Ritka and Heat Stroke 15 Aug

Ritka has DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation), probably triggered by heat stress from coursing jack rabbits at the Yolo Wildlife area near Davis on Tuesday 15 August. I’ve tried to tell her that she is supposed to point them – but she had too much fun playing with the whippets last year. She disappeared for about 90 minutes at the wildlife area and when I found her she was dehydrated and exhausted. I found her laying in the shade and she did not even get up when she saw me. Diarrhea, vomit on they way home – she was barely able to walk when I stopped to clean up the mess. I called Greta and she got me the vet’s phone number – went straight to the Animal Emergency Center in Concord. Temp was about 104 and the vet was worried about the petechiae (bleeding under the skin).

More details at Yolo Wildlife area:
I took the trailer to Sacramento to get an estimate for repair on Tuesday 15 August 2006. On the way back, I stopped at the Yolo Wildlife area to take Ritka on a short outing about 12:45. I was planning to walk for about 30 min. We were walking on dirt roads between fields of weeds over my head. Ritka ran ahead and into the weeds to hunt. About 1pm, at about the far end of the loop we were walking, Ritka disappeared. I hung out waiting for her to come back. Then I started calling her. I walked a bit in each direction of a 3 way intersection. No Ritka. She was still wearing her Flyball collar and I began to worry that might have caught it on something. I did see a Jack Rabbit go by that made me think she had coursed/chased a jack rabbit.
Still worried, I climbed up on the railroad embankment so I could see over the sea of weeds. Still no Rikta. I walked first toward Sacramento then toward Davis. I decided to walk the whole way to the edge of the wildlife area on the RR embankment so I could look over the sea of weeds. Then I went back to the van to see if she had gone back there. Once there, I made some lost dogs signs and put them on the message board. I had seen two folk walking and had no way to tell them that if they saw a Vizsla it was mine – they were too far away. I also called DFG to see if there was anyone that would be around that might see her. I knew they closed the gates at dusk.
Just as I was about to walk back with more water, etc, a DFG truck came by. I explained about my lost dog and he volunteered to drive me back to where I had last seen her. We found Ritka in the shade of a eucalyptus tree. I noticed that her hair was up on her back and that it looked dull compared to normal. Also my first thought was that she looked like she’d been lost more than an hour or two. Her ribs, hips and tuck up were more obvious. I figured that she was somewhat dehydrated. The other really strange thing was that she just lay there and did not bounce up. I got out of the truck and picked her up and put her in. I know Farli has run herself ragged in the past and thought it odd, but was not worried.
When the truck let us out back at the gate, I went over to the van to get ready to go and Ritka walked slowly over. She did not jump in the van so I picked her up and put her in. Farli has needed to be picked up to get in the van after hard hunting even in her younger days so I did not think too much of it. Ritka lay down in the van and drank some water. She did not seem to be drinking too fast so I left the water with her. I also put a little water on her ears and head thinking she should be hot. Her ears were not red and hot which I thought odd, but I did not know how long she had been resting and waiting for me.
About half way home a truck went by and there was a big stink. At first I though it was the truck. Then I realized Ritka had had diarrhea. I pulled off as soon as I could and cleaned it up – and also found some foamy bile vomit. I let Ritka out in case she needed to go again and got two quilts out of the trailer to both protect the van and give her a soft spot. The dirty sheets went in a crate so the van was still stinky. Ritka still had the runs and looked wobbly on her feet. I picked her up and put her on the quilts. Skin tented, but gums were red and her capillary refill time was good. The gums did feel tacky – consistent with dehydration.
I called Greta on the cell phone and she go the phone number of my vet. My vet said that I should take her to the emergency vet as it was about 3pm and the emergency clinic had better in house lab equipment. I called the emergency vet and said I was coming and gave some basic history over the phone. The clinic receptionist came out to the parking lot and had me carry Ritka in the back door for treatment.
The first new thing we noticed was red spots where she had bled under her skin (petechiae). They put her on IVs, and did a series of blood work and urine tests. It looks like there is something wrong with her clotting mechanism. The vet suggested low platelets – which could have several causes. Initially, he did not think it was heat stroke as it was not really that hot that day (The high was 86 F at the Sacramento Airport that day). Once I explained that she coursed jack rabbits with the determination of a whippet the vet was more inclined to think it was heat stroke.

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