fratt 12:35
Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And, Emily, this must be kind of a consistent problem just in veterinary research as well. You know, I was just thinking about like the the best responses for a dog with a torn CCl, which is something that I my dog tore his ACL in November. And, you know, you can’t just go and like give a bunch of dogs, the same exact tees, you know, see ACL tear that is the same depth of the same in the same area and then actually see what therapy is or which surgery is the best option for them. You just kind of have to, you know, look at those big datasets and hope that general trends come out if you’ve got enough data, I suppose.
Emily Hall 13:21
Yeah, I think that’s one of the values of that compasses that we can use those really big datasets. And we can include variation, because traditionally, some veterinary studies have tried to control a lot. So you have studies where they’ve only looked at one breed. And one of the time studies may exclude comorbidities. So if animals have got a pre existing condition, then they’re excluded from the study because they have a pre existing condition, therefore, we’re not going to look at them for their heart disease because they already have skin disease. So that’s one of the things we deliberately did with our heat stroke research was we included every dog regardless of whether they had underlying conditions. So yes, we had dogs who had underlying problems like laryngeal paralysis. Yes, we had dogs that were diagnosed as having obesity, or Bo X, bracket cephalic, obstructive airway syndrome. And that was deliberate because we need to know about that. The risk factors for heatstroke are x, y, and Zed. Oh, but we excluded all the dogs that had a pre existing health condition. No, we need to know. And if your dog has this pre existing health condition, they are also at increased risk and that is going to make that risk even even greater.
Kayla Fratt 14:34
Yeah, I mean, it’s the sort of thing that I understand where the scientists are coming from when they want to try to do that. But it reminds me and I can’t remember. I guess it’s a lot of human medical stuff where you know, they’ve they, up until some period of time at least in the US, it was pretty common to not include female mice and then eventually women in your research and it’s like but because well like menstrual stuff makes it too complicated. It’s like so what’s going to happen when we release it out? To all the people who went straight? On seems like something that we would want to know about? And yeah, especially, I mean, it almost seems more inherently obvious to me that like, of course, we need the obese brachiocephalic dogs in the research, like, how on earth? Would you even say that you’re looking at anything, if you’re not including those dogs, unless you’re really saying that this is just for military working dogs or something like,
Anne Carter 15:32
and this is the thing is, is making this relevant for the pet population as much as anything? Because actually, where we’re seeing, you know, I was gonna say, increase in heat waves in the UK, but not this year. But certainly, you know, we’re seeing more extremes of temperature. So actually, our, our normal pet population is, you know, is the largest population we’re looking at. And in a sense, the the military working dogs and those that are very fit very healthy, arguably, then have a slightly reduced risk, because of those factors. Whereas the dogs that do have Bo us the dogs that are obese, those confounding factors also contribute to their risk of heat related illness. So we need to be aware of that that’s really important to understand how those factors link in otherwise, it’s not relevant to our everyday pet owner in the same way.
Kayla Fratt 16:31
Yeah, absolutely. So maybe now’s a good time to just jump into some of your your research and use that a lot as little as a lens to cover all of the other questions that I have. And if we miss anything, specifically, we can always come back and ask that separately. So yeah, I don’t know. If do we want to start with the cane across research. And then I would also love to talk to you guys a little bit about cars.
Emily Hall 16:55
So we one of our first major studies was essentially going out into fields quite early in the weekend, and taking temperatures of dogs running and counting cross races. And big thanks to Midlands Canicross for allowing us to conduct our research at their races and all the owners and dogs who took part because we took hundreds of dog temperatures as part of that study. And bearing in mind that Canicross races in the UK run fairly exclusively, at least with that club between September and April. So traditionally, the kind of autumn winter heading into spring months, which should be reasonably cold. We were taking dogs temperatures after between about two and five kilometer races. I’m sorry, I can’t do that into miles in my head because
Kayla Fratt 17:48
that’s somewhere between like one and a half and three and a half miles ish since.
Emily Hall 17:55
And Sundays there was snow on the ground. Some days it was raining. That was gale force winds. It was never particularly hot. And yet almost every race we went to as answered earlier, we had dogs where we were measuring a post race temperature of around 42.5 centigrade, which I think is pushing kind of 100 910 Fahrenheit.
Kayla Fratt 18:21
I’m just gonna pull up a Celsius to Fahrenheit converter. So 42.5 is one Oh 8.5.
Emily Hall 18:31
That’s yeah, that is hot. And the kind of historical canine heat stroke work kind of pinpointed 43 as a fairly critical number above that, really is what’s predicting severe heat related illness and death. So yeah, as I’ve said, you know, we were taking these temperatures, and I was looking at them going, oh, boy, that’s hot. And yeah, within five minutes of finishing the race, the dogs were completely normal. There were no clinical signs of heat related illnesses, no collapse and diarrhea and vomiting, nothing. And they were cooling down pretty quickly. So that kind of started raising red flags for us because every piece of research we read about heatstroke was telling us that a dog with a temperature over 41 should be considered to have heatstroke and it’s like well, we have a bunch of dogs here with a temperature over 41 and absolutely no clinical signs. So what’s going on, but equally these temperatures were occurring in dogs racing in the snow, you know minus five centigrade which is not as cold as it gets where you are sure but still pretty chilly and not a time of year when we’d consider dogs to be at risk. So that dataset included they were primarily pet dogs but pet dogs competing at a kind of regional level in the UK and included every everything from I think we had a cockapoo, she copied me tiny little. I want to run cane across with a kaka Whoa, that’s so cute. With the running but Yeah.
