Stress Hyperthermia

Photo by Kikko Kåhre.

Dr. Michael Court, of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, for whom we provide samples for his research projects on anesthesia sensitivities and delayed bleeding syndrome in sighthounds, is also looking into stress hyperthermia in Deerhounds and Greyhounds.

When stress hyperthermia occurs, it frequently is observed in association with an anesthetic episode for a surgical procedure (i.e. perianesthetic). Signs include an unexpected rapid increase in body temperature to more than 105°F, panting, and deep red mucous membranes.

While stress hyperthermia is serious and potentially life-threatening, no Scottish Deerhound cases have been reported to Dr. Court that have been fatal. This differs from malignant hyperthermia, a more severe condition in dogs, which is invariably fatal.

Since not all Greyhounds or Deerhounds are susceptible to stress hyperthermia, a genetic predisposition has been suspected. With support from the SDCA, Dr. Court has identified a mutation in the RYR1 gene of dogs with a history of stress hyperthermia. This mutation appears to be a milder form of the mutation that causes malignant hyperthermia in dogs.

Cases are hard to come by, so we have studied only a limited number of dogs so far (eight Deerhounds and one greyhound). Dr. Court is continuing to recruit cases to see if the RYR1 mutation can explain all cases. Please contact his lab if you have a dog that has experienced hyperthermia to donate DNA (via a cheek swab).

Here is more information on Dr. Court’s research on stress hyperthermia.