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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19291
Experience:  15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
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DocDave, We lost our 3 year old lab, Mr. Parker yesterday.

Customer Question

We lost our 3 year old lab, Mr. Parker yesterday. He was closed in a black car for at least 90 minutes, perhaps more. When we discovered he was missing, two of my sons went outside to call him. My oldest came inside and said he heard him barking (responding to his call) down the street. I, too, thought I heard him respond but am unsure. I jumped in the car and picked the boys up down the street. When my other son got in the back, he found our sweet Mr Parker. We ran to the vets 5 blocks away but he was gone.
I've read that rigor mortis can set in from 10 minutes to 3 hours contingent on temperature. I'm assuming the heat would speed things up. It was 95 outside so I can't image how hot it was inside that car. I'm guessing that about 5-10 minutes passed before we got to the vets. He was stiff but his joints moved and his eyes were sunken.
I'm devastated and want to know if that could have been him calling to us. Please give me your opinion.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 2 years ago.
Hi. I'm sorry but DocDave is currently offline. My name is***** and I've been a veterinarian for 15 years. I'm very sorry to hear about your loss of Mr. Parker. I unfortunately have seen similar cases at my ER where dogs have been in hot cars on hot days and passed due to heat stroke. It is a danger that is there that can be not as obvious at times. In the situation you are describing, it would seem highly unlikely that it was him that was barking when you were calling for him. It just seems that rigor mortis had set in and the few cases I've seen where heat stroke is involved has this setting in around 1 hour or so. Heat stroke cases are very difficult to treat as even if they get to the ER clinic and get cooled down, they still have a high chance of passing as their body temps may have gotten so hot to cause kidney damage, neurologic damage, or intestinal damage. I've seen some receive aggressive treatment for days and not respond to it. I'm very sorry for this loss of Mr. Parker. I hope this helps in some small way.