Anne Carter 20:08
Fantastic time though.
Kayla Fratt 20:10
I’m sure they should have high classes for came across like in fly ball. Yeah.
Emily Hall 20:18
Right up to the kind of the big muster landers, German Shepherds is lots and lots and lots of pointers, as you can imagine. And yeah, we analyzed their post race temperature to try and identify which variables kind of predicted how hot the dogs were getting, to a certain extent. And essentially, as we may have already touched on male dogs definitely got hotter than female dogs. Their temperatures went up higher, and the temperature increase was more than the females as well. And we have actually really recently re reviewed that data, for reasons we won’t go into, but have now found that air temperature did influence canine body temperature. So unsurprisingly, the hotter it was, like the hotter the dogs were getting. It’s not a direct relationship, you can’t really predict how hot your dog’s gonna get from the outside temperature. Because as we’ve already discussed, there’s loads of other factors like fitness, hydration, how fat they are, whether or not they’re obese or underweight or fit. You know which point they are in the season even can influence how they cope with heat. But it is an important factor. We also recently sort of spotted that actually, the long haired dogs appeared to be getting hotter than the short and the medium coated dogs, which again, during exercise you would expect if they’re being insulated by a great big, thick double coats, then yeah, that is gonna reduce the heat loss, so likely get them hotter. So yeah, they were our main findings from that study.
Kayla Fratt 21:58
Yeah. Was there any difference in neuter status for for the dogs? Or what are what is your neutering culture in the US or in the UK? I don’t know. Like in the US, you would be hard pressed outside of sport worlds to get a decent representation of intact dogs.
Emily Hall 22:17
But we didn’t actually I don’t think we measured that partly because some dogs changed. Because we reflected data across three seasons,
Anne Carter 22:27
we didn’t have a huge number of entire Tiki males there. There is a shift, I think starting to happen. I would say what the last 510 years or so certainly people are less inclined to sort of automatically neuter. You know, historically, it was always your dog reaches a year or so old. And they are routinely neutered, and it was actively encouraged wearing things particularly in male dogs. People are sort of more reserved in terms of neutering. Females, I think, unless people are breeding, then they tend to neuter from a risk of dementia. Yeah, but it does mean that yes, in the sports dog world, there is still a large proportion of neutered dogs, compared to to entire but as Emily said, we did see some of them were were neutered through the season, obviously, given a break from racing. While that’s happening as well, but it did make it a bit more challenging. But that didn’t mean we didn’t have the numbers to look at that.
Kayla Fratt 23:36
Yeah, yeah, that’s, that makes sense. I, I’ve got one intact dog and one neutered dog. And there’s a whole bunch of other differences between them. So obviously, it’s very far from useful, but the intact one is the one who seems to get hotter and struggle more with the heat despite being shorter coated. He’s got big bat ears upright. He’s gray versus black. The other one’s like a very traditional, like Scottish looking, fluffy black border collie. But it’s the intact one who struggles more with the heat. And again, there’s probably 100 reasons that could be but okay, so yeah. So basically, the biggest finding that we’ve talked about so far with the Canicross that Is that Yeah. Clearly Rector rectal temperature for these dogs is not necessarily telling us whether or not they’re in a medical emergency because it’s not correlating with any other clinical signs. What else did you find throughout throughout that research,
Emily Hall 24:40
just to clarify B to E in temperatures in that particular study, purely because kind of approaching people and asking if we can take a rectal temperature in their dog right after they finish the race, we suspect to be disinclined to sign up to the study. And it’s really important that the dogs didn’t experience any undue stressed during the research, because the last thing we wanted to do was to have a dog that then was reluctant to race because they’ve taken part in the study. Of course, yeah, they were the main points, we did tests. So later we were going to talk about myth busting. In the UK Canicross world for a while there was this kind of rule that if you take the ambient temperature in centigrade, and you multiply it by the relative humidity, and if the result is over 1000, then it’s too hot to run. So you shouldn’t raise your dog with no real evidence as to where that’s come from. So we did test whether that appeared to be remotely predictive for temperature. And yeah.
Kayla Fratt 25:40
I mean, I that. Yeah. I mean, we all want those little formulas. But I’ve been listening to Michael Hobbs is a reporter that I really like who’s got a couple different podcasts. And one of the things that he says over and over in the shows that I’ve been listening to is like, you know, whenever you hear a number like that, that’s that round. You should start asking whether or not you know, it still may be a useful rule of thumb. It’s not that we necessarily have to throw that out. But yeah, the the fact that it comes out to 1000, that’s the important thing that seems like it can’t possibly be databased.
