Bulldog Left in Car Succumbs to Heatstroke

Thor the bulldog

A Bulldog rescued by Public Safety officers in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has died from complication due to heat stroke.


The tragic story began on Sunday, August 11, when officers noticed the 18 month-old Bulldog, named Thor locked inside a car parked at WestGate Mall. Thor was breathing rapidly and drooling in distress. The officers smashed the car window to rescue Thor, who was too weak to even drink any water.

The officers took the distressed 57-pound bulldog to the Spartanburg Humane Society, where he was diagnosed with small bleeds under his skin’s surface caused by swelling from heatstroke. His body temperature was at least 109 degrees; the normal canine temperature is 100 degrees. Thor was also blind, the result of brain swelling caused by heatstroke. Other symptoms of heat stroke can include kidney and organ failure; brain damage; seizures; and a higher susceptibility of future heat stroke.


bulldog heat stroke


On Sunday night Thor was transferred to the Care Animal Regional Emergency Clinic, where he died Monday night. Thor’s owner, Tony Lee Davis from North Carolina, was arrested by officers at the mall and charged with ill treatment of animals.

Humane Society veterinarian, Dr. Melissa Elledge, reminds all owners that the temperature inside a car on a summer day can reach a dangerous level for dogs in a matter of minutes, even if the windows are cracked open. As Thor’s case makes clear, heat stroke is often fatal for dogs because they don’t sweat like humans and can only cool off by panting. Dr. Elledge also notes that dogs with short, flat muzzles like bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers can be especially prone to heat stroke.

The vet urges all pet owners to keep their animals at home during the summer. “It’s not worth risking it (heat stroke).”

August is one of the hottest months of the year. We encourage you to keep this in mind when it comes to your pup. If it is going to be blazing hot outside in your area, keep in mind that keeping the windows rolled down is not anywhere near enough to keep them comfortable. Leave them at home and, even then, take steps to keep them from overheating.

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