Dog on the mend after emergency vets treat him for breathing difficulties and hyperthermia

A fun weekend jaunt in the snow nearly ended in tragedy for a cute Boston Terrier.

Just five hours after his walk three-year-old Charlie was being rushed to Vets Now in Milton Keynes after collapsing at home. Owner Domenique Nel, 23, was distraught to see little Charlie unable to move his back legs and then stop breathing.

It later emerged he’d been suffering from heat stroke as a result of exercising too vigorously in the snow and then going into a warm house.

Image of Charlie, the dog admitted to Vets Now with hyperthermia, smiling at the camera for Vets Now article on heat stroke in dogs
Charlie was admitted to Vets Now suffering from heat stroke

She said: “Charlie loves playing football and swimming in the sea and I innocently thought he would love the snow — little did I know it was going to turn out the way it did.

“The first I knew something was wrong was when Charlie, who had been sleeping under the duvet, fell off the bed. I thought he was just playing, but I soon realised that I needed to phone the emergency vets.

“I was crying hysterically and to make matters worse we couldn’t use my mum’s car because of the snow and had to wait 20 minutes for my dad to pick us up.

“The nurse on the phone was really calm and told me step by step how to keep him with us.”

Domenique’s dad, Alfred, drove Charlie from their Milton Keynes home to the nearby Vets Now clinic, which provides out-of-hours emergency care for pets in the area.

At the clinic Charlie was put in an oxygen chamber and staff worked to get his temperature under control, which had risen to more than 41C.

Image of charlie standing outside on the grass looking happy for Vets Now article on heat stroke in dogs
Charlie's temperature had risen to more than 41C

Domenique, a retail supervisor, said: “It all happened very quickly and it was so upsetting to see Charlie like that. He’s our life at the moment — and is so cute and playful.

“The staff at Vets Now were really calm and allowed me in to see Charlie as I was very distressed. It helped as he looked so much better. I can’t thank them enough for what they did.”

She added: “It took about four days for Charlie to recover at home as his muscles were sore and I also had to keep him calm, which wasn’t easy.”

Rebecca Lang, senior vet at Vets Now in Milton Keynes, said Charlie was suffering from a condition called hyperthermia, which means a high temperature, and is usually seen in dogs who have exercised too much on a hot day.

She said: “Hyperthermia occurs when dogs are no longer able to self-regulate and keep their temperature at the normal level.

“Charlie was suffering from laboured breathing as a result of the hyperthermia so we placed him under a cool shower, gave him oral fluids and some medication to help him relax, and then put him in an oxygen cage for 30 minutes.

“After about five hours his breathing and body temperature was back to normal and he was walking around and wagging his tail so he was discharged home.”

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Just three hours after his walk Charlie was rushed to Vets Now

Rebecca said laboured breathing and overheating are common problems suffered by dogs with flat faces, also known as brachycephalic breeds.

She added: “It appears he had been playing in the snow that morning, had gone home to a warm house with the heating on and had been unable to get his body temperature back to normal.

“This resulted in the brachycephalic spiral of panting followed by hyperthermia and then laboured breathing. It’s essential owners of brachycephalic breeds are very careful about how much they exercise, even in the winter.”

Image of Charlie the dog who suffered heat stroke while playing in the snow for Vets Now article
Thankfully, staff at Vets Now were able to get Charlie back to full health

The Vets Now clinic in Milton Keynes — where Charlie received treatment — was recently rated as “outstanding” in the delivery of emergency and critical care by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

It’s one of 58 Vets Now clinics and pet emergency hospitals across the UK that are open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s premises have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.