Anne Carter 26:18
And I think as well, it’s one of those where it’s always a question we’re asked is, well, what temperature is safe to run my dog? And it’s just not something you can answer because of all the factors we’ve talked about. Actually, there is no one size fits all approach for every single dog. But also, the risk is it lulls people into a false sense of security, of saying, well, if temperature times humidity is over 1000? Well, it’s below 1000. So I’m safe. And actually, beside the fact that we know that there isn’t any evidence to suggest that that number has any value to it, actually relying on a particular number as a bit of a tick box exercise to say, Well, I’m safe to run my dog because the number says so actually, it’s more about having an awareness of your environment and knowing your dog to reduce that risk and knowing when to stop or slow down, or give them water or call them. That’s the important thing over and above the conditions alone.
Kayla Fratt 27:20
Yeah, I mean, again, going back to like the ski Joerg example, I’m like, Well, that means that whenever it’s zero degrees out, it’s impossible to ever overheat your dog. I get that. Yeah. You know, for a lot of dogs who aren’t used to those temperatures, that might be true, it might be kind of impossible, overheat. A dog that’s used to 30 degrees Celsius, at zero, but yeah, anyway, we don’t need to harp on that too much, because this is a conservation on podcast. And generally, we’re not working in sub freezing temperatures.
Anne Carter 27:52
But I think even at those middle of the range temperatures, some of the work we’ve looked at with the vet compensator. Actually, you know, we’re finding that dogs that are simply being walked in warmer conditions, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be hot weather. They are at risk. And yeah, again, I think in part because when it is hotter, there tends to be an assumption of I need to be careful because the weather’s hotter. Yeah. Whereas when we’re in that kind of middle ground of it’s warmer, but but not really hot. The assumption is, well, it’s okay, because it’s not too hot. And so you let your guard down a little bit. Yeah,
Emily Hall 28:30
I think that’s something to flag about the UK in particular, being the teeny tiny little islands surrounded by sea, our dogs just don’t get an opportunity to acclimatized to heat. You know, they kind of they recommend that it takes around six weeks for a dog to acclimatized to working in the heat. I think the last time we had six weeks of hot weather was maybe 2018. It’s been a while. Don’t get that, uh, whereas, you know, we see research coming out of countries where dogs are, you know, they’re running and they’re working in 2030 degree centigrade heat. And that would just be insane for us. But those dogs have had an opportunity to acclimate to the hot weather. And that that is an important factor that doesn’t need considering, and it’s something that you can actively aim to achieve if you know that your dog is going to be needing to work and exercise in hot weather.
Kayla Fratt 29:27
Yeah, exactly. I mean, when we were in Guatemala, I just It looks like was about 86 degrees Fahrenheit as our, our typical working day, which is yeah, 3070 Celsius, and it probably got hotter than that. And it was like 80% humidity. It was terrible. But yeah, they worked. They worked great. And but we’d been living in Central America leading up to it. So what are some of those other you know, aside from taking the temperature of our dog, what are some of the things that we should be looking at kind of with the dog and then you know, we’ve already hit On a little bit, you know, the the changes in temperature being one of the most important things. But if we’re just looking at our dog and trying to figure out, you know, do I do I need to pull over and start making some adjustments, what might be would be, what might we be seeing.
Emily Hall 30:14
So in terms of kind of the really early signs of heat related illness, some of the first things you’re going to see a relate to breathing. As we know, dogs don’t sweat. Yes, they do sweat but not in a thermo regulatory capacity. So unlike humans, less sweat is our one of our predominant means of coping with profound hyperthermia. The dogs are going to pant so if they’re panting, really, we almost call it furious panting. We have a video that on our blog, which you can link to, where you know, the mouth is really open, the gums are exposed, because the lips are drawn back, the tongue is kind of almost touching. Yeah, the the mucous membranes are brick red, and they are just panting, panting, panting and it doesn’t stop when we stop exercise or remove them from the heat. So that is, you know, that’s an early sign, essentially, that they have gotten mild heat related illness. If we then see them going into respiratory difficulty, then things are progressing and getting more severe. And also, quite often, we’ll see that the dogs develop a reluctance to move, so they become stiff, they maybe become lethargic, and from our discussions with our kind of colleagues who do a lot of Canicross, who’ve observed their dogs, probably developing the early stages of heat related illness, subtle changes in the way they perform. So perhaps not pulling quite as much as they normally would do. Perhaps not responding to calls that are made, can be early signs, and I think should probably be a fairly urgent piece of research that needs doing to kind of detect how he is affecting dogs when they have a job to do.
Anne Carter 31:58
And and I think that that does link really nicely with your conservation side of things is are the dogs starting to just drop in performance slightly? And almost that sense of well, they feel like they’re fatiguing, but they shouldn’t be fatiguing for the amount of work they’ve done. So are we starting to see them just a little bit less, a little bit less willing to track and perform? In which case, is that actually related to respond to the heat and those early signs?
