Warning: Heatstroke sets in fast for pets

Largo , Florida -- It was a holiday turned tragedy for Alberto and Amy Porras, who have been married 23 years and see their dogs as their children.

"The pugs are our children," said Alberto, shaking his head.

When the couple went on vacation last month they left their beloved pugs, Chloe and Joey, at the Royal Pet Market and Resort.

When they returned, Chloe was dead. The Porras and their attorney, say medical reports show the dog had died from heatstroke.

"Hope I wake up and this as a part of a nightmare. It's a reality I have to live with for the rest of my life," Alberto said.

Meantime, at Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists in Largo, doctors say they have seen a significant amount of animals come in, suffering from heatstroke.

"By the time we see them, there's nothing much we can do unfortunately. By then, their temperature has risen over 107 degrees, 100 … and there's tissue damage," said Dr. Kathryn Bennett, of Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists.

In a hot climate like Florida, this can happen in as little as 10 minutes.

"These animals are seizing, bruising, and often non-responsive and comatose. It's a very sad situation," Bennett said.

While dogs with short snouts, like pugs are especially vulnerable, Bennett says heatstroke can set in at any time and in any breed.

Here are some tips from Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists on what to do if you notice your pet acting fatigued outside:

Excessive or exaggerated panting



High fever

Dark red gums

Unresponsiveness to commands

If your animal shows these symptoms, try to get your pet to drink water, and splash it on the paws and underside. Also, find shade, and wait for your pet to cool off.

Check the complete list of tips and first aid for your pet at this link.


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