Kayla Fratt 32:29
Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I know, you know, for us, as opposed to cane across, we might already be a little bit more attuned to the panting thing, because, you know, by the time the dog is really starting to do like a big open mouthed pant, we’re usually trying to pull them back and cool them down anyway, just so that they can improve their scenting. You know, dogs can scent with their mouths open. But when you’ve got that huge open mouth PAMP, they’re just you know, they’re, they’re more focused on expelling heat than then really bringing in fresh air through their nose. So maybe that’s one of the advantages that we have as far as while we are actively working. If panting is one of the biggest things you need to watch for, we’re probably watching that more carefully, even for other reasons. But that as far as you know, when we get into fitness, and you know, conditioning our dogs, we still could, could push them past that point of panting.
Emily Hall 33:28
Go beyond that point. If we don’t spot that and we continue working them or leave them in a hot environment, then the next round of signs we’re going to see really indicate that there’s damage starting to happen. So vomiting, diarrhea, really excessive drooling. Kind of signs that the dogs progressing into more of a moderate the related illness stage. And even as far as single seizures, and episodic collapse, so they collapse, but then can get up again after a little while. And no impairment, their consciousness at that stage, once we start seeing signs that their neurological function is really disturbed. So seizures, multiple seizures, Status Epilepticus, of staying in a seizure, ataxia, so not being coordinated in how they’re moving and responding. And we’re into signs of severe disease. And certainly in the study that we did on the UK, pet dogs, less than 50% of the dogs who have severe disease survived. So while we really don’t want to be letting them get to that stage, we definitely want to be picking them up when they’ve got the mild to moderate signs.
Kayla Fratt 34:37
Yeah, yeah, definitely. I didn’t realize that the mortality rate was quite that high. But yeah, I guess I mean, if you’re getting to the point that they’re seizing, and you’re getting altered mental status and those sorts of things, and it’s interesting, the the thing about queues, potentially anecdotally being something that we want to explore because that actually, you know, just thinking back to my wilderness first responder course, you know, thinking About like level of responsiveness scales for humans. That’s not something that we have necessarily ever heard of for dogs. But it would be a really useful scale, if it does exist or you know, a test of some sort to be able to ask the dog, hey, can you do this? No. Okay, that’s telling me something about kind of somewhere on that physical mental axis of your, your capabilities. So let us know when you’ve done that research. Okay. That would be lovely.
Anne Carter 35:34
This is one of the things we’ve tried to achieve with the scale is, you know, we have the scale in the human medical literature coming through. But a lot of this is based on self reporting, the challenges we’ve got with dogs is they can’t self report, we can’t around to How are you feeling? So actually, by grouping these clinical signs together, we can have a better understanding of that mild, moderate and severe. But if we could have some kind of test associated to have that basic level of know, a bit like, Yeah, are you? Are you sober? And can you walk in a straight line, right? If we could do that with our dogs and say, well, we could use this as a basic understanding of of, are they just dipping into that sort of mild heat related illness status, then that that would be fantastic to have some sort of tool. But at this stage, without that, then at least to be able to have that understanding of, of those subtle changes that we’re seeing. And often they are subtle. And I think, particularly when we’re looking at dogs that are working, whether that is as athletes or as, as working dogs, then often they’re very focused on their goal and their output. And we don’t necessarily notice that progression until we stop them. And I think that’s quite crucial as well, that, that they’re not necessarily going to stop themselves, because they’ve got a job to do. And that drive and that worth work ethic that is so important in their role, can sometimes mask that kind of feeling of actually, I’m, I’m getting too hot, and I need to stop.
Kayla Fratt 37:12
Yeah, yeah, again, going back to our experience in Guatemala, I had to it was funny, because the first couple times this happened, all the all the other, the Rangers that we were with thought that I had something wrong with me, but barley when relax and wouldn’t rest. Unless I also sat down, took a break. Because if we just kind of stood there, you know, we tried this a couple times, just standing there and trying to get him to lie down and cool off. He would just, you know, he would lie down for a second if I told him to, and then get up and then stand there panting, and then, you know, try to run off and start searching again. And like he’s, he wasn’t actually in a frame of mind or physically in a place where he could be searching. But if we didn’t also sit down. And it felt like there was a possibility that the work was going to start again, he couldn’t, he couldn’t stop.
Anne Carter 38:04
And certainly, we see that sort of anecdotally across across the county across dogs. And you know, from personal experience, my my old Canicross dog, if it was over 15 degrees, you’re on your own, he trot along beside you, but he certainly wasn’t going to put any effort in he wasn’t going to be pulling. Because it’s too hot. Thank you very much. My GSPs The point is have a very, very driven, and you know, with them, I have to be very careful because they have that work ethic of, well, you’ve asked me to run so I’m going to run because that’s my job. And it’s only when you stop them. And they are panting like mad. That then that realization of I needed to make that decision sooner, because the drive was there to keep coming. And I think we sometimes get people saying Oh, but if it’s too warm, surely they’ll stop. Right? And often they really don’t. And I think that’s important to recognize that it’s a bit like with children, sometimes we have to be the sensible adult and going no, I’ve seen those early signs, I’m aware that I’m just starting to see and it might just be a slight, you know, movement to the left or the right where they normally run very straight or and again, knowing your dog and what they do. But actually, those very subtle signs are enough to say, I just need to give them a break. And like you say with your dog, stop them. Make sure they’re laying down resting before continuing and if needs be actively cooling them in that process as well.
Kayla Fratt 39:30
Yeah, definitely. And really, yeah, really, so much of it is knowing knowing your dog and knowing knowing the signs so that you can be I like that phrase, the adult in the room because yeah, I know when I first got barley, he was my first dog that kind of was at this this level. And I remember I think I left him with my then boyfriend for a weekend and I can’t remember why. And he was like, Yeah, I just I just went out and I was like, I’m gonna play fetch with him until he stops so that you know, he’ll be tired for the rest of the weekend. And I was like, no, no, no, don’t do that. Because if you get to the point where he stops, like, he’s going to be too far gone and you know, had a little bit of a back and forth with this, this guy who, you know, he’s like, No, I think he’ll stop. It was like, I really don’t think he ill
Anne Carter 40:18
especially Kali as well.
Kayla Fratt 40:20
Yeah, yeah. And yeah, and I don’t think he would you know, I still, you know have to run behind him he’s nine and a half now and I’m running behind him on offleash trails but like don’t throw that he’s had a tplo and a spinal injury, like, please don’t play fetch with him. And, yeah, we just this is neither here nor there. But we just moved in next to a disc golf course. And so now it’s like, every single time I take him out, I even though it’s an off leash area, I have to constantly be putting him on and off leash because, you know, people playing disc golf is just, I mean, it’s kryptonite for him. And he’s an extraordinarily well trained dog, but I can’t call him off of someone playing playing disc golf and flinging a Frisbee across the field. Okay, so why don’t we on that topic, talk a little bit about ways to keep dogs cool and help cool them down. And then we’ll come back to a couple of the other the other things that we haven’t covered yet.
Emily Hall 41:20
So think one of the first things to consider is how kind of prepared your dog is for the heat. So we’ve touched on being acclimatized to working in the heat. But one of the really important factors which we haven’t tried to measure, but really doesn’t need to be at the forefront of your mind in hot weather is how hydrated your dog is, if your dog is even remotely dehydrated, and that could just be because they’ve not had access to water because you’ve been traveling. Or obviously if they’ve had anything like vomiting and diarrhea, they’re likely to be dehydrated, that is going to impact their ability to plant effectively and cool down. And it will mean that they stay hotter for longer, get hotter quicker, and it’s just going to increase their risk. So yeah, really, really pushing hydration as an important strategy for looking after your dog in hot weather. Also, all the things that we found that were risk factors for for heat related illness. So being overweight and poor respiratory function are super important. So if you know your dogs had a recent bout of kennel cough, or if you know that your dog is getting older and perhaps has some reduced respiratory capacity, say COPD or bronchitis or laryngeal paralysis and some of our big dogs is a real concern that is a killer in the hot weather, then you need to be aware of that. And with that, some advanced research actually how you’re restraining your dog if they’re in a color. And that collars putting pressure on their throat is that potentially impacting their respiratory function. So yeah, making sure that they they can breathe and they can pant effectively is super important. We kind of touched on coat length and to clip or not to clip I think is going to be the big debate for the next couple of years until someone manages to do a study but certainly if your dog is working a lot that coat is not going to be helping them so yeah, if you do have a thick coated breed and they are having to work in the heat, then I think that is something to consider. Some people advocate for kind of covering them in water before they exercise as the water evaporates that is going to help take you to weigh but yeah, they’re they’re kind of the big things and as I say getting them fit, making sure that they are athletically fit and ready to do that the work that you want them to do is super important.
Kayla Fratt 43:38
Yeah, I’ve always noticed again going back to barley he’s you know, very thick double coat. Like one of the most helpful things I can do for him is brushing him really regularly but then also taking one of those really good like undercoat rakes and really I mean I can notice a difference from one brushing before and after if we’re especially I’ve noticed for him it seems anecdotally to be high humidity environments that he struggles in more than a high heat like desert versus jungle The jungle is definitely seems to be harder for him and but also seems to be most affected by taking care of the coat I’ve never clipped him because there’s so many big discussions about that on the internet. But you know, I will say when they shaved is like for as tplo is hair all grew up back just fine. He just looked like a skinny turkey for a couple of weeks there and, and, you know, a little bit less less dumb every week for a couple months there. But yeah, I mean, I know I’ve seen I think it’s some of the coursing hounds that they do like clips around the belly and shaved down to the scan around the belly to really cool these dogs off.
Anne Carter 44:45
Yeah, now she in the UK the trail hounds they will often clip them all over because they’re they’re out in the summer. They’re short coated breed anyway, but but traditionally it’s one that they have always clipped. Again, anecdotally They, they seem to think it’s quite effective. But it’s not something that’s been measured. So it’d be interesting to see the effect that has,
Kayla Fratt 45:05
yeah, it would be really interesting. Especially, you know, again, I know, you see it being passed around so much have like never ever, ever, ever shaved double coated dogs. And yeah, it’ll be really interesting to see if someone can actually do that research and compare, you know, all of the different coat types as well. Because, you know, until until we’ve got a good answer, with some of the double coated or thicker coated, you know, dogs, it’s just, it’s not really helpful to say what works for a poodle. Or, versus, yeah, like a double coated breed?
Anne Carter 45:37
Kayla Fratt 45:38
Or at least, that is. I don’t even want to call it a myth. Yeah. Because we don’t know if it’s worth. But like, as far as that belief.
Anne Carter 45:47
Yeah. And I think as you alluded to, as well, kind of how the coat then responds in growing back, which is also kind of say it’s important for k two dogs, again, you get a polarized views on that as to whether it’s an issue, whether it’s not. And the bottom line is, we just don’t know, because we just don’t have the research there yet to support one way or the other.
Kayla Fratt 46:08
Yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, yeah. I would love to see someone do that research. So okay, um, do you have anything that you want to say as far as cooling down hot dogs as far as myth busting or hot tips, cold tips, I suppose. And then we’ll we’ll talk about cars.
Emily Hall 46:27
Yeah, so probably to reiterate what Janice said previously, plenty of the literature and evidence still spouts. The myth that cooling quickly and cooling with cold water is dangerous. And given that, that is the enemy of I don’t really like saying gold standard. But you know, the best practice for cooling human athletes and equine athletes is cold water rapid cooling, there’s no reason it would be different in dogs, we have a study that we are in the process of writing up, where we essentially went back to the Canicross group again, and took more temperatures, but to their temperatures for up to 15 minutes after exercise and recorded who used what cooling methods. Bearing in mind, this was in the middle of the winter in the UK. And when I say that the lake temperature was 0.5 degrees centigrade. Just above freezing, dogs were still deliberately chucking themselves into the lake at the end of a race to cool down. And that was by far the most effective cooling method that we observed that the dogs got a lot cooler a lot quicker, when they invest in cold water. If you have an unwell dog, or an elderly dog, or a dog with poor respiratory function, or one of the brachiocephalic breeds, then yes, there’s a risk of drowning. So cold water immersion isn’t for every dog. And certainly, if your dog has lost consciousness, then you need to absolutely protect their airway. And for that reason, pouring cold water onto them alongside air movement is the recommended cooling method for older dogs, or unwell dogs, or unconscious dogs, and as I say a lot of that comes from from Genesis group and their recommendations. But yeah, the myth that you shouldn’t use cold water, it’s just not supported. But on that, actually in an emergency situation, it’s whatever what you have access to, because let’s be honest, if you’re in a jungle, where are you getting cold water from? lying around or they’re just freeze the boxes with cold water? No. So as long as the water is cooler than the dog, then it is going to be active in cooling. And again, some US military working dog groups have have looked at that and they’ve looked at cooling dogs in 30 centigrade water and they do still cool. Yeah,
Kayla Fratt 48:42
yeah, Barley was definitely seeking out. You know, there we had one kind of swampy area and a couple of rivers that we crossed in one giant puddle that I’ve got a pretty hilarious photo of him lying and that was from a tire truck tire rut. He’s just like, in full hippopotamus mode in it. But yeah, even this water that wasn’t necessarily superduper cold. He was you know, choosing to seek that out. And whenever he seeks out water, it was like, Okay, everyone stop everyone take a water break until barley decides to come out of the water where we’re waiting right now. And then also we’re doing Gator checks. To make sure he doesn’t get eaten. We weren’t far enough south for anacondas. But we had, you know, all sorts of other terrifying things that you still had to worry about in the water. But yeah, anyway, so Okay, so and when before we hit record, and you had a really good metaphor, and I know we’re really hitting on this on this, but it’s such a prevalent myth, and I really want to make sure people get it, but you had a great explanation for why cooling rapidly is so helpful.
Anne Carter 49:56
I always think of it as like boiling an egg. So if you’re trying Make a soft world egg. So you want the middle nice and gooey, but you want the outside solid, so you can eat it, then you put it in boiling water and at the point that it is ready, you take it out of the water, and you either need to eat it straightaway or put it into cold water. Because if we don’t cool it down, it’s going to keep cooking. And our dogs are very much like that in terms of their internal organs, we need to be cooling them quickly and as rapidly as possible in cold water. Otherwise, those internal organs are going to carry on cooking. So we don’t want to end up with our hard boiled egg, we don’t want the yellow to go completely solid. So cool it down as quickly as possible. Cold water. But actually lukewarm water is still going to take that heat out of our egg. And you know, you can feel it in the water, you keep replacing the water, you move it around to get that cooling process said in exactly the same way the internal organs are ultimately cooking, that is what is going to kill our dogs. So to stop that from happening, that rapid cooling is going to drop that internal body temperature and stop those organs from cooking.
Emily Hall 51:10
We sometimes see people are having a fear of the dogs getting too cold, which we were talking about earlier, that kind of you finish exercising, you’re really sweaty, you develop hypothermia, because you know you’re struggling to control your body temperature. But at the end of the day, you have to get pretty cold before hypothermia is starting to cause real damage. Whereas the longer the dog stays above that critical temperature. As I’ve said the more thermal damage has been done to organs. And that damage is often irreversible. When we think about again, cooking an egg is a perfect example. Once you’ve boiled that egg once that yolk is solid, you can’t turn it back to the runnier. Again, and it’s the same once you know the proteins have been denatured within the body, they’re denature they’re gone. So if you’ve damaged that brain tissue, if you’ve damaged that kidney tissue, that is tissue that is not going to repair and recover that irreversible damage to the dog. And when again, when we looked at our that compass study when we looked at dogs presenting with hypothermia, so the ones that had been cooled prior to arriving, there was no increased risk of death. So yes, they might be too cold. But I think it’s more dangerous to leave a dog dangerously hot for longer, because the longer they’re at that temperature, the more damage has been done.
Kayla Fratt 52:27
Yeah, that makes sense to me. Yeah. Okay, so let’s close out here with anything that we’d like to say about car research and the dangers of cars. So far, we’ve been very exercise focused. And I know the car thing could probably be a whole nother one hour conversation.
Emily Hall 52:46
But think about the cars. Thing, the biggest thing to remember with cars is if you’re not observing your dog directly, you don’t know what condition they’re in. And exactly what we were talking about with exercise. As soon as you start to see those mild signs of heat related illness, that excessive panting, that lethargy, then you need to take action. And if you’ve left your dog in a car, or you are traveling with your dog in a car, and you can’t see them and monitor them, if they’re in the back of a van, for example, you don’t know what condition they’re in. And it’s when dogs are left unattended in the heat. And that’s vehicles as well as buildings, as well as ambient conditions. If we’re in a heatwave situation, you don’t know how severe their illnesses and you have no means of getting them out of that dangerous situation. So not being able to monitor them is that reviews the big killer?
Kayla Fratt 53:39
Yeah, yeah. I’ve thought many, many times about trying to install a good camera system in my, my van for the dogs, because I’ve been living out of a sprinter van for the last two years. Currently, yeah, yeah. I didn’t get one for the last like nine months, because I was living in Central America, and just with all the phone service and international things, it just wasn’t, wasn’t worth it. But then you know, you’re in the situation where you’re living in El Salvador during the dry season. And, you know, trying to figure out when and how it’s safe to leave the car, the dogs in the car. And, you know, we had all sorts of things that we have set up with the car, and I’ve never had a problem. But yeah, it was always one of those things. I was like, you know, today is the day that the fuse glows on my on my batteries, and my fan stops working. At the same time that you know, my window shades fall down at the same time that my battery powered fan also stops, you know, we could, you know, we could be in trouble really quickly. And I don’t necessarily have a way to know and you know, we tried to have all sorts of redundant systems to avoid that. But that also is kind of the privilege of being in a van that it’s much easier to keep a giant white solar powered van cool than kind of your average car.
Anne Carter 54:55
Yeah, and it is I think one of the challenges when we have big campaigns in In the UK, about not leaving dogs in cars, particularly in the summer period. And also there’s there’s the whole mad dogs and mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun and that worry about the middle of the day. But actually what we found when we looked at temperatures in cars and a half take, we didn’t put any dogs in the vehicles at this point, this was looking at empty cars. But actually, it’s it’s the early afternoon period where the car is at its hottest, rather than the mid day period. But the risk factor is pretty much year round. So we were finding again, you might need to do some some nifty calculations of centigrade to Fahrenheit. But we found that from April to September, so from spring to autumn, cars were exceeding 40 degrees on a regular basis, four degrees centigrade. And from 104. Yeah, so and then February to October. So really hitting the the end of winter to the very end of autumn, there exceeding 30 degrees centigrade.
Kayla Fratt 56:09
Okay, and that’s 86, which is a little bit safer of a temperature for and adjusted dog but
Anne Carter 56:15
and year round, exceeding 25 degrees C. And we know that bracket phallic breeds particularly can overheat in 21 degrees C. Wow. So again, that breed effect added in there is an extra component of saying, okay, for your average dog, we’ve always got some level of risk we need to be aware of, but for your brackets, phallic breeds, that really is an increase risky around. And we had the hottest point, full sun black tarmac car park, we reached 54 and a half degrees C in the middle of summer.
Kayla Fratt 56:54
Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me. Gosh, but Okay, so I just have to go back to 21 degrees Celsius is 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit, that is like the temperature that I keep the inside of my house, and they can overheat at that that’s wild.
Emily Hall 57:11
That that goes to show how severely handicapped brachiocephalic dogs can be when their respiratory function is. They have a kind of almost a triple whammy, really. So they have narrowed airways. So they’re not, they’re not able to move air as efficiently as a regular dog. So they use more muscle effort to move that air. So you know, they’re having to use the abdomen, they’re having to use their their thorax like bellows to try and shift air in and out. And that increase muscle activity is generating more heat, then they’ve got really short little noses, so they have nowhere near the surface area that, you know, a regular dog or Collie appointed would have for heat transfer through panting through evaporation and evaporative heat loss. So they’ve got reduced heat loss, and increased heat production from trying to breathe. So yeah, when they get stressed, they can just flip and very quickly find themselves in a hypothermic crisis that they then can’t get out of without our systems.
Kayla Fratt 58:17
Yeah, that’s, that’s wild to me, like I knew it was I knew it was a lot cooler. But I didn’t realize I mean, again, that is that is colder than I keep the inside of my house during the summer, most
Anne Carter 58:31
years. I think there is also when it gets very warm as it cools down is the assumption that it’s okay because it’s cooled off. But sometimes it’s not actually cooled off enough, both with cars and out and about an exercising is, you know, we were feeling cooler, but you’re still out there in a T shirt. So also that awareness of the environment and the environmental change as well.
Kayla Fratt 59:02
Yeah, so it’s like on the on the upward trend, we need to be really concerned about making sure our dogs are acclimated, but then on the downward trend, we need to not just look at the difference in the fact that it feels better, but also that absolute temperature because yeah, the difference between 35 and 3035 probably feels great. But it’s still really hot. So like we always need to be thinking about both factors that difference and the absolute right. Yeah. Wow. Okay, is there anything that we didn’t cover that you guys want to expand on? Go back to something I didn’t ask you that I should have asked about?
Emily Hall 59:41
Okay, I think so. I think the only other thing that we maybe haven’t touched on is obviously we’ve talked a lot about exercise triggering heat related illness and hot cars triggering heat related illness. But one of the things that we found and were slightly surprised and to be honest, look, you’re heartbroken reading some of these histories and the vet records I was just how many things can trigger heat related illness. So dogs being trapped in hot buildings we were not expecting in the UK. But it was a real problem and particularly a problem in London. So yeah, thinking about the buildings that your dogs are in, and as we were just talking about, if it’s hot overnight, that can be a real problem. But also dogs developing heat related illness whilst under veterinary care, and whilst and the grooming care as well. So if we’ve got a situation where the dog is getting stressed, perhaps, and responding to that stressful situation, and it’s also a bit warm, you know, we quite often keep that practices warm, because we’ve got sick animals recovering from surgery, and obviously, groomers, we’ve got hot air being blown. If they’re drying the dogs, then yeah, we were seeing dogs develop it whilst under treatment. So yeah, it’s not just hot cars and exercise. You do need to be thinking about everything else that’s going on.
Anne Carter 1:00:55
And I think added to that conservatories. So if you’ve got conceptual sunroom, where the dog might wander in the door shuts behind them, can they get out of that environment? Or, you know, I know we’re talking on the dog side of things, but cats are a classic one for falling asleep in these kinds of places, and our elderly dogs as well. You know, they might be less aware, they fall asleep, and they don’t realize. So any any of those kind of entrapment situations and underfloor heating, it’s really nice for us to be on. But again, if they can’t get away from that heat source, and we’ve got the temperature, racked up a little bit. And ultimately, the same goes for our cars, you get into your car on a cold day, you crank the heating up, because it’s a little bit chilly. Is it getting a bit too warm for them in the back of the car?
Kayla Fratt 1:01:43
Yeah, maybe this is one of those situations where it’s good that I’m kind of someone who’s easily annoyed by my dog’s panting. So we’re not actively exercising, I’m annoyed by it. So I’m kind of constantly looking for ways to get them to stop. Maybe that’s that’s a good thing. And I also have Velcro dogs, so I, you know, tend to either assume that they’re getting into something or something’s wrong, if they’re not kind of directly underfoot. But yeah, the conservatory sunroom thing is something I never thought about. And I can totally see either my dogs or my cat getting themselves trapped in a sunroom and cooking themselves. Lots of stuff to think about. And, of course, now we’re recording at the end of August. So for everyone in our northern hemisphere, which is well over half of our listeners, we’re now moving into the time of year where hypothetically we’re at lower risk, at least as far as ambient temperatures. But you know, we also just learned all the different ways that we could still get ourselves into trouble over fall and fall into winter. And, you know, all of our Australian listeners are just about to head into it. So well, great. Is there anywhere that people should look to follow you guys online, find your research, support your work, anything like that, that you’d like to plug before we close out here?
Emily Hall 1:02:56
Yeah, we have a blog, which is heatstroke.dog. Pretty easy to remember. And that has access to all of our research and the kind of the posts that we put out at points of year to kind of translate the research into more easily digestible chunks for people to understand and that has links to our social media. So you can follow us on Facebook if you’d like.
Kayla Fratt 1:03:18
Excellent. We will link that in the show notes as usual. And for so thank you both so much for coming on. I really genuinely learned a lot. I was excited to do a second heat episode that was like, gosh, are people gonna be sick of this, you know, two in a row. But I genuinely learned a lot and this was a really nice complement and expansion on Janice’s primer. So for everyone at home I hope you’re feeling inspired to get outside and be a canine conservationist in whatever way suits your passions and skill set. Maybe today is the day that you finally order that thermometer so that you can start getting a baseline on your dog. My dogs I think they know the the outro of the podcast they both started getting up just now. And as always, you can order T shirts, mugs, tote bags, bento boxes, all that good stuff over at k9conservationists.org/shop You can find transcripts and summaries of each episode also at k9conservationists.org And finally, as always, we have our Patreon learning club and our full online conservation dog course again at k9conservationists.org Thanks so much for listening and Anne and Emily, thank you so much for everything you’re doing for the dogs!